The Canisius College men's and women's swimming and diving teams concluded the 2012 MAAC Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday at the Burt Flickinger Center Natatorium with their best overall finish and a pair of conference champions. The Golden Griffin men and women recorded their highest point totals and best team finish in program history at the conference championship. The men secured a second-place finish with 587.50 points, while the women finished fifth with 331.50 points.
Entering the final event of the 400-freestyle relay, the Golden Griffin men were only 1.5 points out of second-place Marist with 555.5 points. With the relay team of senior Steve Pochatko, junior Shawn Parkhurst and Matt Moessinger, and freshman Nick Sereday lined up they knew what they needed to accomplish. Posting a school record time of 3:05.77, the team led the men to its second-place finish.
The women's 400-freestyle relay team of senior Kara Powalski, sophomores Leah Villari and Kelli Graber, and freshman Marissa Oakey recorded a fifth-place finish with a school record-setting time of 3:34 to secure the Golden Griffins' fifth-place finish.
To begin the final evening session of the conference championship, Oakey took second in the 1650 freestyle. In her second-place finish, the freshman improved her school record by over a minute with a time of 17:05.36.
In the men's portion of the 1650 freestyle, junior Shawn Parkhurst swam to second place, posting a time of 15:32.19.
Senior Steve Pochatko broke his seventh school record in the three-day championship, securing a time of 1:54.43 in the 200 backstroke to finish sixth overall. In the preliminaries of the race in the morning session, Pochatko broke his own record.
Competing in the 200-breaststroke finals, junior Tyler Carver would set the school record in his fourth-place finish, securing a time of 2:05.38. The junior reset the school record, which was previously set in the morning preliminaries by freshman Sam Hansen with a career-best of 2:05.95. Hansen would go on to place seventh in the finals with a time of 2:07.56.
After improving on her school record in the 200-butterfly preliminaries, sophomore Anna Schena broke her record in the evening finals portion. With a time of 2:07.83, Schena finished fourth overall in the event.
En route to defending his 200-butterfly individual title, Parkhurst reset his own school record (1:49.57) in the preliminaries, finishing as the top seed. In the finals, he went onto finish third with a time of 1:50.03.
In the 200-butterfly finals, junior Matt Moessinger placed sixth with a season best of 1:53.83.
Performing in the 1-meter A-final, junior Alexa Gigilotti placed fifth with a score of 196.00. In addition, freshman Taylor Epstein took eighth in her first conference championship, securing a score of 183.40.
For the first time in program history, the swimming and diving program earned its first coach accolade. Second-year assistant diving coach won 2012 MAAC Men's and Women's Diving Coach of Year, as selected by the head coaches. Joining the Griffs last season, Carpenter has helped transform the Griff diving program. In each of the 1-meter events, the Griffs had a pair of divers reach the A-finals, while three divers competed in A-final of the men's 3-meter event.
The Golden Griffins finish the season with one of its most successful overall seasons. In the regular season against MAAC opponents, the Griffs went a combined 5-1 with the men going undefeated in conference duals with a 2-0 record and the women finishing 3-1.
Their success in the regular season carried over to the MAAC Championships as theGolden Griffins had two MAAC Champions, broke a combined 26 school records, earned a coach of the year selection, and posted their best finish in program history for both teams. The Griffs' achievements in the regular season and success at the MAAC Swimming and Diving Championships were a perfect way to end the 2011-12 season.