Over the course of the semester break and the changing of the year, Gannon University’s men’s swim team prepared for the end of its season and specifically the Canisius meet Saturday.
Since the break, this was the first opportunity for the men’s team to enter the pool on a highly competitive level.
The Knights faced off against the Golden Griffins at the Koessler Athletic Center Pool. The team fell short of a victory, falling 111-91, but showed bright spots throughout the event.
The men’s team captured three event victories for individual swimmers to show their promise.
“It’s an entirely different feeling,” men’s swimmer Austin Hancock said.
Hancock is an Erie native and attended Cathedral Prep before committing to Gannon. He took advantage of his opportunity against Canisius and placed first in the 200-yard breaststroke event with a time of 2 minutes, 18.39 seconds.
The other two first-place finishes in the individual events came from Michael Weiser.
Weiser showed his development by winning the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle events with times of 22.03 and 48.92, respectively.
In addition to his two individual victories, Weiser also was a key factor in the Knights coming together as a team to win the 200 freestyle relay.
Weiser joined with Maciej Skrzypczak, Allan Collins and Clark Eason to put together an impressive time of 1:29.16 in the freestyle event.
After the long break from action, Gannon is looking forward to better efforts and strong performances in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championship meet, which will take place Feb. 16-19 in York.
Coach Darren Suroviec mentioned that Canisius gave the Knights a good baseline to start the spring semester and the heavy competition forces the men to race and swim strong competition.
In the matchup against Edinboro, Suroviec expects the same intensity from the Knights but encourages them to prepare mentally for future meets.
“I also expect the athletes to mentally prepare themselves for the PSAC Championship using this meet as the last opportunity to perfect their races before championships,” Suroviec said. The freshman Hancock matched his season-best performance in the 200 breaststroke to easily qualify for the PSAC standard time of 2:19.57.
“Unlike most sports, swimming is prominently individual,” Hancock said. “When race time comes it’s just you out there.
“When you hit the final wall, and look up to see the first place next to your name there is no better feeling.”
Several other swimmers posted PSAC qualifying marks in the loss to Canisius. Both of Weiser’s winning freestyle marks were qualifiers while Eason made the mark in the 50 freestyle and Collins in the 200 backstroke
Other qualifiers were Drew Wolter (200 freestyle), Noah Donovan (200 butterfly) and Thomas Marshall (500 freestyle).
Now, Hancock and his team looks forward to hosting Edinboro Saturday for the Knights’ final competitive meet until next month’s PSAC Championship meet.
Gannon will bring a record of 1-5 into Saturday’s dual meet with Edinboro, which begins at 1 p.m., while the Fighting Scots carry a 1-4 mark into action.
Edinboro is coming off a 134-126 loss to Shippensburg Saturday.
Suroviec said he recognizes that teams have ups and downs but he hopes to see the team keep the drive to win alive.
“It is my hope that the athletes feel proud of themselves, but never satisfied,” Suroviec said.