By Dominic Chamberlain
The most recent meet for the Canisius swimming and diving program had many positives that came out of it. The men’s side won their second straight meet last weekend over the Geneseo Knights, 133.5 to 109.5. The women ended up on the wrong side of a 130.5 to 112.5 score.
The men’s side was powered with first place finishes by Kyle Griffin in the 50-yard freestyle, Travis Wright in both diving competitions (1-meter and 3-meter), and Dan Dirrigl (butterfly), Greg Staebell (backstroke), and Wyatt Sintay (breaststroke) in their respective 100-yard races.
Despite finishing in second place, the 200-yard freestyle relay finished with a time of 1:36.28, almost a full second better (0.94) than their previous high set in their meet at Marist College on Oct. 14. The relay consists of the talents of Staebell, Tommy Kirch, Dirrigl, and Cam MacDonald.
“They need to keep challenging each other in practice,” said Canisius Head Coach Scott Vanderzell about the 200-yard relay team. “They do a great job right now, there is a lot of them that are at the same level. They compete against each and every day and they need to continue to do that.”
Griffin, a freshman, along with coming in first place in the 50-yard freestyle, also finished in third place in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 48.57 seconds. He said that the adjustment to the collegiate game has not been difficult at all since Vanderzell has been his club coach for the past two seasons.
“Scott’s been my coach for club for the past two years, so I’ve been able to get a feel for how his practices are and how he sets up how I race,” Griffin stated. “The transition [to collegiate swimming] wasn’t too bad; racing was a lot different. I’m racing kids who are a lot faster now, so it pushes me a lot harder.”
Wright continued his success on the diving board for the Griffs with another first place finish. Wright earned an overall score of 295.30 in the 1-meter and was given a score of 360.05 in 3-meter. In all three meets so far on the season, the junior has been on the top of the podium for both the one and three meter boards.
Dirrigl’s first place finish in the 100-yard butterfly for the men, bested his season-best time by 0.95 seconds finishing the race in 51.62 seconds. Sintay also extended his first place streak on the season to three meets with a time of 1:00.77 in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Staebell also added a first place finish to his seasonal totals, finishing with a season-best time of 53.29 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke. Upon hitting the wall at the 50-yard mark, the junior from Williamsville, NY, had his best start to the race, while finishing 0.14 seconds better than the second place finisher.
“I liked how they were competing,” Vanderzell said about last week’s performance. “They were really competing at a very high level. They swam with a purpose each and every time they got on the blocks and they put a lot of effort into the relays.”
On the women’s side, the quartet of women swimmers who participated in the 200-yard medley relay came away with a first place finish in the loss to Geneseo. Cassie Brousseau, Marissa Watroba, Alize Allen, and Hannah Graesser were the members of the relay, finishing with a time of 1:51.10. Their time last weekend was 0.03 seconds better than their second place finish at Marist.
Brousseau not only claimed first place with the relay team, she was the first to hit the wall in the 100-yard backstroke with a final time of 1:00.19. The native of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, improved her 2016 season-best time in the backstroke by 0.59 seconds.
“I was really happy with the results,” Brousseau said about last weekend. “I actually have a goal this year to be in the top three at every meet. I’m really happy to be finishing in first place.”
Watroba, along with being the second participant for the relay, competed in the 200-yard individual medley (composed of all four strokes: backstroke, freestyle, breaststroke, and butterfly) really improving her time. In the first running of the individual medley this season at Marist, the senior finished with a time of 2:19.35, finishing behind teammate Marissa DiRienzo, who came in first. Last weekend, Watroba obliterated her race time from Marist by over four seconds (4.03), placing first amongst seven swimmers. She also came in first in the 100-yard breaststroke with a final time of 1:08.42.
Graesser, the anchor of the relay team, has improved her times in each 50-yard freestyle race so far this season. The senior from Lake View, NY exceeded her seasonal best time by 0.44 seconds with her second place finish last weekend.
“I like how they’re starting to come together,” Coach Vanderzell said about the women’s 200-yard relay. “We have a young group trying to mix with an older group and they’re starting to learn each other with the relay takeoffs. They’re improving every week.”
Another notable performer for the women, despite the loss, was Rebecca Anthone. The junior finished in first place in the 200-yard freestyle for the third consecutive race last weekend, ending with a time of 1:58.71. Not only did she break her season best in the 100-yard freestyle, she bested her season-best in the 500-yard freestyle by 4.20 seconds with her second consecutive first place finish in 5:12.60.
“I was very happy because I haven’t gone that time in my 500, in season, ever since I’ve been at Canisius,” Anthone said. “Going that time beating the girl from Geneseo, who is very fast, was very good for me.”
The Griffs will host the Colgate Raiders on Saturday at the Burt Flickinger Center in downtown Buffalo for a 2:00p.m. start. The meet with Colgate is the second of four consecutive home meets for the Griffs.