The Geneseo Blue Wave’s prolonged success is a product of more than simply having fast swimmers. Both the men’s and women’s teams rely on swimmers who devote themselves to the program and lead when needed.
Seniors Frank Schiappa and Elyssa Max have been unquestioned leaders for their respective Blue Wave teams throughout the season.
Both swimmers entered the program as freshmen and grew considerably throughout their collegiate swimming careers.
Schiappa accumulated three individual SUNYAC titles, earned All-American honors as an anchor in the men’s 200 relay and has posted numerous NCAA qualifying marks and school record times in the 50 and 100 freestyles as well as the 200 and 400 medleys.
Schiappa has not had an easy path to becoming one of Geneseo’s most decorated male swimmers, though. He has put in a tremendous amount of work to better himself each year including overcoming an anterior cruciate ligament tear following his sophomore season.
“[Schiappa] has progressed incredibly since his freshman year,” head coach Paul Dotterweich said. “Coming into the program, he was a very raw swimmer with a fast 50 [freestyle] time and not much else. Now he’s a significantly well-rounded swimmer.”
During meets and practices, Schiappa does not have a loud vocal presence, but rather chooses to lead by example through his consistent work ethic and perseverance.
Schiappa is not leading alone on the men’s team, crediting his fellow senior teammates Austin Brennan and Greg Marks as having the greatest impact on his swimming career at Geneseo.
“[Brennan and Marks] have been with me all four years and it’s comforting to know that they’ve put in the same amount of work and have shared the same experiences I’ve had,” Schiappa said.
After this season, Max leaves big shoes to fill for the Blue Wave women’s team. Max qualified for nationals for the second year in a row at the SUNYAC championships and will compete in the Division III NCAA championship as part of the 800 freestyle relay team.
Like Schiappa, Max is a hard worker and has demonstrated improvement throughout her time in the Blue Wave program.
As a senior captain, Max is a different type of leader in and out of the pool.
“[Max] became the heart of the women’s team this season,” Dotterweich said. “She is a vocal leader, has a great attitude about swimming and her enthusiasm is infectious.”
Her sister, sophomore Abby Max, had the greatest influence on her swimming career, according to Elyssa Max.
“Abby is an extremely hard worker and she motivates me to be the best possible swimmer I can be,” Elyssa Max said.
Elyssa Max said her proudest moment on the team was qualifying and participating in nationals last year. Her second proudest moment: winning the SUNYAC championship for the sixth time in a row.
Schiappa and Elyssa Max provide a template for what it takes to become successful team-oriented swimmers in Division III.