Flashback Friday looks at the top moments from the 2014-15 athletic year at the College of Staten Island.  This week we reflect on the 5th-highest moment of the past year, when the CSI Men’s Swimming and Diving team repeated as CUNYAC Champions in early February.  It was their first back-to-back title in a decade, and the Dolphins did it by taking first place in 16 events in the competition.

#5 – Men’s Swimming & Diving – Dolphins Do It Again
Date:  February 6-8, 2015
Who:  CSI Men’s Swimming & Diving Team
Where: Lehman College – Bronx, NY
What Happened:  After a solid regular season the Dolphins took to the pool at Lehman College defending their CUNYAC Championship.  The team had not been able to pull off a back-to-back championship in a decade, but the team left little to doubt at the annual weekend event.  The Dolphins led wire-to-wire, taking 16 first-place finish in 20 events en route to a win by almost 100 total points.  Not only did the Dolphins come in first in most every event, but four CUNYAC records were broken in the process.  Senior diver John Pignatelli earned two by way of the one-meter and three-meter diving boards, and sophomore Tim Sweeney added two more in the 200-yard Butterfly and the 1,650-yard Freestyle.  Sweeney’s time in the 100-yard Butterfly was just two-tenths off of another record, but for his unblemished run in the championship, Sweeney was awarded Performer of the Meet.  The postseason championship was the Dolphins’ sixth in program history, and it marked the school’s first back-to-back title since the team won four-straight championships from 2002-05.

4068Looking back…with Tim Sweeney
Last year the team was trying to knock off the perennial powers of Baruch and Lehman College.  This year you guys were defending the championship.  What was it like going in as the favorites?  There was definitely some added pressure there as “the team to beat” but it also motivated us to be better and to work harder each day. I think that was one of the driving forces in our team’s successes. 

You were having an extraordinary season.  Was the goal for you and your team to peak for the CUNYAC Championship?   We all want to swim our best times at Championships. We work all year thinking about champs and when the time came we were all ready and prepared to take on the other teams. Thanks to our coaches, we peaked at the perfect time and even though they didn’t swim in the meet, our coaches are the main reason we were able to win championships. 

You were able to set a couple of new CUNYAC records at the event and were just shy of a third.  Did the races go as expected for you and were you happy with the times?  I had been thinking about the records for a few weeks before champs and I knew I had a shot at them but I would have to acieve my best times by quite a bit. When I looked at the board after my races and saw my times, I couldn’t be happier with them. It was an amazing feeling to accomplish my goals and now I just have to continue to set my goals higher and higher. 

The team led from start to finish, but at what point was it clear to you that the team was going to fulfill its goal of winning a back-to-back championship?  Because the meet has a three-day format there are plenty of points up for grabs so even though we did have a lead we still wanted to score as many points as possible even up until the last event. We knew we had a great chance at winning at the start of day three so we all pushed ourselves to make sure we took home the trophy. 

Undoubtedly, the team will be classified as a favorite going into next year.  Does that help or hurt a team like this moving forward? Being the favorite going into the season is something to be proud of and we know all eyes will be on us to take home another championship. I see it as something that can only help everyone on our team. Because there is an added layer of pressure to defend our title, we are all motivated now more than ever to try to three-peat as CUNYAC Champions. 

Other Highlights
Staten Island Advance Article
Meet Story – Day One
Meet Story – Day Two
Meet Story – Final Day
Final Boxscore
CUNYAC Championship Photo Gallery
CUNYAC Championship Video Highlights

Danila Novikov was yet another Dolphin who swept first place in every event he performed in.
CSI is all smiles after learning they had won the title for the second year in a row.
Tim Sweeney set two new CUNYAC records in the Meet.