|Manhattan Swimming Program Records 500th Win|
RIVERDALE, N.Y.- For the Manhattan men's and women's swimming teams, this past weekend proved to be one for the record books. With victories in the pool against Saint Peter's on Friday evening and NJIT on Saturday, the Jasper program eclipsed the monumental 500-win plateau.
"This is a very special achievement," Coach Walter Olsewski said. "Reaching this mark encompasses 75 years of program history and we are very proud of what all the teams have accomplished over that span."
After a six-week hiatus due to intercession, Manhattan returned to the water excited about the opportunity to make history. In a tough battle, the Jaspers split the dual meet with their MAAC rival to open the weekend, moving to 499 total wins.
Led by strong efforts from junior Bridget Latino and freshman Melanie Tam, the Lady Jaspers (6-9) prevailed by a score of 97-90. Last year's team MVP; Latino put together yet another tremendous performance, proving victorious in the 100-yard butterfly and (1:02.71) 200-yard freestyle (2:08.41) events. In group competition, she teamed with senior Rebecca Schwartz, freshman Vanessa L'Heureux and Tam to place first in the 200-yard medley relay (1:59.45).
A freshman on the rise, Tam topped all swimmers in the 50-yard (26.91) and was second in the 100-yard (58.14) freestyle events.
"The women's team was very impressive today and came out of the gates ready to go. Bridget and Melanie were excellent and a big part of our success against the Peahens," Olsewski said.
On the men's side (9-7), despite an impressive display from sophomore Robert Varieur and a record-setting performance in the 200-yard freestyle medley, Manhattan fell to the Peacocks, 110-88.
Varieur led all Jasper swimmers with two first place victories in the 50-yard (22.90) and 100-yard (49.96) freestyle events. In relay competition, he combined with freshmen Chris Fusco, PJ Sweeney and Dennis Daly to record an all-time mark in the 200-yard medley (1:41.00) event.
In need of a victory to clinch the historic mark one night after a tough defeat, the men's team took care of business, knocking off NJIT, 99-69. Designated as "Senior Night", Manhattan honored seven swimmers prior to the contest (Chris Tucci, Justin Logerfo, Diana Rossetti, Rebecca Schwartz, Debbie Atwell and Allaire O'Connor) and left it all at Riverdale Country Day.
A true team effort, five different Jaspers finished first in individual events while also sweeping the relay competitions. In short distance races, Robert Varieur claimed the 50-yard freestyle (23.23), Dennis Daly proved victorious in the 200-yard medley (2:10.13) and PJ Sweeney topped all in the 100-yard butterfly (56.19).
Pulling out a top time in the 100-yard backstroke, sophomore Cullen Balcanoff finished with a mark of 1:00.26. Swimming the lone middle distance event, freshman Tom Theophilidis obtained his first collegiate victory with a time of 5:34.76 in the 500-yard freestyle.
Shattering a record for the second-straight contest, the combination of Balcanoff, Daly, Sweeney and Varieur put together a school-best time of 1:40.83 in the 200-yard medley relay.
"The men's team had a big effort on day two and got the win we have been waiting for all season. This one mean's a lot for all the Jasper swimmers dating back to 1932-33," Olsewski said.
Manhattan will finish the regular season next Tuessday with a dual meet against Mount St.Vincent. Set for 6:30 p.m. at Riverdale Country Day, the meeting is a makeup of an earlier contest canceled due to snow.