Blue Wave sends four to nationals

From Wednesday March 21 to Saturday March 24, four members of the Geneseo women’s swimming team competed in Indianapolis, Ind. at the 2012 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving championships.

Freshman Abby Max and Haleigh Wixson, junior Elyssa Max and sophomore Lily Powell were all first timers representing Geneseo at the national event.

Abby Max participated first among the group. She placed 33rd with a time of 5 minutes, 7.72 seconds in the 500-yard freestyle.

Later that day, the quartet of Abby Max, Elyssa Max, Powell and Wixson placed 24th in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:49.57. Head coach Paul Dotterweich said, “The 200 medley was a perfect chance to get all of our girls into the meet in a no pressure situation.”

With what Dotterweich called “first-time-at-the-meet jitters” out of the way, results were set to improve for Geneseo on Friday.

In the 800 freestyle relay, their first event of the day, the Geneseo women claimed their second honorable mention All-American certificate by winning their heat and finishing 11th overall in 7:39.65.

Since the team cut six seconds from their SUNYAC Championship time, Dotterweich said that relay the event’s best moment for Geneseo and the swim of the year for the team. All four women recorded lifetime bests in their leg of the race.

In that evening’s race, the women placed 15th with a time of 1:36.75 in the 200 freestyle relay, giving them honorable mention All-America honors. The top 15 finish was a profound achievement for Geneseo as they entered the competition as the 23rd seed.

“You don’t expect that you are going to move up seven or eight places at a meet like that and score. That’s just unrealistic. And that’s just what they did,” Dotterweich said.

In just a short 200-yard race, the relay team dropped six-tenths off their time at the SUNYAC Championships a few weeks prior. With heightened confidence, Abby Max dropped one second off her school record SUNYAC time in the 200 backstroke to place 17th overall.

Saturday yielded the team’s third All-America certificate of the competition as the quartet placed 15th in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:31.93. Finally, Geneseo saw Abby Max finish 17th in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:03.93.

“As the meet went on, they got better,” Dotterweich said. “They pushed through that first day when we weren’t quite as good as we hoped and got better every day and they held it together.”

“I was going to be happy just getting to the NCAA meet, but to score 20 points, be All-American in three relays with no seniors and two freshmen? We are going in the right direction. We did things at that meet that some of the best teams in the country didn’t do,” Dotterweich said.

Dotterweich said he hopes that the current athletes are inspired by this performance to work hard over the summer and that a year-round commitment is the next step for the athletes to take the program to the next level.