By Elizabeth Coss
Coming off a hot showing at the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association Open Water Championships in Biscayne, Florida, the Youngstown State University swimming & diving teams returned to action with consistency in mind.
The Penguins’ diving team hosted Niagara University and Duquesne University on Jan. 5 in Beeghly Natatorium, their first time competing in home waters since November.
The men stole the show taking first in both diving events. Sophomore Ivan Iwanonkiw took first in the one-meter with 262.15 points and freshman Zachary Lao took first in the three-meter with 274.70 points. Lao said high scores come with time and hard work.
“I’m seeing that a lot of my harder dives I’m starting to get a lot better at. I need to work on them more and iron out the kinks in my harder dives,” Lao said.
Despite a failed dive early in the second half, Lao said he felt he was able to put out some of his best dives this year.
“I can’t change the past, if it happens it happens — I just have to continue diving and I felt [I] bounced back pretty well,” Lao said.
The women also saw high scores on Day One in both the one-meter and three-meter dives. Graduate student Kayla Wrasman placed second in the one-meter with 264.90 points and third in the three-meter dive with 251.65 points.
Sophomore Dasha Toth placed fifth in the one-meter dive with 226.35 points and said she was surprised with some of the day’s scores, including her own.
“It feels good [to have scored well] and I was actually kind of surprised with my scores … It felt really nice. There’s highs and lows every time, but you get used to it the longer you’re into [diving],” Toth said.
Assistant coach Fengting Chen said consistency will take the team to the next level.
“It was a tough meet for everyone because we just came back from a trip,” Chen said. “Compared to the last meet, we were still the same level. We’re trying to move up and do better until conference [play] … sometimes you could have very good dives, sometimes not good, but again, consistency is what matters.”
The swimming team traveled the following day to Pittsburgh to also face Niagara and Duquesne.
The Penguins took charge early on in event one by placing both first and second in the men’s 400-yard medley. In first, with a time of 3:27.53, was the team of freshman James Slessor, sophomores Dominic Bono and Aleksa Radenovic, and junior Gavin Redden.
The team of freshman Moritz Bayer, juniors Ales Zupanec and Darren Laing, and senior Wilson Cannon trailed behind with a time of 3:35.38.
Junior Gavin Webb placed first in two events, the 500-yard and 1000-yard freestyle. Radenovic also took first in the 200-yard butterfly and second in the 50-yard backstroke.
On the women’s side, freshman Miriam Frass placed second in both the 500-yard and 1000-yard freestyle. She also placed fourth in the 200-yard freestyle.
Freshman Anna Kozinska nabbed fourth place in both the 50-yard and 200-yard backstroke.
The Penguins look to make waves in Rochester, Michigan, Jan. 13 and 14 as they compete against conference opponents Oakland University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Visit ysusports.com for a full schedule of events and statistics.