Griffs prepare for MAAC Championships

By Sam Brouwere

Sports Reporter

The Griffs’ swimming & diving team is swimming strong into the 2017 MAAC Championship.

 

The men’s team currently has a record of 6-2 on the season and the women’s team has a record of 4-4. Coach Scott Vanderzell spoke to the success of the teams this season, saying, “I think they’ve really come together as a team and they’ve really put together a common goal with what they want to accomplish; they just raise their level of effort and worked at it all year long.”

 

In their last two meets, going back to Jan. 14, both teams defeated the Gannon Golden Knights and rival Niagara Purple Eagles.

 

The men’s team defeated the Golden Knights by a score of 111-91. That win was achieved by many victories in key events for the team. Junior Dan Dirrigl, senior Cam MacDonald, junior Greg Staebell, and senior Christian Westermeier won the men’s 200 medley relay with a time of (1:36.98). Senior Gustavo Dos Santos won the 200-yard freestyle with a time of (1:45.97).  The Griffs also got two big wins from sophomore James Pokornowski on the day. He won the 500- and 1000-yard freestyle events with times of (4:55.17) and (10:08.77).

 

The women’s team defeated the Golden Knights by a strong score of 117-77. The Griffs were helped, in large part, by a strong performance by sophomore Rebecca Anthone. She won two individual events on the day, the women’s 1000-yard freestyle (10:53.72) and 100 yard freestyle (54:81). Freshman Alize Allen, sophomore Cassie Brousseau, senior Hannah Graesser, and senior Marissa Watroba won the women’s 200 medley relay with a time of (1:51.19). Sophomore Marissa Dirienzo won the women’s 200-yard freestyle with a time of (1:58.94). Junior Meghan Tyler  also helped the Griffs on the day by winning the 200-yard butterfly with a final time of (2:16.87).

 

One week later, Jan. 21, the men’s team defeated the rival Purple Eagles by a score of 177.5-122.5. As shown by the final score, the Griffs took this meet in convincing fashion, as they were helped by winning a plethora of events on the day. The team, for the second week in a row, won the men’s 200 medley relay with freshman Kenyon Winkky, Christian Westermeier, Dan Dirrigl, and Cam MacDonald, finishing with a time of (1:34.85) for the event. Junior Collin Zapisek won the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of (10:03.96). James Pokornowski won the 500-yard freestyle, finishing with a time of (4:55.45).Greg Staebell won the 100- and 200-yard backstroke with times of (52.96) and (1:58.44). Gustavo Dos Santos also came out victorious in the 200-yard freestyle (1:47.03). The Griffs were also helped by another strong performance by junior diver Travis Wright. He won the one meter and three meter events with scores of 331.13 and 334.35.

 

The women’s team defeated the Purple Eagles by a score of 186-113.  Like the men’s team, they were helped by strong performances in key events, which helped them achieve a convincing victory. Sophomore Julia Sagasta won the women’s 1000-yard freestyle, finishing with a time of (11:05.45). Melissa Watroba and Rebecca Anthone both won three individual events on the day, which helped lead the Griffs to victory. The Griffs were also helped by sophomore diver Vivian Mroz. She won both the one meter and three meter events with scores of 228.98 and 334.35.

 

The Griffs have been really helped by the strong diving seasons of Vivian Mroz and Travis Wright, as the team has been provided with consistently good diving all season long. Mroz spoke to the success that she’s had this season, saying, “I’m just really happy, overall, because I didn’t expect it, like just putting in all the hard work finally paid off. It’s super exhilarating, and going into MAACs, I think it’s just the energy that’s going to be carrying me and everyone else.” Mroz qualified for the Zone A Diving Championship at the Fredonia Diving Invite on Jan. 28, which she said was a goal of hers coming into the season. Her team will definitely be counting on her at the MAAC Championship.

 

Wright has been named MAAC Diver of the Week six times this season and placed first in all of his diving events except one this season, so his success has definitely not gone unnoticed. Wright gave his thoughts on the success that he’s had this season, saying, “I think that it just shows that I’m putting in a lot of time and effort. It’s really nice to see all my hard work is starting to pay off and that I’m comfortable doing my dives the way that I want to do them.” Wright will definitely be counted on by his team at the MAAC Championship.

 

The Griffs will be heading into the MAAC Championships performing at a high level, and this is the meet that they’ve been working towards all season. The meet will be at the Flickinger Center, which isn’t an unfamiliar location to the Griffs as it is their home pool, so that should be a bonus comfortability for the team.

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