BATAVIA — It was a banner year for the Genesee Community College swimming and diving team. Coming off of a solid performance at regionals, the Cougars made their way to the NJCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at Indian River State College’s Anne Wilder Aquatic Complex in Fort Pierce, FL.
The Genesee women won the Northeast District Championship and the NJCAA Region III title, while the GCC men finished as runners up. Both teams had several athletes fair well at the national meet.
Alaura Rehwaldt, a Byron-Bergen High School alumna, was honored as the Region III Swimmer of the Year and Athlete of the Meet at the regional championships after breaking a meet record in the 100 individual medley and finishing atop the podium in each of her individual events. Cougars head coach Jeff Reyngoudt was honored as Region III Women’s Coach of the Year.
“The swim season can be long so we do what we can to keep it fun and exciting,” said Coach Reyngoudt. “The team was positive and upbeat which made coming to practice everyday easy. Our focus was always regionals and nationals. We used the meets in-season to get better and have swimmers try events they may have never done before. By the time we got to regionals, the majority of the team could be put in any event and do well.”
At nationals, the GCC women finished sixth overall and the men placed eighth overall. For the GCC women, Rehwaldt led a strong list of competitors to finish within the top-70 in individual scoring.
Rehwaldt was tied for 46th in total points (30), Jordyn Stachowiak, an Attica alumna, was tied for 57th in points (19), while Bailey Mallon, an Attica alumna, (T-62, 15), Michaela Pantano (67th, 14) and Alison Jorolemon (70th, 8) put forth solid efforts. For the boys, Richard Oberholzer finished tied for 46th in total points (29).
The BB alumna was all over the board, recording her top finish in the 100 IM, where she placed sixth with a time of 1:05.09. She also placed 10th in the 50 butterfly (:28.15), and 12th in both the 50 freestyle (:26.11) and 100 butterfly (1:03.51). She was also a member of four relay teams, including two sixth-place finishes in the 800 freestyle relay (9:18.11) and 400 freestyle relay (4:09.96) where she teamed up with Ashley Hearn, Pantano and Stachowiak. Rehwaldt also helped the 200 medley relay (2:11.15) and 400 medley relay (4:59.52) to seventh-place finishes alongside Pantano, Jorolemon and Carly Barrett in the 400 and Pantano, Jorolemon and Stachowiak in the 200.
“Alaura just got better and better as the season went on — she is a true competitor,” added Coach Reyngoudt. “We realized quickly that she does best when there is someone seeded higher than her in an event. She almost always comes out on top because she just has that extra edge and drive that a college athlete needs.”
Stachowiak recorded a fine showing, placing inside the top-15 in four individual events, including the 1000 freestyle (14th-11:44.99), 500 freestyle (12th-5:43.27), 400 IM (11th-5:28.29), and 1650 freestyle (12th-19:42.41).
Pantano also performed well individually, also finishing inside the top-15 in four events. She placed 13th in the 200 IM (2:41.54), one spot ahead of Jorolemon, who finished 14th with a time of 2:48.42. Pantano finished 15th in the 50 butterfly (:29.91) and 50 backstroke (5:54.44) and placed 12th in the 200 butterfly (3:02.98). Jorolemon placed 15th in the 100 breaststroke (1:20.86) and 14th in the 200 backstroke (2:52.73).
The GCC women’s 200 freestyle relay team placed seventh (2:01.58) and was composed of Barrett, Rebecca Cox, Julia Molitor and Hearn. Barrett came in 16th in the women’s 50 backstroke with a time of :36.07. Cox finished 16th in the 100 freestyle (1:07.62) and Hearn placed 14th in the 200 breasstroke with a time of 3:07.90.
In women’s one-meter diving, Mallon placed fourth with a score of 133.50.
“It was honestly incredible,” said Coach Reyngoudt of his girls’ teams success. Right before regionals, we were having almost the entire women’s team practicing the 400IM and the 500 free. Their stamina was top-tier by the end of the season and everyone was getting personal-best times. I’m just so proud of their work ethic and that I get to be a part of their journey.”
For the men at the national meet, Oberholzer finished fifth in the three-meter diving with a score of 209.25 and fourth in the one-meter diving with a score of 231.80.
“Richard is truly amazing,” said Reyngoudt of Oberholzer, a trained trampolinist. “His exploits on the trampoline has made him fearless on the board. He only practiced on the three-meter board, having never done it before, twice before regionals. Because we don’t have a three-meter, we have to go elsewhere to practice. We went to Monroe Community College twice right before regionals and he was a natural. He excelled again at nationals and made a statement.”
Five GCC men’s relay teams worked to solid finishes, with Teddy Herrmann, Jozef Priest, Tyler Kleinbach, a Batavia alumnus, Cooper Davis, an Alexander alumnus, Ryo Iitsuka, Jordin Gwyn, Raymond Pray and Mason Singer (a Byron-Bergen alumnus) all playing a role.
The 800 freestyle relay composed of Herrmann, Priest, Kleinbach and Davis finished seventh with a time of 8:18.86. The 200 freestyle relay team which consisted of Iitsuka, Gwyn, Singer and Pray finished seventh with a time of 1:48.44. Davis, Herrmann, Priest and Kleinbach teamed up to finish ninth in the 400 medley relay (4:16.22), while the same crew finished eighth in the 200 medley relay (1:54.55). Herrmann, Kleinbach, Iitsuka and Priest teamed up to place ninth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:41.26).
“I absolutely hope that we can keep this going and feel strongly that we will,” concluded Coach Reyngoudt. “We have a lot of returners coming back and are also talking to recruits as well. We’re excited about the coming year and to be able to make another run at it.”