CSI senior Timothy Sweeney stole the show, as the College of Staten Island swimming and diving program participated in the opening 18 events at the Drew University Ranger Invitational this morning and evening in Madison, NJ.  The two-day affair continues tomorrow with the CSI men in second place out of six teams and the women in fourth place.

There was plenty of fanfare today for Sweeney, who is hoping for a national championship run this postseason.  In the morning heats, Sweeney took first place in the 50-yard Freestyle with a time of 21.35, just missing the school and CUNYAC records by a hair.  The senior, however, made good in the evening, when his opening leg in CSI’s 200-yard Freestyle Relay was clocked in at 21.15, a new CSI and CUNYAC record, helping his team to a time of 1:30.11 in that event, good for second place alongside Jonathan Gorinshteyn, Nicholas Defonte and Derek Villa.

Still, it probably wasn’t Sweeney’s most impressive race, as four events later came the 100-yard Butterfly event.  There, Sweeney broke his own school record and a conference record with a race time of 49.81, winning the event while achieving the second-fastest NCAA Division III time in the country this season.  

In the 400-yard Medley Relay, Sweeney clocked a 24.82 backstroke that led the team to a second-place finish there, and he will look to achieve NCAA B-cut time tomorrow exclusively in the backstroke through an exhibition swim.

Of course, there were more highlights from the men’s team, as Villa took a bronze medal in the 500-yard Freestyle to start the day with a time of 5:09.86.  Brandon Lei was next to place, landing 7th in the 200-yard Individual Medley, and then Defonte followed Sweeney in the 50-yard Freestyle with a sixth-place finish at 22.97.  In the evening set, Villa landed points in the 200-yard Freestyle with a fifth-place finish as well.

The CSI women also participated in 9 events in the opening day, and earned valuable points along the way.  Naomi Gaggi started the point- earning with a sixth-place swim in the 500-yard Freestyle, and that was followed by a great swim from Samantha Escobedo in the 200-yard Individual Medley, coming in third place with a time of 2:35.79.

Another third place finish followed for junior Ewa Wojciechowska, who flew in at 25.81 in the 50-yard Freestyle.  Later in the evening, Wojciechowska earned points again in the 200-yard Freestyle, coming in fifth overall at 2:06.42.

In relay action for the women, the Dolphins took third place in the 200-yard Medley Relay and later took third again in the 400-yard Medley Relay as well as Alicia Defonte, Gaggi, Escobedo, and Wojciechowska shined in those events.

The Ranger Invitational will continue tomorrow morning with more events and will include tomorrow evening with a final segment.