For three long days in late February, the Geneseo swimming and diving team put their season on the line to compete at the SUNYAC Championships. Unsurprisingly, both the men’s and women’s teams returned to Geneseo this past Saturday as champions.
The men’s team won its sixth straight SUNYAC title, while the women extended their decade long dominance with its 12th consecutive championship.
The level of determination and perseverance displayed by the Blue Wave this past weekend comes off as just another day at the office for the swimmers and head coach Paul Dotterweich. Their mindset was simple: defend what’s theirs.
With the banners in tow, several SUNYAC records broken and numerous swimmers sent to NCAAs, the Blue Wave can easily say that they accomplished what they set out to do in October 2018.
Dotterweich has been crucial to the Blue Wave’s continued success, and he was rightfully acknowledged with two SUNYAC Swimming Coach of the Year awards in 2018; one to acknowledge him for the men’s team and the other for the women. With such a solid season, Dotterweich took the time to reflect on moments that stood out to him.
“We had a great season,” Dotterweich said. “The women were undefeated, beating DI Canisius was a great start and both teams beating the nationally ranked Case Western University reserve teams were a few highlights.”
This year’s success may have been slightly less burdensome on the athletes, who were able to attend practice with less restraints. Last year, the team had to travel to local high schools via yellow school buses at 5:30 every morning due to a lack of a pool, so Dotterweich emphasized that being able to use Geneseo’s home pool this year made practicing much smoother.
This transition back to a better and closer practice location helped swimmers like junior distance swimmer Matthew Mattera and sophomore backstroke swimmer Lauren Siegel make the cut for the NCAA tournament, set to take place in three-and-a-half weeks. Of course, there are other factors that led to their success, along with teammates who should not be overshadowed.
Senior freestyle swimmer Clark Davis was named SUNYAC Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet for the men after earning first-place finishes in the 200 IM, the 400 IM and the 200 breast stroke. Sophomore freestyle swimmer Deidra Osula was named Swimmer of the Meet for the women after setting two SUNYAC records and making the cut for two NCAA events.
First-year diver Corey Wirth finished first in the one-meter dive, qualifying for NCAA regionals along with teammate freshman diver Ben Wilcox. Junior diver Samantha Reichman secured a first-place finish in the three-meter dive as the women swept the top three spots.
The feeling of bringing home banner after banner for several years in a row may seem like it could lose its impact, but Dotterweich emphasized just how important winning the championship is to the swimmers and himself.
“Winning SUNYAC’s is always a goal for the team,” Dotterweich said. “It’s a nice cap to a long season of hard work.”
Now that the main part of the season is over, those who qualified for NCAAs must put a hold on the celebrating, in order to put in more work. The value of a structured training program is critical to achieving success on the larger stage.
“We taper down for SUNYAC’s, that’s where most of our swimmers qualify for NCAA’s. Now we have three-and-a-half weeks before nationals,” Dotterweich said. “During this time, we will build back up a bit and slowly come back down with a lot of focus on the technical aspects of the strokes and races.”
With the leadership of Dotterweich and assistants such as SUNYAC Men’s & Women’s Diving Coach of the Year Shawn Austin, the future is looking bright for Geneseo swimmers attending NCAAs.
Following the true conclusion of the season, look to see a stronger team with returning talent and impressive first year additions next season, along with probably yet another championship banner.