Blue Wave wins SUNYAC title: Men capture 14th straight crown, women fifth

"Anytime you can bring a trophy home, it's a good day," said Geneseo men's and women's swimming and diving head coach Paul Dotterweich.

Geneseo certainly had a good day as both the Blue Wave teams claimed first in the annual SUNYAC Championships on Saturday Feb. 11. This was the men's 14th consecutive conference championship victory and the fifth straight for the women.

Leading the way for the men was senior Drew Rogers, who won the 200 freestyle, finished second in the 200 and 800 relays, was an integral part of the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relays and took third in the 100 freestyle. Junior Frank Schiappa and seniors Aaron Wagner and Dan Strothenke teamed with Rogers to take first in the 200 free relay in a time of 1 minute, 23.60 seconds. Rogers and the rest of the same relay team won the 400 free relay with a time of 3:08.06.

Freshman John Nasky had a first place and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 16:10.69 in the 1,650 free and another winning time of 4:42.07 in the 500 free. Geneseo commanded the distance freestyle events as senior Nate Foley finished in second place right behind Nasky, with times of 4:43.77 in the 500 free and 16:23.77 in the 1,650.

On top of his third place finishes in both the 200 individual medley and the 200 breaststroke, senior Ken Pink earned the James Fulton Award for Career Achievement in SUNYAC Swimming and Diving.

With the majority of the team missing at least some time due to illness this season, Dotterweich said the Blue Wave had to fight for the championship a little harder than in years past.

"It was a higher pressure situation this year … we had to scratch and claw for every point that we could get," said Dotterweich.   Although it was the most illness Dotterweich has seen in all of his 15 years of coaching, he said that he still felt that, "All things considered, the guys really came together and pushed through."

On the women's side, freshman Abby Max placed first in the 500 free and 200 free and second in the 200 back, all in NCAA provisional qualifying times. Abby Max also joined classmate Haleigh Wixson, sophomore Lauren Boyce and junior Elyssa Max to post another NCAA provisional qualifying time of 3:31.77 in their first place effort in the 400 free relay. The Max sisters also swam together in the winning 800 free relay and the second place 200 free relay, while Abby Max also took part in the 400 medley relay first place finish. 

"In hindsight it was fun. I think I lost a few years throughout the weekend though. It was nice to see the guys come together when their backs were against the wall; they really fought their way out and got it done," said Dotterweich. "It's a team building thing. We saw some guys fighting through some tough situations, making sure that they did their part to bring the championship home."

Because of a greater pool of talent spread throughout the league this year, greater parity in the conference this season also made the championships a little closer than it was in years past.

"This year we should start to get some more respect nationally, the conference should start to turn some heads a little bit. We're not there as a powerhouse conference yet but we're getting closer. We definitely took strides in that direction this year, there's no question," said Dotterweich.

The Blue Wave heads to Ithaca College on Saturday Feb. 18 with hopes of making more NCAA cuts.