Monday, June 25, 2012

Olympic Sports in Review

Amidst Olympic Trials, with Olympic Club (US Open) in the background and the London Olympics awaiting us, there is no better time to take a look at the year that was for all Olympic sports for Clemson.  This includes every sport besides football, baseball, and men’s basketball.

Coming into this year, expectations were high for a few programs: women’s tennis & volleyball along with the annual expectations of the men’s golf program.  But most importantly, this year signaled the end of the men’s and women’s swimming programs and the men’s diving program.  Neither had huge expectations, but both were hoping to go out with a bang.

In the end it didn’t work out quite as well as hoped as the men’s swimming and diving program finished 5th in the ACC while the women finished 7th.

But to have two programs ending as the highlight of your Olympic sports program says more than it should.  It says there wasn’t much else to remember.

Total, across all Olympic Sports there were two ACC Championships, both by the same squad – Women’s Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor).

The Women’s Track & Field Team also represented the only two Top5 national rankings produced by the Athletic Department.  Well done ladies!

But it’s not the lack of overall success that makes the season disappointing, it’s the performance of the historically strong programs.  Men’s golf & soccer have three national championships among them and women’s basketball & soccer have been perennial Top 25 programs.

This year, golf finished 4th in the ACC and failed to advance out of the regional while soccer finished at .500, was bounced in the first round of the ACC Tournament, and not invited to postseason play.

The good news from these two programs?  The golf team won back-to-back tournaments, sent a player to the Masters and the Heritage, and went 2-1 head-to-head against USC while the soccer team defeated USC along with #1 Maryland.

As for women’s basketball and soccer?  Both lost to USC and finished last in ACC play.  The good news is both made strides this year.  The bad news, they were worse last year.

Women’s rowing was again solid with a runner-up finish in the ACC to national champion Virginia and finished with a Top 20 national ranking.  Women’s volleyball didn’t quite meet expectations, but finished 5th in the ACC and defeated USC.

Overall, the Olympic sports programs at Clemson went 2-4 against USC, though I would imagine it would be better if you count multiple entry events like golf, track, & swimming.

But as I mentioned, all was not lost for the year.  The swimming and diving teams finished their program with class, women’s track won two ACC Championships and finished in the Top 5 nationally, and women’s rowing finished 2nd in the ACC and 20th nationallay.

Below is a quick summary of each program:

Cross Country - 10th in the ACC
Golf - 4th in the ACC, 11th in NCAA Regional
Soccer - 8-8-2, 4-4, 6th in ACC
Swimming & Diving – 6-3, 3-2, 5th in the ACC
Tennis - 9-14, 5-6, 6th in ACC
Track & Field, Indoor - 5th in the ACC
Track & Field, Outdoor - 6th in the ACC

Basketball - 6-20, 2-14, 11th in ACC
Cross Country - 4th in the ACC
Rowing - 2nd in ACC, 20th in NCAA
Soccer - 6-12, 0-10, 11th in ACC
Swimming & Diving – 5-5, 2-4, 7th in the ACC
Tennis - 17-9, 8-3, 4th in ACC, NCAA 2nd Round
Track & Field, Indoor – ACC Champions, 4th in NCAA
Track & Field, Outdoor – ACC Champions, 5th in NCAA
Volleyball - 20-11, 12-8, 5th in ACC

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