Flashback Friday looks at the top moments from the 2016-17 athletic year at the College of Staten Island. This week, we take a look at the No. 7 top moment as voted on by CSI staffers. College of Staten Island senior Tim Sweeney has been no stranger to success and to cap the 2016-17 academic year, he was presented with the highest honor the City University of New York Athletic Conference offers, as it’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
#7 - Tim Sweeney named CUNYAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Date: May 18, 2017
Who: Timothy Sweeney, Men’s Swimming & Diving
Where: Queens College – Queens, NY
What Happened: A back-to-back CUNYAC Performer of the Year and the four-time defending Most Valuable Performer of the CUNYAC Championship Meet, CSI senior and multiple record-holder Timothy Sweeney has been no stranger to success. But Sweeney excels in another arena too: the classroom, and the CUNYAC bestowed upon him the conference’s highest honor, naming his the 2016-17 Scholar Athlete of the Year amongst all male senior college athletes. Sweeney accumulated a 3.86 overall GPA, majoring in math with minors in both finance and geography. He will continue his education at Columbia University this fall for a promising career in actuarial science. He was a part of two intense research projects at CSI, working with esteemed faculty studying the Bayonne Bridge construction effort and the study of green eco-friendly taxis in New York City. Sweeney was also dynamic in the pool. He was the captain of a unit that has won the last four CUNYAC Championships and along the way he has set 12 school records in solo and relay events.
Q&A…with Timothy Sweeney
You’ve had a terrific four-years at CSI. What made you choose the College in the first place?
I chose CSI to stay close to home and close to my family. I also wanted to swim for (Head Coach) Mike (Ackalitis) and I knew that the academics would allow me many opportunities to explore different fields to find exactly what I wanted to do with my future.
We asked Naomi (Gaggi) this question for her story, but you obviously take your studies very seriously. How does playing a sport, especially one that involves a lot of self-discipline like swimming, factor into that equation? Similarly to Naomi, for me swimming has provided structure to my schedule. Because of this I’m forced to focus on the task at hand, whether it’s athletics, academics, work or anything else. Swimming has definitely made me a more driven and focused person overall.
Your degree of study is very specific (Actuarial Science). Why this career path for you? What attracts you to this discipline? I’ve always had an interest in math more so than any other subject, but it wasn’t until college that I found an interest in business as well. For some time during sophomore year I was even an Accounting major, but Actuarial Science allows me to fuse math and business together and it’s something I hope I’ll enjoy and excel in.
It must feel good amidst the backdrop of your academic success to be involved in a sport and what that brings to the table. What are some of your top memories of your athletic career? I was fortunate enough to win three regular season championships and four post season championships in my time at CSI. The best part about it all was that I was able to be a part of a successful team with my friends. Coming into college I really didn’t know many people on the team and now they’re some of my best friends that I’ll have forever. All of the hours spent in training, studying and just hanging out are a big part of why I enjoyed my college years so much.
The CUNYAC Male Athlete of the Year is the highest honor the conference gives out each year. What does winning an honor mean to you? Being recognized by the CUNYAC was such an honor, and one that I wasn’t expecting because there were so many deserving athletes from CSI and the rest of CUNY. It was really cool that the selection committee saw the hard work I put in, in the classroom and in the pool and I’m extremely grateful.
At the ceremony itself, your family was there to celebrate the achievement with you. How important is having the support of your family, especially with your older brother as an assistant coach? My family is my whole world. Having them at the dinner along with a few of my best friends who were also honored that night is beyond words. My brother and my sister both taught me how to swim and then coached me again later on in my career, and they constantly provided an example I strived to follow in the pool and in the classroom. I couldn’t imagine them not being there because they’ve always been with me every step of the way.
You’ve worked with a lot of good people, through the team and academically through the research you have done – do you plan to stay connected to your extended family at CSI and the school in general as you progress professionally? I think that’s the best way to put it, I have found an extended family at CSI. As you know my family is so important to me, so I’m definitely going to keep in touch with my CSI family. They’ve given me so much over the last four years so I owe it to them to support them even after my four years have ended.
It’s hard to believe four years have gone so fast. You broke school records in swim, accomplished such incredible academic accolades, moving on to grad school and a distinguished career. Have you ever stopped to recognize what you have accomplished so far, and how does it make you feel? My four years have gone by way to fast. I still feel like I should have another year or two of eligibility and now that it’s over I wish more than anything to have just one more season. CSI has been the most amazing experience for me and I wouldn’t change a thing. I never take any part of it for granted and always think about how lucky I was to find a school that was the perfect fit for me.
What can you say about your overall experience at CSI and how it has affected your life? It’s hard to put my overall experience into just a few sentences. I’ve swam faster than I ever thought I would, learned more than I thought I would and found some of the best friends here at CSI. My life changed for the better the first time I stepped foot on CSI’s campus as a student and I will always reflect back on my collegiate career, even years and years from now.