Six members of the Blue Wave competed in the NCAA Division III swimming and diving championships held in Knoxville, Tenn. on March 23.
While the team as a whole did not qualify for the championships, those individuals that made the trip put in some of their best times of the year.
Senior Michelle Rodriguez, the only female swimmer to represent Geneseo at the meet, saved her best meet for last. She claimed a first team All-American award in the 500-yard freestyle and honorable mention honors in the 100 and 200 freestyles. With these awards, Rodriguez becomes Geneseo's career leader in All-America certificates in all sports, bearing 16 in total. In addition to receiving All-America honors, Rodriguez set record SUNYAC times in the 200 and 500 freestyles and a school record in the 100.
Rodriguez's 16th certificate breaks the previous record of 15 certificates held by Josh Muldner '99. His certificates were in men's swimming.
Head coach Paul Dotterweich said he felt that Rodriguez may have felt the most pressure and hype of any Geneseo swimmer because she had competed at nationals in years prior and was facing the final meet of her collegiate career. It seems Rodriguez peaked at the right time; she posted lifetime bests in every event she entered.
As for the men, senior diver Wills DeMoulin returned for his second and final appearance at nationals, and the relay team of sophomore Frank Schiappa and juniors Aaron Wagner, Andrew Kuter and Dan Strothenke made its first appearance at the NCAA D-III Championships.
Due to their inexperience with an event of this caliber, Dotterweich tried not to place overblown expectations on his swimmers. He advised them that national championships represent "a once in a lifetime opportunity: take it all in, enjoy the meet, relax, stay focused on the goals but at the same time don't put too much pressure on yourself."
The relay team finished 23rd in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1 minute, 35.54 seconds. The team also finished 25th in the 800 freestyle relay with a time of 7:04.31. Thursday proved to be the most fruitful day for the relay team; the quartet captured honorable mention All-America recognition with a 13th place finish and a time of 1:23.62.
Schiappa as an individual finished 28th in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.79, and set a new school record time of 46.21 with his 100-yard time in the 400 freestyle relay.
The record had been previously held by assistant coach Matt VanDerMeid. "I've had it for 14 years and I think it's plenty long," the 10-time All-American assistant coach said. "Having a connection and being involved in its breaking makes it much better."
Senior Wills DeMoulin had a successful end to his collegiate diving career, earning his third All-America certificate and placing 11th with a score of 443.00 on the 3-meter board. He also obtained honorable mention for the third time ever on the high board.
Schiappa summarized Geneseo's performance at nationals: "I think we did what we needed to do while we were there, but there's room for improvement next year for sure."
Dotterweich said he is excited to work with the talented recruits he has lined up for next season, but said he feels that there are three or four swimmers on the current roster that, with some improvement over the summer, could make the jump to nationals next year.
"In a perfect world, we're right on the edge of being a national powerhouse type team," Dotterweich said. "We're getting there."