The Tennessee swimming and diving team isn’t wasting any time preparing for next season. The team recently elected its team captains to lead them into 2011 — seniors Michael DeRocco and Michael Wright.
“Both of these guys are natural leaders,” head coach John Trembley said. “The guys are excited, and I can say that the coaches are excited as well. We have to have leadership from the captains, from the coaches and from every single guy on our team — they all have to be leaders.”
DeRocco came to Tennessee as the swimmer who broke John Trembley’s 35-year-old New York State High School 50 freestyle record. The Niskayuna, N.Y., native will be one of the Vols key returners next season; DeRocco boasts three All-America certificates and six honorable mention All-Americas in his three years on The Hill. After his freshman campaign, DeRocco made the SEC All-Freshman Team for his performance in the 50 freestyle. DeRocco swam to seven wins during the 2009-10 season.
“We need to pick it up to succeed next year,” DeRocco said. “Next year is now. We have to start preparing now and not wait. Next season starts now.
“I want to create the best environment for the team that I can. I want to help each guy in any way I can and make it the best year for them.”
After an outstanding redshirt year, which saw him claim a historic USA Diving one-meter diving national championship, the team selected Wright as captain. The Forest Park, Ill., native came to Tennessee after a successful junior college career at Indian River Community College. As a two-time National Junior College Athletic Association champion and record holder, Wright didn’t surprise anyone in Knoxville when he became the first African-American to ever win a USA Diving national title.
“We’ll have a strong team next season,” Wright said. “We have a lot of experienced guys coming back next season, and we have a lot of guys with big potential.
“We are thinking big. We want to take it to the next level in dual-meets, at the SECs and taking guys to the NCAAs.”
Trembley’s Vols head into the 2010-11 season returning nine student-athletes who have achieved All-America or honorable mention All-America status and 12 with NCAA championship experience.
“This team is poised to learn from some of the mistakes we’ve made and come back next year rejuvenated,” Trembley said. “They will come back ready to get the job done.”