The State University of New York at New Paltz men’s swimming team captured the Vassar Sprint Invitational title on Sunday afternoon after winning a tightly-contested race in the meet’s final event—the 200 freestyle relay. The Hawks finished with a first-place total of 432 points, with Vassar College (425) and Skidmore College (424) placing second and third, respectively, in the team standings.
New Paltz, which captured five of the top six finishes in the 200 freestyle, entered the stretch run of the meet with significant momentum. A fourth-place finish by freshman Vitaut Gurskiy (Lindenhurst, N.Y./Lindenhurst) in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.14) put the Hawks in a position to win the meet outright with a victory in the 200 freestyle relay.
New Paltz put together a strong contingent of sprinters in that final event, as freshman Luke Zenir (Cherry Valley, N.Y./Cooperstown Central), sophomore Ryan Lindgren (Hurley, N.Y./Kingston), sophomore Ethan Cooke (Middletown, Conn./Middletown) and senior Matt Distler (Glens Falls, N.Y./Glens Falls) comprised the relay. When the dust settled in a frenetic finish, the Hawks posted the top time of 1:31.00 in the 200 freestyle relay, which was less than a second faster than second-place Skidmore (1:31.72) and third-place Vassar (1:31.75). New Paltz’s time in that relay eclipsed the former meet record of 1:32.34, which was set by Vassar in 2010.
Adding to the impressiveness of the Hawks’ invitational win was the fact that they did not have any entrants in the two diving events. Vassar benefited from 20 points on the boards, while Skidmore received 97 points from diving.
The Hawks return to competition from Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 20-22, for the 2014 State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Swimming & Diving Championships hosted at Erie Community College’s Burt Flickinger Athletic Center. The preliminary heats are set for 10 a.m. each day, with the championship final sessions set for 6 p.m.
Distler keyed the Hawks’ efforts individually with a first-place finish in the 200 freestyle (1:49.98) and a third-place result in the 100 butterfly (57.33), while junior Jack Spader (Larchmont, N.Y./Mamaroneck) paced the field in the 500 freestyle (5:00.50).
Freshman Thomas Whittico (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme) took second in the 400 individual medley (4:46.47) and third in the 500 freestyle (5:09.13), while senior Brendan Meyer (Hurley, N.Y./Kingston) touched second in the 50 backstroke (28.58). Lindgren, Cooke and freshman Rob Cahn (Bellmore, N.Y./Bellmore JFK) placed third in the 50 breaststroke (29.80), the 100 freestyle (50.97) and the 200 freestyle (1:54.08), respectively.
This release was provided to SwimSwam courtesy of New Paltz Swimming and Diving.