With two of three days complete in the CUNYAC Postseason Championship Meet, the College of Staten Island swimming and diving programs stand well-positioned at the annual event held at Lehman College. The men’s squad continues to hold court, sweeping another array of first place finishes in the process, while the CSI women stand stationed in third place.
Sixteen events were held on Friday, eight for each side, and for the CSI men, seven of the eight spelled gold. Play began with the 200-yard Medley Relay, and the team of Danila Novikov, Yury Zimarev, Timur Rakhimov and Derek Villa were exceptional, notching a time of 1:38.01 to claim first place by a healthy two seconds. In the next men’s event, the 400 Individual Medley, freshman Tim Sweeney blew away the field with a 4:13.91 run, a near 20 seconds faster than the rest of the pack. Chris Pinto and Mitch Lovell placed fourth and fifth, respectively as well in the race.
CSI was on their way, and followed with another gold for Zimarev in the 100-yard Butterfly with a time of 50.76, bettering the field by a complete six seconds. An event later, Sweeney struck again with a 1:49.25 showing in the 200-yard Freestyle, taking top honors. The streak continued when Timur Rakhimov blasted the competition with a time of 58.33 in the 100-yard Breaststroke.
CSI’s gold string was broken in the 100-yard Backstroke, but even then, the Dolphins gained valuable points with Chris Pinto’s third place finish and Derek Villa’s fourth place showing. In the final swim event, the 800-yard Freestyle Relay, the CSI squad of Rakhimov, Sweeney, Villa and Novikov were nothing short of outstanding, racing into first place easily with a time of 7:21.66, 19 seconds faster than the rest of the field.
Not to be outdone, John Pignatelli picked up his second gold medal of the meet by scoring 206.95 points in the three-meter diving competition. Matthew Gallo also scored third place, with Leandre London and Nolan Reese also placing in the event.
With competition winding down, CSI appears to be in control, placing at the top with 711 points. Next in line is host Lehman with 654.5 points, followed by Baruch (493), Brooklyn (404) and York (209.5).
On the women’s side, CSI knew that placing third would be within reach in this meet and the team has not failed to deliver so far.
CSI’s finest show in the swim category was in the 100-yard Breaststroke, where sophomore Dakota Dawkins earned a medal, taking silver with a time of 1:11.49, less than three seconds off of the leader. CSI’s Samantha Escobedo, Kelly Walsh, Dawkins and Naomi Gaggi placed fourth in the 200-yard Medley Relay competition. And three CSI swimmers, Lauren Overeem (7th), Hunter Dawkins (9th) and Jessica Pifalo (10th) earned points in the 400-yard Individual Medley.
Pifalo scored a sixth-place finish in the 100-yard Butterfly, while Karen Ragnanan was CSI’s top finisher in the backstroke.
A definitive highlight, as it was on day one, was on the diving board. Stephanie Collyer was aces again, beating out her teammate, April Bartlett by a razor-thin 2.9 points for gold. Tina Chen also placed, finishing fourth.
After two days, the CSI women have 439 points, a full 100 points above fourth-place Brooklyn. The meet leader is Baruch with a commanding 681 points followed by Hunter with 596 points. After CSI and Brooklyn, the field consists of John Jay (236), Lehman (203) and York (6).
Play picks up at 9am tomorrow morning with the 1,650-yard Freestyle.