Waves Open 2012-13 Campaign at PCSC Relays

Sarah Burris

Oct. 10, 2012

MALIBU, Calif. – The Pepperdine women’s swimming and diving team, with 15 returning student-athletes and 12 newcomers, gets the 2012-13 season underway this Friday, Oct. 12 at the 6th Annual PCSC Relays. The event, hosted by Biola, will take place at the Splash Aquatics Center in La Mirada, Calif.

Leading this year’s squad are senior veterans Shannon Adkins (Granite Bay Calif./Granite Bay HS), Sarah Burris (Virginia Beach, Va./Cox HS), Andrea Kacynski (Superior, Colo./Monarch HS), Klaire Korver (Redwood City, Calif./Pinewood School) and Gina Vrablik (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy).

“These are the girls who came to Pepperdine back in 2009, with the impression that their freshman season would be their first and last here,” said head coach Nick Rodionoff. “But they stuck with Pepperdine and this team regardless, and are the reason the program is flourishing today.

“Without them, there would be no team.”

The Waves went through a tumultuous period back in the spring of 2009, when it was announced that the program would be discontinued following the season. Enough outside support was then offered to allow for one final season in 2009-10.

Pepperdine once again was offered new life, and former Director of Athletes John Watson announced the program’s reinstatement near the end of the 2009-10 campaign.

The unknown fate of the program took its toll on Pepperdine’s roster, as several student-athletes and recruits opted to swim elsewhere. But with the dedication of this season’s senior class, the Waves slowly but surely have rebuilt the program.



“We went from having a very small team to having a full pool,” continued Rodionoff, now in his 13th season as head coach of the Waves.

“We have 11 freshman and junior college transfer joining us this year. They are all tremendously talented and work incredibly hard.

“In turn, that has pushed our returners to work even harder. It’s just a great atmosphere in the pool --everyone supporting one another and pushing to be best out there. I’m really excited to see what this group of girls does this season,” said Rodionoff.

Adkins, Burris and Paige Weslaski (Racine, Wis./Case HS/St. Bonaventure) account for the Waves’ top returning freestylers. New names on the roster expected to contribute in the freestyle include Blair Kacynski (Superior, Colo./Monarch HS), Elena Witham (Buena Vista, Colo./Houston County HS), Courtney VanWinkle (Victor, N.Y./Victor Senior HS), Amanda Rowe (Reno, Nev./McQueen HS), Elizabeth Pitts (Marietta, Ga./Marist School), Allison Naasz (Lodi, Calif./Tokay HS) and Ally Bernard (Porterville, Calif./Monache HS/Cuesta College).

Adkins and Burris were also the top student-athletes in the backstroke in 2011-12, along with Stephanie Ertl (Carmel, Ind./Carmel HS).

Korver, who picked up All-PCSC honors in the 3-meter, will be joined on the diving board by Ellyn Strampel (Castle Rock, Colo./Rock Canyon HS). Strampel placed 11th in diving at the Colorado 5A State meet as a senior and holds her high school’s 1-meter dive record.

Kelly Corso (Glendora, Calif./Glendora HS) returns for her sophomore season as the Waves’ top swimmer in the breaststroke and butterfly. As a freshman, she clocked the team’s fastest times in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, and was top-three in the 50, 100 and 200 butterfly behind Adkins and now-graduated Madison Krall.

The Waves’ incoming breaststroke and butterfly specialists include Emma Fitzsimmons (Southport, Conn./Fairfield Ludlowe HS), Jessie Mosbaugh (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos HS), Katie Giacobbe (Duluth, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian School) and Erin Hayes (Lone Tree, Colo./Highlands Ranch HS).

Following the PCSC Relays, Pepperdine will host the Malibu Invitational on Oct. 26-27 at the Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool. Three more meets, the Cal Poly Invitational, the Arena Classic and the FINIS Collegiate Invitational, round out the 2012 slate. Pepperdine opens the second half of the season hosting the Beach Cup on Jan. 18-19, and the PCSC Time Trials on Jan. 26.

The culminating event, the PCSC Championships, runs Feb. 13-17 in Long Beach, Calif. at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool.  The Waves finished eighth at least season’s league championships.

Full results and a recap of Friday’s action will be posted on PepperdineSports.com at the conclusion of the competition.

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