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  • Peter Neville

Swim and Dive locks in with their regular season looming

By Peter Neville, Contributor

After securing fifth-place finishes for both the men's and women's teams in last year's MAAC championships, Canisius swimming and diving is gearing up for their season opener against Marist. They look to improve upon last year's results against the Red Foxes and open the season in winning fashion.

Heading into year 14 as the team’s head coach, Scott Vanderzell reflected on last season's performance in the lead-up to their inaugural meet. “The team performed at a very high level last year. They came together early as a group, and there was nothing but hard work and determination throughout the year,” Said Vanderzell. “We are looking at returners Jordan O'Connor, Bronson Benes, Alex Hilbrandt, Isabel Sapio, Nick Kishbaugh, Toby Mayfield, Sam Vidal and Emily Blake to continue to make a mark in the conference.”

The squad of swimmers features numerous standout returning student-athletes from the previous season: among them, junior Jordan O’Connor, who shattered the women's 100-yard backstroke school record at the MAAC championship, and sophomore Bronson Benes, who clinched six first-place finishes during the 2022–2023 campaign. Vanderzell emphasized the significance of a robust group of returning athletes to complement and work with the incoming freshman class to reach their ultimate goals for the upcoming season.

“This season we are excited about the large group of returners and the young group of freshmen growing together and building a great chemistry throughout the season,” Vanderzell said. For the second consecutive season, the Golden Griffins open their season up against the Marist Red Foxes.

Marist had an impressive season last year, during which they were consistently among the top of the pack both in and out of conference. The men's team boasted a 5–3 record while the women went 4–4 before claiming the MAAC championship. With the men also finishing top three in the MAACs, this matchup promises to be a formidable season opener for Canisius.

The competition will be held at the McCann Natatorium, a venue where Canisius has struggled in past years. Mark your calendars for Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. as the Griffs dive into their 2023 season in Poughkeepsie, NY.

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