Perhaps recognized as the favorites going in, the College of Staten Island led wire-to-wire at this year’s CUNYAC Championship held at Lehman College, taking the event after three great days in the pool. CSI tallied another exceptional run this evening, topping the team out at 693 points, ahead of runner-up Baruch College (598) and Lehman College (458) for the top prize. For his efforts, sophomore Tim Sweeney bagged Performer of the Meet honors as well.
Coming in by almost 95 points going into this third and final day, CSI kept pace today and kept the other schools at their distance with a series of great performances.
MVP Sweeney got out to a fast start, blazing to a 16:42.15 finish in the 1,650-yard Freestyle, beating the former CUNYAC record by over a minute and giving CSI another first-place finish. For extra measure, Stephen O’Driscoll earned a bronze medal in the event, coming in at 18:22.71.
Up next was the 200-yard Backstroke and senior Danila Novikov continued his awesome showing, racing to a 2:02.66 time, good enough for another CSI first place finish. Again CSI took bronze as well, this time with Chris Pinto coming in at 2:14.55. One event later, Derek Villa had his turn grabbing bronze, this time by way of the 100-yard Freestyle, where he topped out at 50.25.
Up next, Novikov added his second gold of the morning, with a 2:14.21 time in the 200-yard Breaststroke, winning the event by over six seconds. Robert Hidalgo narrowly missed a medal, coming in fourth.
To finish individual competition, Sweeney would add another performance to the record books, this time winning the 200-yard Butterfly by almost 12 full seconds with a time of 1:54.09, beating former teammate Yury Zimarev’s record setting time last year by over half of a second.
In a terrific end of the show for CSI, the Dolphins won the 400-yard Freestyle Relay with Sweeney, Andrey Tarasov, Villa and Novikov with a time of 3:18.64, just three seconds better than the Baruch College team.
For Sweeney it was a great finish to a tremendous meet where he broke two records. “This weekend just meant so much,” said Sweeney to the CUNYAC. “Everyone swam well and the hard work really paid off.”
For Head Coach Michael Ackalitis the back-to-back championship was sweet as can be. “It’s great to win again on the men’s side it just shows that the program is really coming together as a whole from top to bottom,” he said. “It was a great team performance and everyone did an outstanding job.”
Up next for the Dolphins will be the Metropolitan Swimming & Diving Championships at Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ, next weekend. CSI will look to build on this weekend’s tremendous performance, one that saw them win take home more gold medals than any other team.