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Coming off a win over last year's national runner-up to open the season, the Canisius College synchronized swimming team swept all four routines en route to a first-place finish at the Canisius Invitational on Saturday afternoon at the Koessler Athletic Center Pool. The host Golden Griffins secured the top spot with 87 points followed by Wheaton College (71) and Penn State University (19).

"Overall, it was a great meet for our team," said head coach Jill Wright. "It was exciting to have the team score some nines from the judges, which shows the progression of our team."

The Golden Griffins secured season-best performances in the duet, trio, and team routines. Finishing first-place in the team routine, the Griffs tallied an astounding score of 89.667. The Griffs coasted into first place followed by Wheaton in second (80.833) and Penn State (62.833).   

For the second straight week, junior Svetlana Ponkratova placed first overall in the solo routine. The junior dominated the field of solo swimmers with a score of 88.833, more than eight points ahead of second-place finisher Kayla Moses of Wheaton (80.833).

In duets, the Griffs had a pair of season-best performances in first and third-place finishes. The duet of senior Victoria Mintz and Ponkratova combined to record a score of 87.000 with the team of junior Deanna DeSimone and freshman Kristin Oswald placing fourth (78.500).

The Griffs swept the top three spots in the trio routine. Mintz, sophomore Viktoria Mironova, and junior Jessica Mancini took first (86.000) followed closely behind by the trio of Morgan Lebrecht, and freshmen Laina Gray and Laura Schmidt in second (83.500). Joined this time by freshman Miranda Marquez, the team of DeSimone and Oswald would place third (79.833).

After opening the season with a pair of home meets, the Blue and Gold will travel to Wheaton to face the host Lyons and Lindenwood at the Wheaton Invitational in Norton, Mass. The meet will begin on Saturday, Feb. 16 with the figure meet followed by the solo, duet, trio, and team routines on Sunday. The start time for each day has yet to be determined.

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