DOLPHINS SOAK UP MEDALS AT CUNY’S; PLACE THIRD IN MEN’S COMPETITION; SIXTH ON WOMEN’S SIDE

The College of Staten Island men’s and women’s Swimming and Diving programs concluded the CUNYAC Swim Championships this weekends, placing third in men’s competition and sixth in women’s, breaking records and sweeping all the gold medal offerings on Friday and Saturday on the men’s side, 13 in total.  Baruch College took first place as a team in both men’s and women’s sides.

Depth was the reason why the Dolphins couldn’t capture a team championship on the men’s side, as the top-heavy Dolphins left little to doubt as to who belonged at the top.  After capturing six gold medals on the men’s side on Thursday, CSI breezed through another 12 in the two remaining days, insuring that the Dolphins stood at the top rung of the podium during medal ceremonies.

The 200-yard relay team of Vladislav Romanov, Timur Rakhimov, Yury Zimarev, and Andrey Tarasov got the team started, as the foursome finished almost a full five seconds ahead of the pack with a time of 1:36.41.  Tarasov, in Event 16, the 400-yard Individual Medley, then shined, shaving four seconds off of his seed time, finishing at 4:19.91, almost 23 seconds faster than Gabriel Yanez, just missing his own CUNYAC record mark of 4:18.13 set last year. 

Sophomore Yimarev also shined on Friday, making his mark in the 100-yard Butterfly first, coming in at 50.85, also good for first-place and just a hair off of the CUNYAC and CSI best mark of 50.54 set by former Dolphin Nikolay Shevchenko in 2008.  One male event later, it was Danila Novikov’s turn to take center stage, and the sophomore delighted to a 1:45.53, shaving seven seconds off of his seed time, and just out-doing Lehman’s Ivan Srdanovic who finished 1.87 behind.  In the most closely-contested race on Friday, freshman sensation Timur Rakhimov raced in at 58.63 in the 100-yard Breaststroke, beating Baruch’s Chud Sangtippawan by just 0.17 for another gold.

In the next to last individual event on Friday, senior Romanov continued his dominating run.  The four-year All-American pushed to a 50.52 time in the 100-yard Backstroke, breaking a CUNYAC Championship record, and winning almost a full seven seconds faster than the rest of the bunch.  When play concluded on Friday, CSI topped out with a first-place showing in the 800-yard Freestyle Relay with a time of 7:10.77 by Romanov, Novikov, Rakhimov, and Tarasov, also a new CUNYAC record, and a jaw-dropping 49 seconds faster than second-place Baruch.  To add emphasis, freshman diver John Pigantelli doubled his gold in one-meter competition with another on the three-meter boards, scoring 275.40 points.

When swimming resumed on Saturday, once again CSI was tremendous at the top.  Tarasov introduced the gold medal again with a 17:44.78 finish in the 1650-yard Freestyle event, and in Event 30, the 200-yard Backstroke, Romanov blitzed in to a 1:53.23 finish, just 0.33 off his own CUNYAC record.  Novikov extended the medal count with top-billing in the 100-yard Freestyle with a time of 48.52, with Nolan Reese scoring as well, good for a 9th place finish.  CSI then made it 11-for-11 when Rakhimov glided to a 2:07.70 finish in the 200-yard Breaststroke, a full 19 seconds ahead of the pack.  In the final individual event, the 200-yard Butterfly, Novikov was involved in the most heated competition, taking gold with a time of 1:55.31, just 0.51 faster than his own teammate Zimarev, who earned silver.  The foursome of Romanov, Tarasov, Zimarev, and Novikov then left little to doubt in the 400-yard Freestyle Relay, setting a new CUNYAC Championship record with a time of 3:14.22, for CSI’s 13th and final gold medal.

For Romanov it was a fitting end to his career to be a part of two meet records, earning Most Valuable Performer in the process.

CSI finished the event with 586 points, behind both Baruch (1007), and Lehman (735.5).

On the women’s side of the ledger, the Dolphins had a spirited competition, designed at improving on their own personal best marks and gaining quality experience in the pool.  The small cluster of swimmers did have some quality finishes, adding to CSI’s accomplishments.

CSI’s finest finish came in the 200-yard Breaststroke on Saturday, as Elaina Lei came in with a time 3:09.81, good for fourth in the field of 16 swimmers, a race that included Shannon McCormick’s 11th place finish at 3:27.09.  On Friday, Stephanie Collyer earned a fifth-place finish in the 100-yard Breaststroke with a time of 1:24.44.  Lei would finish 9th in the same race, followed by McCormick, who was 15th.  Vasiliki Stergioula led a group of four Dolphins in the 200-yard Freestyle, coming in sixth place with a time of 2:25.23.  McCormick (15th), Priscila Alvarez (18th), and Patricia Velloza (19th), all came in under three-minutes as well. 

Top 10 finishes were also earned by the Dolphins in the 400-yard Individual Medley, with sophomore Lauren Overeem taking 10th at 6:30.63, and in the 200-yard Butterfly her time of 3:12.40 also netted her 10th place, shaving almost 10 seconds off of her seed time.  Natasha Caicedo finished 13th in the same race.  CSI also earned a pair of 7th-place finishes in relay events.  The team of Overeem, Collyer, Stergioula, and Alvarez came in at 2:18.66 in the 200-yard Medley Relay, while Velloza, Caicedo, Lei, and Stergioula were a part of a 400-yard Medley Relay team that finished 4:50.35, a full five seconds off of their own seed time.

The CSI Women finished behind Baruch (1058), Hunter (918), John Jay (443), Lehman (332), and Brooklyn (271), coming in at 253 total points.  Still, the team set some seeds for future success, as the Dolphins will graduate no seniors in 2012 and stand to have their team primed and ready for future successes.

Next up for both programs will be the Metropolitan Swimming & Diving Championships in two weekends at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey.

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