The University of Scranton women's swimming & diving team has been selected to finish second in the Landmark Conference this season according to a preseason balloting of the conference's eight head coaches that was released on Thursday afternoon.
The Royals garnered 54 points and received one first-place vote to earn the second spot in the preseason poll after finishing third at the Landmark Conference Championships and going 11-1 in dual meets a season ago.
Eight-time defending conference champion Susquehanna was named the preseason favorite after capturing 70 points and seven first-place votes. Catholic came in third in the voting behind Scranton with 48 points while Drew was tabbed fourth with 36 points.
Marywood (24 points), Elizabethtown (18 points), Goucher (12 points), and Juniata (10 points) rounded out the field.
Led by third-year head coach Mark Yankovich, Scranton is seeking its first Landmark Conference title since 2010 which capped a three-year run atop the conference for the Royals.
Sophomore Lauren Byrne (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) will look to lead Scranton back to the top of the conference after an outstanding freshman season in which she earned Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year honors and won three events at the conference championship meet while setting two conference records and three school records along the way. Byrne was the gold medalist in the 200 IM, 100 backstroke, and 100 breast stroke last season.
Senior Claire Mason (Livingston, N.J./Mt. St. Dominic Academy) also won gold at last winter's Landmark Conference Championships, winning the 200 breaststroke a year after taking first in the 400 IM.
Seniors Emma Rose Ilseman (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central), Susannah Ilseman (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central), and junior Elizabeth Howlin (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) were Second Team All-Conference honorees two seasons ago, with Emma Rose Ilseman helping two relay teams to runner-up finishes and also taking silver in the 100 freestyle. Susannah Ilseman and Howlin helped Scranton to second place finishes in relay events at the 2017 conference championships.
In addition to Byrne's three school records, the Royals return two other Scranton school record-holders as sophomore Marycate O'Sullivan (Nanuet, N.Y./Nanuet) set the Royals' record in the 50 backstroke last season, a feat matched by senior Margaret Reynolds (Centerport, N.Y./Our Lady of Mercy Academy) in the 100 IM.
Scranton opens the season this coming Saturday at Lafayette, taking on the host Leopards and St. Peters starting at 1 p.m. in Easton, Pa.
To view the full 2018-19 University of Scranton women's swimming & diving schedule, click here.