The Geneseo Blue Wave faced its fair share of adversity this season. The main hardship was not having a home pool, as the team had to travel great distances for “home” meets and practices.
Head coach Paul Dotterweich noted this absence as his least favorite part of the season, saying that the long bus rides were tedious and draining.
“I wouldn’t mind if I never see a school bus again in my life,” Dotterweich said.
Sophomore distance swimmer Matt Mattera agreed that this season was mentally trying.
“This season was definitely much more mentally difficult than any other season I’ve swam,” he said. “The worst parts were all the unpredictable events that occurred due to not having a pool, like our bus breaking down or our plane getting cancelled [while travelling for events].”
As for his favorite part of the season, Dotterweich said he hopes it is yet to come.
“If we can have about 10 people go to the NCAAs, I will be very happy,” Dotterweich said. “Up to this point, the way the team has handled challenges is impressive. I can’t compliment them enough on their resilience, and the fact that not one person quit is a testament to their dedication.”
Mattera reiterated Dotterweich’s perspective that there has been an upside to these difficulties.
“I think not having a pool has really built the team into a more unified force. The connectedness has shown through the past couple meets, where the whole team is cheering loud on the side,” Mattera said.
While the absence of a pool clearly took its toll on the team, there seems to strangely be several upsides. Long bus rides have placed the players in close proximity to one another for extended periods of time, which has improved team chemistry. Additionally, the mere fact that this obstacle stood in their path has forced the team to buckle down and put in maximum effort.
Now, it is time for all this hard work and team chemistry to pay off. The SUNYAC Championships start this week, so it is essential that the team remains focused and implements the skills learned from practices all season in order to succeed. Based on previous years and recent performance, it seems like the team has a very good chance to shine at the SUNYACs.
“Going into SUNYACs, most people have been hitting their season best and have been looking great in practice. Hopefully that is a good indicator of what is to come this weekend,” Mattera said.
Dotterweich’s coaching is a huge factor in the team’s accomplishments. The number of SUNYAC Championships and the number of athletes sent to NCAAs under his belt is quite impressive.
“Coach Dotterweich has really prepared us well for this part of the season, has trained us hard and put an emphasis on having a good race strategy for each of our events. I think that is going to pay off at SUNYACs,” Mattera said.
Not only is Dotterweich skilled at his job, but he also genuinely loves his work.
“Working with people is what I like the most,” Dotterweich said. “Seeing the growth and the progress they make both in the pool and out is very rewarding. Seeing them five or 10 years down the road being successful in their lives is incredible; I’m unaware of another profession that allows you to do that.”
The SUNYAC Championships kicked off Wednesday Feb. 21 at Erie Community College and will continue through Saturday Feb. 24.