This past weekend the Geneseo Blue Wave traveled to the Kenyon College Last Chance Invitational, and both the men's and women's squads were successful as five Geneseo swimmers qualified in five events.
The name of the meet is exactly as it suggests. The Last Chance Invitational was one last meet for swimmers who were close to NCAA provisionally qualifying times to try and lower their times enough to make the cut.
On the men's side two swimmers qualified in what head coach Paul Dotterweich called "a palace, designed for speed." Sophomore Ken Pink was second in the 200 breaststroke in a provisional time of 2 minutes, 4.82 seconds.
Pink also finished fourth overall in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 58.01. Fellow sophomore Josh Kaplan posted an NCAA provisional and school record time of 51.79 in the 100 backstroke.
Dotterweich said he had nothing but praise for all of his swimmers. "To be honest with you, they exceeded my expectations going into that meet." Dotterweich said that the energy at the meet, as well as the additional members of the Blue Wave who made the trip, helped to push those swimmers who qualified even further. Several swimmers who didn't compete at the SUNYAC meet last week traveled to Kenyon so that they would be able to end their season at a high-profile meet.
On the women's side, junior Michelle Rodriguez had two qualifying swims, guaranteeing her a spot in the NCAA meet. Rodriguez won the 100 freestyle in a time of 1:53.74 and set a school record in her second qualifying swim of the meet, coming in second place overall in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.94.
Dotterweich said he also used the meet as an opportunity to let Rodriguez swim in the 200 backstroke, an event she normally doesn't compete in. According to Dotterweich, her time would have put her first in the SUNYAC meet.
Two other female swimmers made a provisional cut for the NCAA meet this past weekend. Freshman Meghan Green posted a time of 5:03.85 in the 500 freestyle and senior Sierra Achin won the 200 breaststroke, touching the wall in 2:22.39. Dotterweich pointed to Achin's swim as an example of how the meet as a whole went for the team. "She dropped two seconds to a time that will make the NCAA, so it was worth for us to go there," he said.
It's still unclear how many Blue Wave swimmers will compete in the national meet in March. The SUNYAC championships are among the earliest conference championships in the country, so the team has to wait to see how many swimmers across the country will make the provisional cut.
Dotterweich said he believes that as many as five other athletes could be joining Rodriguez at Wooster College in Minneapolis, Minn., the home of the 2010 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships.