ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – The St. Bonaventure University men's swimming and diving team is set to compete in the Atlantic 10 Swimming and Diving Championships at Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio Wednesday, Feb. 15 through Saturday, Feb. 19.
Six-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year Sean McNamee is looking for production from his entire roster in order to earn his sixth A-10 championship at the helm. Last year, the Bonnies finished second at the conference championships and have placed third or higher in 21 of McNamee's 23 seasons at the helm.
"Freshmen are looked as at a wildcard in this competition," McNamee said. "We have some key freshmen that are going to have to make some noise. In order for us to be successful in this meet, we need full participation, from 1 to 18, including our divers."
Freshman David Shakhnazarov holds the season's second-best times in three events: 50-freestyle, 100-butterfly and 200-IM. Shakhnazarov's classmate Nick Burdo sits in the team's top five in the 50 and 100-freestyle.
The strong swimming from the freshmen has paired well with the Bona upperclassmen. Senior Michael White holds the top time in the Atlantic 10 in the 200-IM at 1:49.20, which helped him earn the A-10 Performer of the Week nod. White also holds the team's best times in the 400-IM, 100 and 200-butterfly.
Juniors Jordan Powers, Matt Taccard and Ben Galinski have each earned themselves valuable roles in specific events for the Brown and White. Powers has separated himself as the top sprinter on the team, holding the top times in the 50 and 100-freestyle events. Taccard holds the Bonnies' top times both the 100 and 200-backstroke events while Galinski is the strongest distance swimmer with top times in the 200, 500, 1,000 and 1,650-freestyle events.
McNamee named strong relay performances as a key to a successful Atlantic 10 meet.
"We are one of the stronger teams in the conference in relay events for a reason," he said. "We stress the team aspect very heavily. Throughout the season, we've developed some of our relay times to be right there for top times in the conference. We have to take advantage of the relays if we want a shot at the title."
The Bonnies hold the second-best time in the Atlantic 10 in the 200-medley relay at 1:32.21. St. Bonaventure is also just over two seconds shy of the top time in the conference in the 200-freestyle relay.
"Now is the fun time of the year," McNamee concluded. "We have all this built up energy and now is the time to cash it in, ride it out and hopefully we'll achieve something similar to what we've done in the past."
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