The College of Staten Island sent four of its top men’s swimmers to the ECAC Division III Open Championships this weekend, and all four shined during three days of competition at the Nassau County Aquatics Center in East Meadow, New York.  The Dolphins took sixth place overall, earning a total of 12 medal finishes at the meet, five ECAC and a pair of school records, and an astounding 11 NCAA Division III National Championship cut times, meaning that the Dolphins will have plenty of opportunities to shine on a national stage later in the year.

Scoring a total of 498 points with only four swimmers, CSI had one of the finest foursomes at the meet, as the cluster of Vladislav Romanov, Danila Novikov, and freshmen tandem Yury Zimarev and Timur Rakhimov were impressive in every single race they performed in.  CSI participated in 13 of the meet’s 20 total events, earning seven first-place, two second-place, and three third-place finishes.

As a unit, the four combined to dazzle in both the 200 and 400-yard medley relay events.  The Dolphins took first place in both events.  In the 200-yard event, CSI posted an ECAC-record time of 1:32.77, nipping the previous record of 1:33.25 set by Stevens Tech a year ago.  The Dolphins won the event by nearly a whole two seconds over Stevens Tech.  In the 400-yard event on Sunday, the same foursome paired for a 3:23.73 time, another ECAC record, this time beating the previous mark by almost three full seconds.  CSI won the event by 3.06 seconds, and the times in both events were good enough to qualify for NCAA National cut times.  Romanov led the way in the 400-yard event by starting with the backstroke and finishing to a 49.58 time, a CSI record after 100-yards.

In the other relay event, the foursome took a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay, turning in a time of 1:27.73, just inside of a second off Stevens’ first place time.

Romanov’s great performance wasn’t limited to relay events.  The lone upperclassman of the unit, Romanov first shined individually in the 200-yard Backstroke, turning in a time of 1:49.97, beating his very own CSI and ECAC record of 1:50.09, which he also set last year.  Romanov’s time was nearly two seconds ahead of Stevens Tech’s Shawn Hanak (1:51.68).  Romanov then out-did himself in the 100-yard backstroke event, posting an astounding time of 49.83, two full seconds ahead of the pack, and a new ECAC record, again beating his own time by nearly a second and a half from a year ago.  For Romanov, the time in both events will qualify him for those events at Nationals in March.  Romanov also participated in the 200-yard Individual Medley, turning in a personal-best time of 1:53.83, good enough for third overall and a B-cut qualifier for Nationals.

Sophomore Danila Novikov took first place in the same 200-yard Individual Medley as Romanov, posting a new personal and ECAC record with a time of 1:50.53, beating the former ECAC-best mark of 1:52.30 set by Stevens’ John Hu last year.  The mark will also insure Novikov of a trip to Nationals later in the year.  When the event was doubled to the 400-yarder, Novikov came in almost three full seconds slower than his seed time.  Still, the sophomore turned in a third-place performance with a time of 4:02.49, good enough for a B-cut qualifying for Nationals.  

CSI freshman Yury Zimarev also turned in a great first-time ECAC performance.  In the 100-yard butterfly event, Zimarev was the best in show, putting in a time of 50.17.  The mark came in over a full second ahead of the rest of the field and less than a second off the ECAC record best time held by former Dolphin Nikolay Shevchenko set in 2008.  Late in the meet, Zimarev participated in the 50-yard freestyle, and came in third overall with a time of 21.25, a new CSI record taken away from three-time NCAA Champion Pavel Buyanov.  Both times by Zimarev have met National cut times and should merit the frosh a trip to Nationals.

Timur Rakhimov was the only other CSI competitor left.  Unfortunately, Rakhimov did not report to his heat in time for his 100-yard Butterfly event, and was disqualified from competition.  It was a tough pill to swallow for Rakhimov, who was seeded first among the total of 29 swimmers in the event.  Still, he can use his personal time in qualifying to merit national consideration.

All told, CSI was nothing short of phenomenal this weekend, wrapping up one of the most successful weekends by the CSI swimmers in quite some time on an elevated stage.  The faring puts them in top contention for national championship consideration and of course another trip to the ECAC Open Championships (which span all NCAA Divisions) in mid February.

Stevens Tech won the event outright with 1,872 points, way ahead of SUNY-New Paltz, which finished with 955.5 points.  Placing third was SUNY-Oneonta with 912.5.