Both the men’s and women’s swimming teams concluded their season this past Saturday, Feb. 23 when they wrapped up their four days of competition, finishing fourth out of eight teams on both sides, in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Championship meet at the Burt Flickinger Center pool in Buffalo, New York.
“The team was very excited and anxious heading into SUNYAC’s,” said fourth-year Katie Donlevy. “We had set high expectations that others may have seen as unrealistic, but we discussed the importance of setting high goals.”
The meet got off to a slow start on day one with only three events. Unfortunately for the Hawks, one of those events was diving, something they do not have in their program. However, New Paltz was able to compete in both the men and women’s 800-yard freestyle relays. The men were able to come out with a third-place finish of the nine competing teams consisting of fourth-years Barrett Celecki, Joseph Galante, Matthew Kessler and first-year Jared Finn with a time of 7:03.66.
Day two saw great success on the women’s side. Fourth-year Nicole Lee and Kaefer each earned third-place finishes in their respective events. Lee clocked in at 24.04 in the 50-yard freestyle while Kaefer finished with a time of 2:09.34 in the 200-yard individual medley.
The women’s side also added two group victories on day two with a third place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:37.14 courtesy of third-years Sarah Crespo and Chelsea Angulas, Donlevy and Lee. They tacked on another bronze performance with a time of 3:56.76 in the 400-yard medley relay consisting of second-year Lindsay Kranitz, Lee, Donlevy and Angulas.
On the men’s side, Celecki highlighted the day with a third-place standing in the 500-yard freestyle clocking in at 4:41.20.
Day three was highlighted by Angulas on the women’s side, who earned the first gold performance of the meet for the Hawks after touching in at 57.88 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke. She also helped lead the lady Hawks to a second place finish in the 200-yard medley relay alongside Kranitz, Lee and Donlevy with a time of 1:47.32. Donlevy and Kranitz added individual victories in the 100-yard butterfly (57.60) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:07.50) respectively.
The second first-place finish of the meet highlighted day four for the Hawks as Celecki cruised to the gold in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of 16:30.44, almost ten seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. The swim set a new school record and earned Celecki an NCAA B-cut. First-year Ethan Bonney followed in fourth with a time of 16:36.02.
“Getting a couple best times for myself was definitely great, but the true joy came from watching my teammates place high and get their own best times,” Angulas said. “Watching Barrett Celecki crush the 1,650 record and get the NCAA B-cut definitely hyped up the team for the rest of the remaining events.”
On the women’s side, the relay team of Angulas, Kaefer, Donlevy and Lee earned second-place in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:32.25. The women also earned a third-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay touching in at 3:56.76 with Angulas, Lee, Donlevy and Kranitz finishing about a second behind second-place SUNY Cortland (3:55.18).
Donlevy and Angulas each claimed a third-place finish in their respective events with Donlevy clocking in at 52.86 in the 100-yard freestyle and Angulas came in at 2:05.65 in the 200-yard backstroke.
“For next year we’re looking to build our team,” first-year Jared Finn said. “We have the talent and effort as of now but we need the numbers. Seeing as everyone had one of the most fun swim seasons ever, I don’t think we plan on changing much.”