WOMEN SECOND; MEN FOURTH AFTER DAY ONE OF CUNYAC SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIP

Stephanie Collyer starting things off with gold in 3-meter diving competition

The initial day of the 2013 CUNYAC Men’s & Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship Meet is in the books, and after a total of 12 events, the College of Staten Island women’s squad sits in second place, while the men have posted a fourth place standing.  The championship continues at 1pm tomorrow and culminates on Saturday all at Lehman College in the Bronx.

The afternoon started with diving, with the women on the three-meter platform and the men competing on the one-meter boards.  As expected, CSI was on center stage on the boards, and the duo of Stephanie Collyer and Valeria Phralofa.  Both CSI divers added almost 100 points to their seeding score.  Collyer finished her dives with a terrific score of 309.05, just a few points away from the all-time record of 323.20 set by former Dolphin April Bartlett in 2011.  Phralofa finished with a score of 245.45, picking up second place.  After the diving event, the CSI women had a 37-point lead on the field.

On the men’s side, freshman John Pignatelli picked up the silver medal in the eight-contestant field.  Pignatelli was essentially neck-and-neck with former Dolphin and transfer Antonio Gaspar, who ended up taking the event with a score of 313.10, less than three points better than Pignatelli’s 310.70.

After the intense diving event, it was time to kick off the swimming portion of the championship schedule, and the relay teams were first to start.  First up was the women’s 200-yard Freestyle Relay, and the CSI A-team of Kelly Walsh, Karen Ragnanan,  Collyer and Vasiliki Stergioula finished in sixth place overall with a time of 1:57.72, almost three seconds better than their seed time.  Not far behind was the eighth place CSI team of Phralofa, Elaina Lei, Lauren Overeem, and Tina Chen.  CSI also had two men’s teams in the relay.  The team of Andrey Tarasov, Yury Zimarev, Sergio Miranda and Mitchell Lovell scored a fifth place finish with an even time of 1:48.00, while the B-team of Pignatelli, Matt Gallo, Zhihau Zhang and Nolan Reese came in shortly after in seventh place.

CSI also saw some solid efforts in individual events as well.  Starting things off was Stergioula’s time of 6:51.14 in the 500-yard Freestyle, good for 9th place in the 22-person event.  The women got their best individual faring in the next women’s event, the 200-yard Individual Medley.  There, Jessica Pifalo raced to an outstanding time of 2:32.18, almost two seconds better than her previous personal best, and good for fourth place overall.  Teammates Dakota Dawkins finished in 7th place in the event, while Lei chimed in with a 12th place finish among the field of 20.  Four CSI swimmers then competed in the 50-yard Freestyle, led by Walsh’s time of 28.80, which placed her 9th among the 34 total swimmers.

On the men’s side, as expected, CSI’s numbers were low, but the individual efforts were impressive.  Kicking things off was a medal for Tarasov, who raced to a 5:10.70 time in the 500-yard Freestyle, good for second place and over 16 seconds better than his seed time.  Gallo also placed 12th in the event.  Next up, in the 200-yard Individual Medley, Lovell and Zhang finished in 11th and 12th respectively and in the 50-yard Freestyle, CSI got their first gold medal on the men’s side in the meet, as Zimarev blazed to a 21.75 finish, just .12 off of the record he set last year.  Miranda (11h), Pignatelli (12th) and Reese (16) picked up points as well.

To end the night, play switched back to relays for the 400-yard Medley Relay.  On the women’s end, the CSI team of Phralofa, Stergioula, Pifalo and Dawkins just missed medaling, coming in fourth with a time of 4:48.87, shaving 15 seconds off of their seed time.  The CSI men placed fifth overall with a time of 4:12.59.

After the opening day of competition, the CSI women tallied a total of 242 points, a heap behind Baruch College’s 325, but ahead of Hunter’s 233.  Rounding out the scoring is Brooklyn College with 126 points, John Jay College (82), Lehman College (63), and York College (34).  For the men, Lehman leads with 362 points, next up is Baruch with 276, then Brooklyn (181), CSI (165) and York (42).

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