Pitt men’s swim and dive struggles to stay afloat in NCAA championship


Jonathan Guo | Staff Photographer

A Pitt swimmer competes during the Western PA Invite.

By Will Christie, Staff Writer

The championship season is starting to heat up, as the NCAA Division I Men’s Swim and Dive Championship began on March 22 and will continue until Saturday. The competition kicked off with 21 schools competing in the finals for the 200 medley relay and 800 medley relay. But the Pitt swim and dive overall performance in the first two events did not lead to a high ranking.

Session One: 200 Medley Relay and 800 Medley Relay

The Panthers started off by competing in the 200 Medley Relay. The Panthers started sophomore Krzysztof Radziszewski, fifth-year Cooper Van der Laan, junior Marcin Goraj and senior Flynn Crisci. 

Together the four Panthers finished No. 20 out of 21, barely edging out last-place Harvard. Entering the relay with a 1:23.98 time, the Panthers finished overall with a 1:23.89 time. Radziszewski was first off the block with a 50-meter time of 20.89 seconds.

Van der Lann, following Radziszewski, swam the 50-meter in 23.25 seconds, slowing down the Panther’s relay time significantly. Goraj finished in 20.68 seconds and Flynn finished in 19.07 seconds, as both teammates attempted to revive the Panthers’ chances of finishing with a strong time.

Meanwhile, No.1 NC State — which entered with a 1:22.25 time — finished the 200 relay with a 1:20.67 overall time. This left the Panthers a whole three seconds behind NC State, making their chances of earning overall points in the tournament much lower. 

Much like the 200 medley relay, the Panthers ended up finishing last at No. 21 in the 800 relay, just behind No. 20 Minnesota. The Panthers had an overall time of 6:20.90. They entered with a time of 6:19.45, nearly adding a whole two extra seconds to their record time. Competing in the 800 relay were Goraj, senior Dominic Toledo, sophomore Guy Frimis and senior Wojciech Dutkowiak.

The upside to this relay, however, was Goraj’s performance. Goraj, who previously broke Pitt’s 200 free records, broke his previous record again with a time of 1:33.91 in his 200-meter.

Goraj’s original school record, which he broke individually in the 200 backstroke, was 1:42.92. The junior swimmer broke the record twice in one day at the Ohio State Invitational during the 2021-2022 season. His experience paid off as he was able to carry most of the slack for the Panthers at the tournament. 

Toledo and Frimis both ended their 200-meter attempts with a 1:36.11 and 1:36.04, respectively. This left Dutkowiak to try and come back with a 1:34.84 attempt. But this was not enough to bring the Panthers back. Compared to Minnesota’s 6:03.42 time, the Panthers’ extra 17 seconds did not stand much of a chance. 

Session Two and Three: 200 IM Prelim, One-Meter Diving Prelims and 200 Free Relay

Multiple Panthers also competed in the session two events on Thursday. The Panthers, who did not perform well in session one events, could not find the comeback they needed during session two. 

For session two, Crisci returned and competed in the 200 IM prelims, entering with a record time of 1:45.44. This is an improvement from Crisci’s 200 IM 2021-2022 record time of 1:46.71. Crisci also holds a personal best record of 1:58.39 in the 200 Breast, also from the 2021-2022 season. Crisci was seeded at No. 60 out of 68, but only moved up to No. 59 with a final time of 1:45.57.

Also, for the one-meter diving prelims, sophomore Cameron Cash and senior Dylan Reed made an appearance. Cash, during the 2021-2022 season, placed first in the 1M against Duquesne with a record of 359.33, also qualifying for the 2022 NCAA tournament. 

Reed was also a 2022 NCAA tournament qualifier, entering the 1M, 3M and platform events. Cash was seeded at No. 2, while Reed came in at No. 6 out of 50. Reed finished the one-meter diving prelim with a score of 345.10 and placed No. 16. Cash also dropped with a score of 317.75 and placed No. 31.  

Finishing off with the 200 free relay, the Panthers placed last at No. 28. The Panthers needed to earn the No. 22 spot in order to score any significant points. However, they were toppled by Notre Dame, who finished with a 1:17.44 time.

Looking Ahead: Session Four and Five

For session four on Friday, the Panthers will compete in the 100 fly prelim, 100 breast prelim, 100 back prelim and three-meter diving prelims. Also for session five on Friday, the Panthers will compete in the 300-medley relay.