History repeats itself again, as the Canisius College synchronized swimming team secured its 16th consecutive Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship on Sunday afternoon at the Scheerr Pool on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. The Golden Griffins scored 100 points to finish first overall, sweeping each category at the conference championship.
"I'm very proud of my team. They rose to the occasion and put up their best swims so far this year," said head coach Jill Wright. "We are heading into nationals undefeated and I'm excited to see them dig deep and fight for a top spot."
The Golden Griffins have possessed the ECAC team title every year since 1998. In her seventh season as head coach, Wright has guided the Griffs to a conference title in each of those seasons. A former All-American for the Griffs, she led her team to four team crowns as a four-time champion soloist bringing her career total to 11.
En route to winning the conference crown, Canisius finished at the top of the solo, duet, trio, team, A-figures, B-figures, and C-figures routines. Taking the top-two slots in the A- and C-figures, the Griffs swept the first four places of the B-figures.
In the team portion of the championship, the Griffs swam to a first-place finish to remain undefeated in the routine this season. Canisius held an eight-point lead over runner-up Wheaton, who managed to score 79.500 points. The Griffs' team routine included seniors Melissa Andrews and Victoria Mintz, juniors Morgan Lebrecht, Jessica Mancini and Svetlana Ponkratova, sophomore Viktoria Mironova, and freshmen Laina Gray and Laura Schmidt.
Canisius dominated the trio routine, taking the top-three spots in the event. Separated by only .125 points, the trio of Schmidt, Gray, and Lebrecht captured the top spot (83.875), edging out second-place trio (83.750) of Mintz, Mancini, and Mironova for the first time this season. Finishing third overall was the trio of freshmen Miranda Marquez and Kristin Oswald, and junior Deanna DeSimone with a score of 77.500 for their second-highest point total this season.
In duet action, Ponkratova and Mintz combined to finish first (85.000) with the duet of DeSimone and Oswald in third (77.625).
Ponkratova kept her string of first-place finishes in the solo routine intact, placing first with a score of 86.625. The junior coasted to first place with over an eight-point lead on runner-up Nicole Chicoine of Wheaton College (78.250).
The Blue and Gold will conclude the 2013 season at the U.S. Collegiate National Championships on March 20-21 in Stanford, Calif.