Seven athletes from Geneseo men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have qualified to compete at the NCAA Division III National Championships.
Junior diver Samuel Randall and sophomore swimmer Nancy Nasky will both be returning to nationals after being the only two athletes to represent Geneseo in 2016. Randall was the 2016 national champion in the 1-meter dive and has now qualified for nationals in all three of his collegiate seasons.
Nasky was a 17th-place finisher in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 2016. Only the top 16 finishers earn scoring for their team, so this year will give Nasky a chance to accomplish that feat.
“I’m sure that her goal is to place in the top 16 this year and score some points for us,” head coach Paul Dotterweich said.
The men’s 200-yard freestyle relay team qualified for nationals with a conference record first place finish at the SUNYAC Championships. The team consists of junior swimmer Jeff Doser, junior swimmer Derek Secord, junior swimmer Scott Guyton and sophomore swimmer Matt Modelewski. The same four swimmers also set a conference record in the 400-yard freestyle relay and have competed together as a team throughout the season.
“We try and keep them together as much as we can,” Dotterweich said, “just so that they’re familiar with each other for the take-offs and exchanges.”
On the women’s side, senior diver Claudia Kolakowski will join Nasky at nationals after qualifying with her performance at the SUNYAC Championships. This will be her first national appearance and she will be the only senior from Geneseo to compete there.
Freshman diver Samantha Reichman was one athlete that barely missed out on national qualification, according to Dotterweich. Although seven is an impressive number of athletes to be able to send to nationals, there were more athletes like Reichman who just missed out, according to Dotterweich. He added that he believes they will have the potential to qualify in the years to come.
“We’ve got a few who were on the edge, but it’ll take a little hard work to get there,” he said. “Our men’s 200 medley relay wasn’t far off, and we’ll have three of those four guys returning next year, so hopefully we can bring in a fast back-stroker to lead it off.”
The NCAA Division III National Championships will take place almost a full month after the SUNYAC Championships, where the swimmers last competed. The divers had the chance to compete a week later at the Regional Diving Championships, but the long wait to compete again is something the athletes need to battle with.
“The first week they’re excited because they’re going and then the second and third weeks can be a little more challenging when the rest of the team doesn’t have to come to practice and they’re still coming to practice,” Dotterweich said. “But I think the excitement of going to the national championships gets them through.”
The wait also serves as a chance to spend a lot of time fine-tuning the athletes’ training based on what they will compete in.
“Going into the conference meet, we were preparing them to swim in multiple events,” Dotterweich said. “Jeff [Doser], for example, trained more for middle distance all year, but now we can just focus on a 50-meter sprint for him.”
Overall, the team experienced a relatively smooth season, according to Dotterweich. They got through the season with few injuries, but Dotterweich credits depth for being able to overcome the injuries that they did have.
“That’s part of having a deep team,” Dotterweich said. “If we have those injuries and a couple people can’t get there, we’ve got people waiting in line to fill their spot and get the job done.”
The NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving National Championships will be held in Shenandoah, Texas, from March 15-18.