The College of Staten Island men’s swimming program will be capping its 2010-11 campaign in the finest fashion, travelling to Knoxville, Tennessee, for the 2011 NCAA Division III National Championship. CSI will be sending five swimmers accompanied by Head Coach Oleg Soloviev to the championship meet, the most ever in school history, in an effort to improve on its 14th place finish of a year ago in Minneapolis. The four-day meet kicks off on Wednesday, March 23, and will see the Dolphins compete in a total of 10 events spread throughout the championship at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center.
The championship meet is conducted in two phases. In morning heats, swimmers and divers will qualify for Final heats that will take place later in the evening. The top 16 finishers in the morning heats swim for medals in the evening. Soloviev is confident his troops will be mentally and physically prepared for the rigors of national competition.
“The guys are ready for this,” said Soloviev, “It’s what they’ve practiced for and worked for. I can’t make any predictions of how it will end up but I am confident that they will give it all they’ve got and do they’re best in the pool.”
CSI’s first event of participation could be its most exciting, with three members competing and a legitimate chance to medal. Danila Novikov and Andrey Tarasov, both in their first turn at Nationals will join CSI junior Vladislav Romanov in the 200-yard Individual Medley. Of the three Dolphins, Novikov is in prime position to medal, coming in with a pre-event time of 1:50.54, which positions him second among a total of 51 swimmers, just 61 one-hundredths of a second behind Paul Dyrkacz of Williams College who sits in the pole position. Tarasov is seeded 25th in the field with a 1:53.48, while Romanov follows in 46th at 1:55.85. With only two seconds of difference between the first and 16th seed, the race is wide open.
“Danila knows that he is a favorite to win so he’s going in with the excitment for his first National meet and he’s also going in focused because the others are out to beat him,” says Soloviev.
Two-time NCAA gold medalist and CSI’s only national champion in any sport, senior Pavel Buyanov will make his first entry into the 2011 championships via the 50-yard Freestyle competition. Buyanov’s time of 22.34 positions him 44th in pre-event qualifying. While the chance to clear preliminary heats into the final evening heat is slim, it will make for a good entry for Buyanov when he tries to recapture gold in his signature breaststroke events.
Novikov returns again for competition in the 400-yard Individual Medley, positioned 8th in a field of 28, and eleven events later, Romanov will take center stage in the 100-yard Backstroke event. Romanov is currently seeded 22nd, but is less than two seconds behind first place and only 24 one-hundredths of a second off of what would qualify him now for the final heat of 16.
Action then turns to the 100-yard Breaststroke event, where Buyanov is stationed in second place with a time of 55.84, just behind Rory Buck’s time of 55.83 from Whitworth College. Teammate Tarasov will push as well in this event, coming in with a time of 57.75 which stations him in 26th.
“Pavel wants to make the most of his last chance for a Championship,” explains the , “His mind, his body and his heart are in it for a win.”
Down the home stretch of competition, Novikov will return again in the 100-yard Freestyle, where he is seeded 42nd. Romanov will follow that performance with another bona fide chance to medal in the 200-yard Backstroke. Romanov is currently placed seventh with a time of 1:50.09. Denison’s Bartlett Quinn leads the field with a time of 1:47.85. The heated competition culminates in Buyanov again at the 200-yard Breaststroke event. Buyanov is positioned 5th in the crowd with a time of 2:02.41. Behind him in 14th, sits Tarasov with a mark of 2:04.19.
The 2011 championship will be different for CSI as well because it marks the first time CSI has qualified for relay competition, where senior Nikolay Shevchenko will join his teammates for participation in both the 200-yard Medley Relay, where CSI sits at 18th in qualifying, and in the 400-yard Medley Relay, where CSI is positioned 15th in the field.
“For some of them it’s a dream come true just to make it to the Nationals so they’re happy that they made it this far and they’re just going to go out and do what they do best.”
Overall, the Dolphins are tabbed to have a quality week in Knoxville. If you can’t make the trek down south, fans can follow all of the action via live video streams available at www.ncaasports.com. Daily scoring reports will also be available, as well as updated through www.csidolphins.com.