The Geneseo Blue Wave continued their dominance at the SUNYAC championships, with the men winning their ninth consecutive title and the women placing a strong third. These results are even more significant considering that neither one of the squads was expected to finish where they did.
Excitement filled the air as the men's competition came down to the final race, the 400 yard freestyle relay. The Blue Wave stood 3.5 points ahead of the Cortland Red Dragons, with the victor of this heat winning the championship. The team of sophomores Sig Culhane and Charlie Hake and seniors Kevin VanDerMeid and John Zolna won by just under a second to clinch the championship, finishing in 3:09.10.
"This was the sweetest of the seven victories I've experienced," said coach Paul Dotterweich. "This is the closest the competition has been in some time, and we had to work really hard to get this victory," he added. Cortland was the favorite before the championships, but this tight victory shows that Geneseo is still ahead of the class in the SUNYAC.
The same team of Culhane, VanDerMeid, Hake and Zolna also won the 200 yard freestyle relay, recording a time of 1:25.00. The relay teams were strong throughout the championships, earning valuable points for the team's overall score. Senior Phil Szrama won the 100 yard backstroke and placed second in the 200 yard breaststroke.
Senior James Kallio also performed well, winning the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke. Kallio may well be on his way to the national competition. "We had to work harder this year, and it definitely feels good to get this win," said Kallio of the team's performance. "Winning the SUNYACs is always our most important goal, and we knew that it would be a tough competition this year," he added.
Hake has a good chance of accompanying Kallio to nationals, after winning the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 21.04. Szrama won the 100 yard backstroke and placed second in the 200 yard breaststroke.
The women also had a strong showing, just barely missing out on second place. They rose above expectations, and Dotterweich was really impressed. "We should have been fighting for third, and we ended up narrowly missed [sic] out on second," he said. "This is a young team, and it is good to see that the hard work paid off." Dotterweich credits the team's success to a balanced performance, competing well in both short and long distance races. Senior KC Monahan won the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:10.81, and sophomore Lindsay Dressel won the 200 yard and 400 yard individual medley. Sophomore Jessie Cocco won the 100 yard and 200 yard breaststroke. Dotterweich believes that Dressel will also be going to nationals in the 400 IM.
Up next for the team is the Last Chance meet, where swimmers who didn't go to SUNYAC's get one last performance. This time also provides practice and preparation for swimmers who are headed to nationals.