2010 recruiting class making impact in GCU swim program

Mychala Lynch has made a seamless transition from Xavier Prep to the college pool and joins several other local swimmers who are making an impact this year at Grand Canyon University.

Lynch, who was a four-time All-State selection at Xavier, set a couple of school records over the weekend in the Pentathlon portion of the Pacific Collegiate Swimming & Diving Conference (PCSC) meet in Riverside, Calif., and also helped the Antelopes’ 4×200 Free relay team set a new meet record.

The high school All-American set GCU school-record times of 26.42 in the 50 Fly and 1:00.91 in the 100 Individual Medley.  She joined with another local, Catherine Polito from Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood, in posting a time of 7:56.36 in the 4×200 Free for the meet record.

Lynch, Polito, Samantha Magnani, and Karlee Grundeis each swam on three winning relay teams as the ‘Lopes women took home five first-place finishes at the PCSC Relays.  In addition to the 4×200 Free, they won the 4×100 Free, 3×500 Free, 3×100 Breaststroke, and 4×100 Medley.

Magnani is a freshman from Moorpark, Calif., and Grundeis is a sophomore from Bakersfield, Calif.

Lynch won the 5A-I state title in the Butterfly her senior year at Xavier, and Polito was a two-time 4A-II state champion in the 50 Freestyle and 100 Free.  Lynch swam one season at Texas Christian before transferring in to GCU.

They are part of a strong 2010 recruiting class that is expected to move the GCU program, which is only three years old, back into the national rankings.  Last year, the women were ranked No. 12 for most of the season.

The women’s team finished third at the Pentathlon behind a first, second, and two third-place finishes by Polito.  She swam a 1:56.21 to win the 200 Freestyle.

The men’s team placed fourth in the Pentathlon, led by Ivan Nechunaey, who had three first-place finishes and set a school record with a 1:54.33 time in the 200 IM.  He also took top honors in the long medley.  Teammate Ralph Herberg finished second in the 50 Breaststroke and fourth in the short medley.

And a couple of local high school standouts rounded out the scoring in the men’s Pentathlon.  Charles Woodruff, a senior from Central High in Phoenix, finished in fifth place, followed by Michael Branning in sixth.  Branning is a freshman who swam at Paradise Valley HS.

In the Relay portion, the men’s team managed runner-up finishes in the 4×50, 4×100, and the 500 Free.  Woodruff and Branning were joined on the relay squads by Johan Ivarsson, a sophomore from Sweden, and Artem Tretiakov, a senior from the Ukraine.

The PCSC Relays and Pentathlon, hosted by Cal Baptist University, opened the 2010-11 season for the ‘Lopes.  Pre-season polls picked the  men’s and women’s teams to finish second in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Tretiakov, Branning, Herberg (Germany), and Ivarsson were named to the men’s pre-season All-Conference team.  The women’s team had two of its members named to the All-Conference team:  Lynch and Caiti Hoffman, a junior from Gilbert High School who swims the Backstroke and IM.

A trip to California is up next for both teams, as they will get another early-season test at the Oct. 23 University of Redlands Invitational.

But head coach, Steve Schaffer, appears satisfied with where they’re at right now.  “It’s very exciting to see such a large number of quality swims this early in the season,” he explained after returning from Riverside.

“It bodes very well for our December meet, where we will make our first attempt at qualifying for the NCAA’s.”

(Photo: GCU Athletics/Tim Koors)