SAINT LEO, Fla. – Coming off of its most successful team season in program history, the Saint Leo University swim teams are gearing up for another breakout year. Head coach Paul Mangen has released the 2011-12 schedules with high hopes for his squads, and will look to lead the Lions to new heights in the upcoming season.
The Lions open their 2011-12 slate early this year, opening their campaign at home at the Bowman Center Pool where they will square off against Sunshine State Conference newcomer Florida Tech, October 8.
"We are excited to welcome Florida Tech into the Sunshine State Conference," Mangen said. "We're really looking forward to the addition of another team in-conference, and can't wait to see how FIT will help elevate the level of competition. The SSC is already extremely competitive. With four-out-of-five teams ranked on the SCSAA Top-25 Coaches Poll last season, it makes it very easy to schedule top-ranked opponents without having to travel too far from home. Strength of schedule is very important, and we have one of the top schedules slated in Division II."
After opening its season against the Panthers, Saint Leo hosts conference foe Nova Southeastern on October 15. A jaunt to Winter Park, Fla. follows on the October 29 as the Lions travel to match up with rival Rollins in a non-conference showdown.
A meet against Tampa on November 19 precedes a trip to Savannah, Ga. where the Lions will take part in the Savannah College of Art and Design Invitational, December 1-3. Saint Leo will take part in the OB Invitational to open the new year on January 3, and then squares off in a quad-meet on January 6 where they host Pfeiffer University, Lake Erie College, and Wheeling Jesuit University.
"Our winter meeting with Pfeiffer has gotten a lot more interesting with the addition of Lake Erie and Wheeling Jesuit," Mangen explained. "Lake Erie is part of the GLIAC, which is right up there with the SSC in terms of talent. WJU, from a relay standpoint, was very close to us in national positioning, and Pfeiffer is a well-coached program that competes in the ever-tough Blue Grass Mountain Conference. It will give us a good idea as to where we are heading into the second competitive phase of our season."
The Green and Gold travels to Lakeland to take on Florida Southern for their fourth conference meet of the season on January 16, and then hosts Rollins in conference action to open the month of February on the fourth before preparing for the conference championships on February 15-18. Thanks to strong performances at the inaugural SSC Championships in 2010-11, the Lions found themselves earning their first NCAA National Tournament appearance in its current era, and will look to repeat the success in 2011-12.
"The SSC championships will once again be a big time for us," concluded Mangen. "We're really looking to embrace that competitive environment, and will look for solid performances that will catapult us into the NCAA championships like last year. We have nothing to lose at that point, so it will be an all-out effort from the entire team. Last season was great, but we're always striving to do better!"
For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo swim teams as they prepare for another breakout season, visit SaintLeoLions.com.