Swimming and Diving finish strong


Alex Pepke

Both the Gannon University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championships last week in YorkThe men finished third among six teams Thursday while the women finished fourth among 10 teams Saturday. 

For the men, Chris Luus won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 49 seconds flat and also took fourth place in the 200 IM, finishing with a time of 1:52.99, a new school record. 

Luus’ time in the 100 back is the second-fastest in school and PSAC history, behind only former Knight Brent Benedict’s 48.01, which he recorded last year.  

In addition to Luus, the Knights had 11 other all-conference performances.  

They set a school record in the 400 medley relay with a 3:20.55 time, which was good for second place in the conference. The 400 medley team consisted of Josh Nel, David Gallion, Stephen McCallum and Luus. 

The Knights also took second place in the 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay. The 200 medley relay team featured Luus, Nel, Gallion and McCallum; the 200 freestyle relay quartet consisted of Luus, Will Moses, Andrew Smith and Joey Decheck while the 400 freestyle relay team consisted of Luus, Justin Decheck, Joey Decheck and McCallum. 

McCallum came in third in three individual events: the 100 free, 200 free and 500 free. Gallion was the runner-up in the 100 butterfly and earned third place in the 200 butterfly.  

The last two all-conference honors went to Justin Decheck, who finished third in the 100 back, and Andrew Beyer, who finished third in the 200 back. 

All in all, it was a strong showing for the Knights, as they finished behind only champion Bloomsburg and runner-up Shippensburg in the standings.  

On the women’s side, Silvija Taraska was the star for Gannon. She won the 200 free on day one of the competition with a time of 1:51.39. On day two, she won and also set a school record in the 500 free with a time of 5:05.30.  

Taraska also set a school record in the 100 free, where she placed second with a time of 51.09. 

Francesca Nemetz was the only other swimmer to earn all-conference honors in an individual race. She finished third in the 500 free with a time of 5:13.88. 

The Knights earned all-conference honors in three relay races as well. They placed second in the 800 free relay, third in the 400 free relay and third again in the 400 medley relay. 

Swimming on the 800 free relay team were Alexandra Pannemann, Cassie Ellsworth, Nemetz and Silvija Taraska. The 400 free relay team consisted of Pannemann, Sammie Young, Nemetz and Silvija Taraska. Leilani Kunf, Silvija Taraska, Nemetz and Lilija Taraska competed in the 400 medley relay. 

Fourth place was the highest finish at the PSAC championships for the women’s team in five years.  

Both teams have now concluded their seasons and will look to build off this momentum in the 2021-22 season.  



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