The College of Staten Island women’s swimming and diving program has a season for the ages in 2014-15, and it culminated in a highly successful run at the Metropolitan Swimming & Diving Championships held at Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ, this weekend. The Dolphins placed 17th overall, but another host of record-breaking performances ensued in what has been a banner year for the women, one of the finest in their history.
“The women’s program just did so much this season and we have a lot to be proud of,” said Head Coach Michael Ackalitis. “We weren’t quite sure what we would have this year but we made such significant strides in a short window of time, breaking so many long-standing records at the College, and it’s certainly something we can work off of.”
A total of five CSI records were broken at the Metro Championships the most ever by a CSI women’s team. It was a fitting punctuation mark in a season that featured a total of 12 new records in 23 overall categories. No stranger to that record book is CSI junior Dakota Dawkins, who seemed to break a litany of her own records with each passing meet in 2014-15. The signature breaststroker swam to a team-best sixth-place finish in the meet’s 200-yard Breaststroke with a record-breaking time of 2:27.02. She is believed to be the only CSI female swimmer in history to place in the Top 8 at the Metro meet, which is comprised of swimmers from all three NCAA Divisions.
CUNYAC Championship Most Valuable Performer and freshman Ewa Wojciechowska broke another record, her own in the 100-yard Freestyle, coming in at 56.72, good for 33rd overall. Sophomore Samantha Escobedo, who joined the Dolphins midseason after a stellar freshman campaign a year ago, added a couple of records as well. First, she swam to a 1:06.08 finish in the 100-yard Backstroke, breaking the record held by former Dolphins standout Tara Meiners, who set the mark in 2006-07. Meiners’ record in the 200-yard Backstroke was also smashed by Escobedo with a run of 2:22.76.
Finally, CSI did its damage as part of relay competition, as the team of Naomi Gaggi, Kelly Walsh, Escobedo and Wojciechowska, flew in at 3:57.86 in the 400-yard Freestyle Relay, destroying the preview CSI record by more than 13 seconds, set back in 2009.
For Ackalitis, who graduates outstanding divers Stephanie Collyer, April Bartlett, and Tina Chen, the sky remains the limit with his young group, and the 2014-15 season will certainly be one to grown on, and was arguably the best unit since he took over the program in 2012.
“Our numbers weren’t high this season but our quality is right where we wanted it to be,” he said. “We made an impact and that’s a start, and now we want to move up the ladder. With the addition of a handful of recruits for next season, I believe will can and will be very strong.”
After a successful run, the Dolphins will be poised for future successes and the 2014-15 season will be one to remember and aspire to.
For a complete listing of results from the Metropolitan Swimming & Diving Championships, click HERE.