The College of Staten Island men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs are off to a good start at the 2011 CUNYAC Championships at Lehman College, as Thursday saw exceptional highlights on the competition’s first day of events.  After five events of 20 events completed and half of diving down, the CSi men sit in second place with 254 points, 57.5 behind leaders Baruch College, while the CSI women are in fourth place, with four teams all in the running for a third place showing.
On the women’s side, CSI has fared respectively well.  The team of Priscila Alvarez, April Bartlett, Jessica Pifalo and Gabriella Villarruel posted a seventh-place finish to kick things off in the 200-yard Freestyle Relay, an event won by Baruch with a record-setting time of 1:46.41.  CSI registered a time of 1:57.02, just over their regular season qualifying time.  Alvarez earned points in the 500-yard Freestyle competition shattering her fourmer best time by nearly four whole seconds to score an 11th place finish with a time of 7:37.81.
Both Villarruel and Elaina Lee earned points in the 200-yard Individual Medley.  Villarruel just missed a medal, coming in 4th place with a time of 2:34.04, Lei finished 12th with a time of 3:01.77, but more importantly, improving on her own personal best time by 13 seconds.  Finally, CSI saved its best relay for last, as Alvarez, Lei, Pifalo and Villarruel came in at 4:55.69 in the 400-yard Medley Relay.  It broke their previous best mark by nearly five seconds and was good enough to place third overall, a surprise for Head Coach Oleg Soloviev.
To conclude the scoring, April Bartlett picked off where she left off last year on the diving board.  In three-meter competition, Bartlett posted a score of 323.30, a new CUNYAC diving record, gaining quality points for the Dolphins.  Bartlett is set to also shine in one-meter competition today.
On the men’s side the goal for Soloviev’s squad was to sweep the gold medals in swimming events, earning quality points for the Dolphins’ top-heavy squad that’s looking to squeak out a championship.  The Dolphins are on their way by taking five-out-of-five on the first day, with records smashed in the process.
Right out of the gate, the team of Pavel Buyanov, Joe Lee, Danila Novikov and Nikolay Shevchenko were supreme in the 200 Free Relay, coming in three seconds ahead of Baruch with a time of 1:27.86, a new CUNYAC record. CSI’s team of Louis Algarin, Paul O’Hara, Vladislav Romanov and Andrey Tarasov also posted a fourth place finish in the event with a time of 1:35.91.
Individually it was Shevchenko’s turn to shine first.  In the 500 Free, Shevchenko turned in an amazing time of 4:45.93, coming in 38 seconds ahead of second place Patrick Campbell of Baruch.  The awesome time was good for both a CUNYAC Championship record and a new CSI record to boot.  O’Hara also earned points here by placing 10th in the field.  In the men’s 200 IM, it was Novikov’s turn, and the rookie placed nearly 8 seconds ahead of the field with a cruising 1:57.73 finish to win the event, just under two seconds off Shevchenko’s record-breaking mark in 2009.
A record was almost had again in the next event courtesy of Novikov in the 50 Free.  The frosh posted a 21.87 mark in that turn, just off Baruch’s Kenny Kim’s record setter of 21.73 set last year.  Algarin earned points as well with an eighth place faring at 25.38.  Finally, CSI did get their hands on another record, this time in the 400 Free Relay.  This time Buyanov, Novikov, Shevchenko, and Romanov were up to task, posting a CUNYAC record 3:30.78.
Andy Gill, CSI’s most accomplished diver also took center stage during his turn in the men’s one-meter competition.  Gill turned in his best effort of the season with 262.6 points, good for third in the field.  Baruch’s Nicholas Smith took top honors with 346.45, a new CUNYAC record as well.
There are still fifteen swim events left to go and one diving turn each over the next two days.  The Championship resumes today at 1pm and Saturday at 9am at Lehman College.
After day one on the men’s side Baruch leads the way with 311.5 points, followed by CSI with 254, Lehman at 246, Brooklyn at 128.5, and York with 64.
On the women’s side Baruch is ahead with 293 points followed by Hunter’s 231, Lehman follows with 154, followed by CSI’s 124 and Brooklyn’s 107.  John Jay College has 91 points, while York College trails all with 90.