Six MAAC championships

By Dominic Chamberlain

Sports Editor

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams amassed a total of six Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championships over the four day conference meet.

The Flickinger Center at Erie Community College played host to the event, which is also the pool where the Griffs host most of their meets. Of the six championships won by the Griffs, two of them were won by junior diver Travis Wright. Wright won his events in grand fashion, setting the MAAC record in both the 1 meter and 3 meter diving events.

Wright set the 1 meter record on day one of the event with a 334.45. On day three of the event, Wright went off, scoring a 398.45 on the 3 meter board in the preliminary round. Wright shattered the old record set in 2010 by Marist Red Fox Brian Bolstad when he scored a 350.0 on the 3 meter board.

“I mean it’s awesome,” said Wright. “It’s something that I am working towards… to be able to have a lot of records. I think it just shows that I’m putting in the effort and putting in the work. I’m doing everything I can to be the best.”

Wright finished first in prelims by 88.9 points, demolishing his competition. In finals, he slowed down a little bit and finished with 357.75, winning the finals by 23.25.

“During finals, everyone was hitting everything,” said Wright. “It put a little more pressure on me but I think once I got into my rhythm, I realized that I was doing fine…. I just let it go.”

Wright received the MAAC Men’s Most Outstanding Diver honor, but he didn’t do it alone. Diving coach Ian O’Rourke was named as MAAC Diving Coach of the Year.

“I think Travis did a fantastic job in finals,” said O’Rourke. “I thought that Friday morning, in the preliminaries for men’s 3 meter, he went for a 398, which is remarkable. It just shows that all the training, and all the time and effort that we spent this past few months since August have really been paying off.”

On the swimming side, the Griffs also excelled–especially the women’s team. Junior Rebecca Anthone helped to add two more MAAC championships in the pool, winning the women’s 200 freestyle race; she was also a part of the women’s 400 meter freestyle relay team, which also featured Ashlyn Gilfillan, Marissa Dirienzo, and senior Hannah Graesser.

Senior Marissa Watroba also added two individual wins in the women’s 200 and 100 meter breaststroke events. Watroba would also break her previous 100 meter best time of 1:50.90 by swimming the event in 1:50.34.

“I was a lot more nervous for the hundred,” said Watroba. “I just went in and I was like, this is the last time that I’m going to swim this, and I’m just going to go all out and swim as hard as I can… and then for the 200, that was my very last race ever so I wasn’t really nervous for it. I just wanted to go out and do the best that I could.”

As one of the team’s seniors, Watroba had a little more motivation.  This would be her final chance to race at the collegiate level and she wanted to make the best of it.

“I was trying to win but I was also trying to go for my best time, too,” said Watroba. “That was important to me as well, especially in the 100. I wanted to end my career… Like, winning would be awesome, but even if I didn’t win, I wanted to go out with a good time.”

“I mean, it’s great,” said head swimming coach Scott Vanderzell, in reference to seniors winning events in their final MAAC Championships. “It just shows that everything they worked for throughout their four years was worth it. It came to a head at their last meet of the year to have that success, so it was a great feeling to see that.”

What comes next is Diving Zones, where Wright will have a chance to qualify for the NCAA championship meet. Wright qualifies for Zone A, the highest Zone, and will travel to Virginia Tech for that meet.

“Right now, we are in the next phase of training,” said O’Rourke. “Basically MAACs was a benchmark. That was kind of seeing where we were at with what we had been doing. And now, seeing the success that we did have, now it’s kind of time to regroup, kind of go back to the basics and refine, refine, refine.”

If Wright is able to throw down another near 400 point score, he could definitely be a force come this Zone A meet.

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