Press Release courtesy of CUNY
College of Staten Island senior swimmer Ewa Wojciechowska has earned plenty of highlights in her distinguished career, including another three CUNYAC Swimmer of the Week honors in 2017-18, but now the freestyler is making more waves, named the City University of New York Athletic Conference’s Scholar-Athlete for the Month of November, it was announced this weekend.
Wojciechowska is the college’s and the conference’s most decorated swimmer, and boasts an impeccable 4.00 GPA in the classroom as well. The monthly honor will go hand-in-hand with what will likely be heavy consideration for the CUNYAC’s prestigious Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor in May of 2018.
“It’s one of the biggest honors I have ever been given because I know just how many student athletes are working hard every day in all of CUNY, so to be the one chosen for this month is very exciting,” Wojciechowska said. “I’ve always put a lot of hard work into the pool and the classroom, and to be recognized for it motivates me even more for my final season.”
Wojciechowska then commented: “None of my success would be possible without my coach, my teammates that motivate and inspire me and all of the athletic department staff at CSI who go above and beyond every day for all of their student-athletes.”
“She (Ewa) is extremely hard working and has been a major part of this team’s success, both in and out of the pool, over the last few seasons,” CSI Head Coach Michael Ackalitis stated. “Her hard work in the pool is a reflection of everything she does outside of it. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA since she started college three years ago and there is no doubt in my mind that she will be successful in whatever challenges she faces. She has been a pleasure to coach over the last few seasons.”
The Dolphins’ star swimmer has had an incredible collegiate career. She is a two-time CUNYAC All-Star selection and earned CUNYAC Rookie of the Year honors in 2015, in addition to being tabbed as the CUNYAC Championship Meet Co-MVP in 2017.
Ewa has been swimming competitively since the age of 10, but her history with swimming before starting her illustrious collegiate career at Staten Island isn’t what most would expect. “For a long time, I did not enjoy the sport and was shuffled off to practices by my parents until I eventually quit at the age of 16,” said Wojciechowska.
It wasn’t until her freshman year at CSI where she fell in love with the sport again. “When I came to CSI, I decided to visit the pool again and met Coach Ackalitis, who welcomed me to join his swim team. For the first time in my life, I began swimming because it was my choice.”
Her transition from high school to being a collegiate student-athlete at CSI hasn’t been a difficult task for her to manage.
“I find that I’ve had a pretty good balance between academics and swimming,” stated Wojciechowska.
Wojciechowska, an English Writing and Linguistics major, also added: “I often load up my hardest classes in the spring, so I can focus more on my season in the fall. Usually, I just get my work done as fast as possible so I don’t have to worry about it later. It really helps to study a little every day and start assignments early. I have actually found the times when I don’t swim to always be more challenging than the ones when I do because swimming forces a kind of discipline on you that makes it easier to schedule and get work done on time.”
Ewa is a firm believer that there are similarities in putting hard work in the swimming pool and in the classroom. “Hard work is necessary for both, but in their own ways. Swimming forces you to get up early every day, dive into cold water, and push your body to its limits several times a week. Likewise, with the classroom, you have to study and do your work — there’s no way around it. The more work you put into the books, the stronger you’ll be for it. Nothing comes easy, but if you are willing to work for it, the results will make up for everything, whether it’s beating a personal-best time in the pool, or getting an A on a difficult exam.”
One of the most important lessons she’s learned throughout her time as a student at CSI is that you get what you put in, no matter what it applies to.
“You have to work for what you want, and the more practices you show up to and the harder you train during them, the more likely you’ll get that personal-best time that’s been slipping away from you for ages,” said Wojciechowska. “Likewise, it’s taught me that winning isn’t always everything. You won’t always beat your fastest time or win against the girl in the lane next to you, but as long as you put everything you’ve got into your race, then you’ve got nothing to be upset about.”
Throughout Ewa’s career, she’s had plenty of great moments, but she can’t pick a favorite memory.
“College has been such a blur for me that all my memories have become one big montage of all the great people that I’ve met along the way and all the many things I’ve learned and experienced during my time at CSI,” stated Wojciechowska. “College has taught me to love swimming again, given me amazing friends, taught me the value of working hard, allowed me to choose a path for my future, and given me all the tools I need to become whatever I want to be when I graduate. All of my coaches, teammates, classmates, professors and the CSI athletic staff have motivated me to always do and be better, and I’ll remember them years down the line.”