POSTGAME INTERVIEW – The College of Staten Island men’s swimming and diving team led the CUNYAC Championship from wire-to-wire but ultimately won by the slimmest of margins, taking a 2.5 point win at the end of it all to win their fourth-straight CUNYAC Championship earlier this afternoon at Lehman College. The Dolphins won four of the six races that were held on the final day of competition, adding a silver and a bronze medal as well. For his effort, Timothy Sweeney was named the Most Valuable Performer at the meet, un unprecedented fourth-straight for the CSI senior.
The Dolphins had the meet in hand in time for the final race of the event, but hung on to ultimately win the event with 597.5 points, just better than 595 scored by Baruch College. Lehman College took the bronze with 367.5 points while Brooklyn followed with 259 and York with 23.
The Dolphins entered the final day with a comfortable 45 point lead, but knew their top-heavy squad would be challenged by the depth of Baruch, and that’s exactly how the final day would follow through. To start it all off, Derek Villa scored the first of four first-place finishes for the Dolphins, coming in at 17:45.65, almost two minutes faster than the field in the 1,650-yard Freestyle. Pete Carle and Santonio Shand added valuable points in the event as well. Baruch, however, would counter with a win in the 200-yard Backstroke, despite the Dolphins winning bronze with a time of 2:12.25.
CSI kept the lead padded in the next event, the 100-yard Freestyle. There, Nicholas Defonte won the meet, coming from behind to score a 50.26 second finish, less than a tenth of a second faster than Lehman’s Chris Fischer. Mike Munoz also finished fifth in the event, jumping up spots from the original heat sheet seedings. The Dolphins would feel even better about their chances after Jonathan Gorinshteyn raced in at 2:17.23 in the 200-yard Breaststroke, scoring gold. Brandon Lei and Roberto Hidalgo scored a fourth and fifth place finish to add valuable points as well.
That put the Dolphins firmly ahead, and the door was subsequently closed by Timothy Sweeney in the 200-yard Butterfly. Already the CUNYAC record holder, Sweeney flew through a run of 1:51.93, beating his previous record by almost two full seconds. Christopher Sorenson, also placed fifth in the event.
The Dolphins could not be caught from there, as they held a 34.5 point lead going into the final 400-yard Freestyle Relay. The Dolphins’ team of Defonte, Gorinshteyn, Villa, and Sweeney would actually win the event, but a subsequent disqualification for entering the water early struck out the Dolphins’ placing in the event, and Baruch bumped into the top spot and gained 32 points to make the final score very close. Despite being an exhibition team in the event, the CSI team of Mike Munoz, Brandon Lei, Pinto, and Omar Zaky collected a silver medal in the same event.
Upon conclusion of the meet, Sweeney was named the Most Valuable Performer for the fourth-consecutive year. The margin was the lowest in CUNYAC history and the win by the Dolphins was their 9th overall in program history.