Top swimmers await national invites

Top+swimmers+await+national+invites

The Gannon University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams each placed fourth overall at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships Sunday.

The men’s team had quite a few notable finishes, which could possibly warrant invitations to the Division II National Championships on March 11-14, at the University of Indianapolis Natatorium.

Senior Adam Chrzanowski reached the 200-yard backstroke A-finals and placed sixth in the event with a time of 1 minute, 52.83 seconds.

Junior Denys Fedorchenko placed 10th in the 100 freestyle B-finals with a 47.11 finish. The strong race times helped the men’s team take fourth place out of a field of seven teams.

The women’s team also finished in the same slot, but out of a field of 13 teams.

Sophomore swimmer Samantha Favret said the preparation that the women’s team had put in all season paid off at the championship meet.

“During training, Coach Walters implemented something called training aids, which was new to the team,” she said. “They focused a great deal more on strength and speed in the water.”

Favret explained that her coach introduced the use of swimming attached to parachutes, the use of resistance chords and swimming a certain distance while wearing a belt that was attached to a rack of weights.

“So we pulled the weights with us while swimming,” she said.

Favret said that she noticed the new training made an impact on junior Morgan Lydic’s race times in conference championships.

Lydic collected All-PSAC honors for her second-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 57.75. Lydic’s time met the NCAA B cut standard for the event and will also be looked at for an invitation to the national meet. The finish was .15 seconds off personal best and the program’s mark.

“Morgan practiced each day with determination and the desire to always get better,” Favret said. “She worked hard and the training aids helped during her sprint races.”

Lydic wasn’t the only Knight to post notable finishes. Lydic was joined by senior Katie Joseph and junior Emily Nottingham in the 100-yard freestyle finals. Nottingham finished in seventh place (52.50) and Joseph finished in 15th (53.71).

Nottingham said that she was proud of how her team finished its season at the PSAC championships.

“It was a difficult weekend, but we fought hard,” she said.

“We hand many good swims and quite a few personal records.”

The Knights also placed second in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a team of Lydic, Joseph, Nottingham and junior Shanen Lazenby (3:31.46). The foursome earned All-PSAC honors and a NCAA B cut time.

Nottingham said that it has been remarkable to see how far both swim teams have come since her freshman year at Gannon.

“I have watched the team grow in numbers and morale,” she said. “In such an individual sport it is the team bond that keeps spirits high.”

Favret agreed with Nottingham and said that the growth has been evident by the depth of her team going to the conference championships.

“We filled all of the possible spots with qualifying swimmers and were able to take a full PSAC team this year,” she said. “Realizing that and knowing we will only get better made the end of the swim season very exciting.”

Favret said that the Knights’ success made it enjoyable to look for more high finishes next season.

“Knowing that we still have most of our top swimmers coming back next year is motivating,” she said. “We will have another year where we will shine and show how strong the Gannon swim program is.”

Nottingham said she agreed and added that she can’t wait to get back in the pool to continue to work her way back to the PSAC Championships.

“We are looking forward to this upcoming season and watching our team grow even larger.”

CONNOR SONDEL

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