After winning their 16th-straight ECAC Championship last season, the Canisius synchronized swimming team will open the 2014 campaign with a home meet against Wheaton College Feb. 21 and 22, head coach Jill Shovlin announced on Monday.
With more than half of the roster being seniors, the meet with Wheaton will serve as the class of 2014’s last opportunity to perform in front of a home crowd.
“It’s going to be a little bittersweet for our five seniors,” Shovlin said. “But our main goal again this year is going into ECACs and trying to capture our 17th consecutive championship from there.”
The Griffs opportunity to continue that title run will be on March 1 and 2 at Boston University.
Canisius will then close out its campaign at the U.S. Collegiate Nationals in Oxford, Ohio March 19-22.
“We have a lot of the same game plan that we had last year where we’re going heavy on the team competition,” Shovlin said. “We’re going to see if we can move up a few spots in the team event, and then we’ve got [senior] Svetlana Ponkratova leading us again in the solo. We also have a new duet this year with [senior] Jess Mancini and [sophomore] Laina Gray, they’re a great match and we’re hoping that they place in the top-five as well [at U.S. Nationals].”
The Griffs return eight members of last year’s team, with five seniors – Ponkratova, Mancini, Deanna Desimone, Morgan Lebrecht and Viktoria Mironova. The other three members of the team are all sophomores – Gray, Kristin Oswald and Laura Schmidt.
This is the second consecutive season in which the Griffs have competed head-to-head with Wheaton, with the Griffs sweeping all categories in both of the team’s meetings last season. Canisius swept all categories at the ECAC Championships last season as well.