Manhattan Has Watershed Moment At 2011 ECAC Championships
RIVERDALE, N.Y.- The Manhattan men's and women's swimming teams finished a season for the record books with a tremendous three-day effort at the 2011 ECAC Championships in Pittsburgh, Pa. this past weekend.
Competing against some of the top competition in Division I swimming, the Jaspers proved they belonged in the pool, placing 14th out of 25 competing teams with 83 points. The end result was the best final placement in program history.
"A most fantastic finish to a magical two weeks," Coach Walter Olsewski said. "It was truly an awesome moment to be involved with the Manhattan swimming program."
On day one of the competition, Manhattan picked up where they had finished at the 2011 MAAC Championships and continued to show they could handle the pressure of facing off against some of the top collegiate talent.
For the men's squad, sophomore Robert Varieur led the way with a school record best time of 21.42 in the 50-yard freestyle event to finish in 12th place overall. Fellow classmates Mike Scire (22.30) and Mickey Ruddy (22.62) also had top 50 times in the preliminary heats. In distance competition, freshman PJ Sweeney placed 28th with a finish of 4:54.44 in the 500-yard freestyle.
Working as a unit, the foursome of Varieur, sophomore Cullen Balcanoff, Sweeney and newcomer Dennis Daly, tore up the water with a school record and 10th place time of 3:31.62 in the 400-yard relay event. Adding another 10th place finish, the combination of Varieur, Scire, Ruddy and Daly swam a 1:27.24 in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
For the Lady Jaspers, junior Bridget Latino recorded a 25.71 to finish 51st in the 50-yard freestyle event. In relay competition, Latino, sophomore Nadine Maher, and first-year members Vanessa L'Heureux and Melanie Tam, combined for a time of 1:43.28 in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The ledger was good for 17th place overall.
A quiet second day, the men's team took smaller victories from the pool, including an 11th place finish in the 200-yard medley relay (1:36.61) and a top 25 finish for Daly in the 100-yard breaststroke event (59.38). On the women's side, Bridget Latino had a commendable effort in the 100-yard butterfly (1:00.44), in which she placed 31st.
Saving their best effort for the last day of the 2010-11 swimming season, the Jaspers left it all in the pool and closed out the campaign with gusto. Rewriting the previous record sheet, Balcanoff, Sweeney, Daly and Varieur all recorded new best marks in their respective individual events.
Balcanoff swam a time of 1:59.75 to snap freshman Chris Fusco's previous mark and finish 32nd in the 200-yard backstroke event. Daly's final 2:09.62 in the 200-yard breaststroke catapulted him to 16th in the event and improved on his previous top time. In the 200-yard butterfly, Sweeney cut seconds off his former all-time mark, finishing with a 2:01.12.
An unprecedented moment for the Manhattan swimming program, Varieur's school record time of 46.45 in the 100-yard freestyle put him on the podium as he placed fifth in the event. This marked the first time a Jasper swimmer had competed in a final event or medaled in an ECAC Championship event.
"This is an amazing acheievment for Robert and our team as a whole," Olsewski said. "He has been outstanding member of our program and is a true part of the success we have had here this season."
In the 400-yard freestyle relay, the pairing of Varieur, Sweeney, Ruddy and Scire ended the season with a school-best and 12th overall time of 3:12.37. The legs by Scire (48.77) and Ruddy (47.20) were lifetime bests.
Capping off a tremendous season for the Lady Jaspers, Latino finished 18th in the 200-yard butterfly event with a time of 2:11.83.