Blue Wave continues on past success, seeks another championship banner

Freshman distance swimmer Ivan Fedorov swims in the team’s meet against Rochester on Friday Jan. 25. The men won by a score of 181-112 (Annalee Bainnson/staff photographer).

Geneseo is home to one of the most dominant, tight-knit and driven teams in the SUNYAC. Geneseo’s swimming and diving team has racked up accolades for years and is consistently recruiting top tier talent. This season, which began in October 2018, saw the men’s team win or place second in eight out of nine meets while the women placed first in all but one of their nine meets, where they came in second. 

The success of the Blue Wave can be attributed to many things, but mostly the reputation for excellence the program holds itself to.

Led by head coach Paul Dotterweich, who has amassed an astounding 18 SUNYAC Coach of the Year awards, the Blue Wave is in dependable hands. The coach-swimmer chemistry is critical, and Dotterweich—along with assistants Emily Smith, Derek Secord, Lily Powell and diving coach Shawn Austin—have learned exactly how to train their athletes every year. 

According to junior breaststroke and freestyle swimmer Annabelle Anich, the swimmers understand what it is they are trying to accomplish.

“Each year we set goals and standards that we look to fulfill each season,” Anich said. “With [Dotterweich’s] same practices set in stone, we continue to see improvements and win SUNYACs almost every year.” 

And the team has the numbers to prove it. Since 2001, the men’s and women’s teams have won 32 out of a possible 36 combined SUNYAC championships. Currently, the women’s team is ranked 11th in the most recent College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll, yet are still always looking to improve. 

Sophomore Maddie Knight, who swims in events including the 50 and 100 foot freestyle and the 100 butterfly, knows that the team is hungry for yet another SUNYAC title. 

“[We want to] send as many of us to NCAAs as possible,” Knight said.

With new additions such as first-year diver Corey Wirth and first-year butterfly and individual medley swimmer Megan Palmer, the team seems to be on the verge of accomplishing the goals that they set earlier this season.

“I think the team has a consistent trend where we continue to improve every single year,” Anich said. “The records on the board are consistently being broken.”

With Geneseo’s swimmers practicing hard and seemingly on their way to SUNYAC domination again this year, both Knight and junior distance swimmer Matt Farago cited an improved, and ranked men’s team as next year’s goal. Many times, after a superb senior class departs a program, it tends to deteriorate, but the Blue Wave has avoided that fate. 

“The good thing about our team is that our strong foundation is in our underclassmen and juniors,” Farago said. “Every time a class leaves it’s not like we have to rebuild again.” 

That foundation is strengthened further by the powerful bond that holds the Blue Wave together. Instead of viewing the Blue Wave as two separate entities, they see themselves as one cohesive team. Although they may compete as different teams at meets, the men’s and women’s team do everything else together as one, according to Knight.

The team also has multiple traditions and rituals that keep them close. Before every meet, the Blue Wave walks out onto the deck as one team and hype themselves up with a cheer and motivational speeches from their coaches. 

When walking past Alumni Pool in the future, recognize the greatness that lies within, and look for another SUNYAC banner very soon.