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  • Maggie Tifft

Busy weekend ends in split for swim and dive

By Maggie Tifft, Contributor

The Canisius swimming and diving teams had a double header this past weekend, defeating John Carroll University at home Friday, then losing at Niagara University the following day.

The split finish for the Griffs had a deeper meaning to the players and coaches. The meet Friday honored eight graduating seniors, whereas Saturday was a battle for the bridge.

On Friday, both Canisius teams dominated the pool, with the men’s team ending with a score of 172–106 and the women with 184–105. Marin de Villard and Sam Vidal continued their strong presence on the podium, combining to win six events. Familiar names like Evie Leighton and Brenna McLaughlin on the women’s team were joined by Sarajo Gardner and Jordan O’Connor to help secure the meet for the Griffs. They combined for five first-place finishes and a Griffs sweep on the podium for the 100 m backstroke.

“Friday was a special, full-circle moment for the seniors, going from isolation to inclusion,” says head coach Scott Vanderzell. “No nerves or anxiety, just a great environment for the team to be in.”

Moving on to Saturday’s meet, both teams were topped, with the men losing 174–88 and the women 217–45. Even with a devastating defeat, the Griffs still found individual success. Bronson Benes had two wins against John Carrol and continued his campaign the following day, winning the 200 m butterfly. Not only did Benes continue his winning streak, but so did de Villard, who added two more wins to his weekend.

Coach Vanderzell explained how a weekend with two back-to-back meets is great preparation for the four straight days of competition at the MAACs. “It’s a great way to get them into the mindset of competing days in a row,” says coach Vanderzell.

The team’s main focus as they close out their regular season is continuing what they set out to do from the beginning: practice like they compete. With that mindset heading into the MAACs, coach Vanderzell is eager to see numerous individuals cap off their seasons with personal bests and record-breaking times.

The Golden Griffins will finish out the regular season this Saturday at St. Bonaventure University at 12 p.m.

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