Historic senior class says goodbye to Alumni Arena
Swimming and diving sweeps St. Bonaventure
The men's and women's swimming and diving teams were victorious on senior day. The men won 159-135, while the women won 177-111. Satsuki Aoi /// The Spectrum
On the day reserved for celebrating the men's and women's swimming and diving team's seniors, 14 members of the senior class set a precedent of a winning identity.
The Bulls hosted Big Four rival St. Bonaventure on Saturday and were nothing short of successful, as the women won 177-111 and the men won 159-135.
In 32 events, the Bulls posted 29 first-place finishes. Ten of those individual victories came from seniors.
"They elevated this program to higher standards," said head coach Andy Bashor. "They kept raising the expectations of our program to become better. I think that is the mark they set. Creating that winning culture, creating that leadership and then every year raising that bar to be better."
Seniors Cory Zorsch and Matt Hogan each won two events, Zorsch in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly and Hogan in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles. Fellow seniors Josh Meints won the 100-yard backstroke and Matt Schwippert added victories in the 100-yard backstroke and 22-yard backstroke.
The Bulls were also victorious in the 200-yard medley relay as Zorsch, Meints, Schwippert and senior Ryan Smrekar finished with a time of 1:31.78.
The trio of Karly Moore, Mallory Morrell and Emma Miller led the senior women. Moore won the 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke, while Morrell and Miller won the 100-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle, respectively.
Despite the celebration of the seniors, the underclassmen were not to be outdon. They were eager to show the team will be left in good hands.
Freshman Billy Patrum collected three victories for the Bulls in the 1,000-yard freestyle, 200-yard butterfly and 400-yard individual medley.
Sophomore Spencer Rodriguez and junior Ava Giachino won two events apiece for the women. Rodriguez won the 1,000-yard freestyle and the 400-yard individual medley while Giachino swept the diving events.
This senior class was integral on the men's side in capturing the program's first Mid-American Conference championship two seasons ago and coming within 20 points of repeating last season.
The women do not own a conference championship, but their fourth-place finish at the MAC championships last season was a program best.
"I never really thought this day would come when I would be standing out on the bulk head and be recognized for being a senior," Hogan said. "It's a really cool feeling that I have achieved and I've stayed with swimming for four years and it's really worked out well for me."
With their victory against the Bonnies, the Bulls' dual meet season is over. They can now focus all of their energy on preparing for the MAC championships.
Now that the dual meet season is over, Bashor thinks the Bulls are ready for what he calls the "fun" part of swimming: championship swimming.
Bashor plans on dialing back his team's workload to get the squad energized. The most important things his swimmers can do now?
Stay healthy and sleep.
For the seniors, it's no secret what they are excited for.
"Definitely MACs, and a few of us are trying to make [the] NCAA [championships]," Morrell said.
The women will be looking for a top-three finish when they host the MAC championships in Alumni Arena from Feb. 28 to March 3.
The men will be traveling to Carbondale, Ill. for their championships from March 7-9, looking to win their second title in three seasons.
Those swimmers who will not be swimming in the MAC championships will be swimming at Ohio State University next weekend at the Ohio State Winter Invite.
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