After scoring a bronze medal on Wednesday, the College of Staten Island’s collection of five swimmers at the 2012 NCAA Division III National Championship, scored quality points on Thursday. The fivesome competed in four separate events, advancing to the final evening heats in both the 400-yard Individual Medley, and the 400-yard Medley Relay.
Before the Dolphins could advance to the point-earning evening heat finals, preliminary heats were held in the morning events at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis. Starting things off was the 200-yard Free Relay event, where CSI’s Yury Zimarev, Andrey Tarasov, Vladislav Romanov, and Danila Novikov were competing. CSI was seeded 25th in the competition, so it was going to take an unprecedented effort to crack the top 16. That said, CSI did impress, scoring a time of 1:26.37, good enough to jump up a pair of places to 23rd overall, but not enough to catapult them to the evening’s final heats.
That luck changed, however, in the 400-yard Individual Medley. CSI’s Novikov took bronze a day earlier in the 200-yard installment and was hoping for similar success on Day Two. Novikov, however, was seeded 21st in competition, meaning that unless he improved on his time impressively, he would not crack the top 16. The sophomore proved up to the task, coming in with a prelim time of 3:59.45, more than three seconds faster than his previous season-best of 4:02.49. The improved score took him from 21st to 9th overall, insuring he would compete in the evening heat. With the evening lights focused on him in the second heat, Novikov again was sensational, coming in with a extraordinary time of 3:56.87, a mark good enough to land him 11th overall in the field, earning him CSI’s first points of the evening.
Zimarev was the catalyst in CSI’s next individual event, the 100-yard Butterfly. Zimarev was seeded 26th in the ultra-competitive field, and when the preliminaries completed, he swam just under his seed time with a mark of 50.35, which translated to his seeded 26th-place finish.
CSI wanted to finish the evening strong and they did via the 400-yard Medley Relay. Romanov, Timur Rakhimov, Zimarev, and Novikov were on tap this time and CSI knew they had a chance, being seeded 12th out of 25 teams coming in. The Dolphins made good on eclipsing their previous best time, racing in at 3:22.73, a good half of a second better than their seed time and landing them the 10th-best spot, insuring them a return trip to the finals. Once there, CSI stayed true to form and shattered their own time again, coming in at 3:21.23, this time 1.50 seconds faster, and good for top in their heat and 9th overall.
The quality faring on Day Two bumped CSI up from 15th overall to 12th after two days of competition. The Championship is a four-day event. On Thursday, CSI will participate in 200-yard Butterfly and 100-yard Backstroke, where senior Romanov is seeded 7th overall.