The College of Staten Island’s collection of six elite swimmers are in Annapolis this weekend, taking part in the ECAC Open Championships, the last stop for the group before the 2012 National Championship.  Made of competitors spanning all NCAA Divisions, the ECAC Open promised to give the CSI contingent its strongest test before the national stage, and as expected the team did not disappoint.  Spanning three days of competition, the Dolphins participated in four events today, qualifying for the final heats in the evening in all four races after preliminary rounds in the morning.

As a team, CSI participated in two relay events, the 200-yard Freestyle Relay and the 400-yard Medley Relay.  In the freestyle event, CSI just missed qualifying for the championship heat, with a time of 1:27.28.  Still, the foursome of Vladislav Romanov, Yury Zimarev, Andrey Tarasov and Danila Novikov came in ninth overall to merit them into the consolation heat, where they finished with a quality run of 1:26.92 in the evening, good for first place in the second heat and ninth overall.  The Dolphins fared even better in the 400-yard Medley.  With Timur Rakhimov replacing Tarasov in the foursome, CSI first came in at 3:25.60 in the morning heat, and the shattered their own mark by sliding in at 3:23.28, good for fifth place overall, topped only by Division I powers Army, Navy, Bucknell, and Columbia.

In individual events, CSI was still up to par, landing four competitors in two events.  The most heated was the 200-yard Individual Medley, where CSI had three swimmers taking center stage.  In morning competition, Novikov, at 1:52.84 finished in fifth, while teammates Tarasov finished 14th at 1:54.65 and Romanov finished 1:56.34.  The morning heat qualified both Novikov and Tarasov for the evening finals, with Novikov in the championship heat and Tarasov in heat two.  When play shifted to the evening, Novikov stayed true to his position, finishing fifth again at 1:52.35.  The consolation was that again, CSI was tops among Division III competition, with NCAA Division I competitors taking the top four spots.  Tarasov’s time of 1:55.02 saw him place 15th overall in the pack.

In the only other event, Zimarev earned a chance to shine and did so in the 50-yard Freestyle.  In the morning heat, Zimarev earned his way into the fierce evening competition with a time of 21.36, earning a 16th place finish and a berth into the finals by one-one-hundredth of a second.  When play shifted to the evening, Zimarev posted his best mark ever, catapulting six places to 10th overall with a 21.26 finish.

After one full day of competition, CSI is placed 8th overall, with the top seven spots occupied by NCAA Division I programs.  The U.S. Naval Academy is in first place with 210.5 points.  Competition will continue tomorrow and finalize on Sunday.