The Men’s swimming team defeated their cross-river rival Vassar College 169-92 in their home-opener on Saturday, Nov. 22 at Elting Pool. The Hawks won 9 of the 14 events, boosting their overall record to 2-0.
First-year Marc Piliero and third-year Will Koenig led the way for the Hawks by taking wins in two individual events each. Piliero took first in the 100 yard backstroke (57.12) and the 200 yard backstroke (2:04.17). Koenig won the 50 yard (22.17) and the 100 yard freestyles (49.74).
Fourth-year Jack Spader, third-year Rod Taskindoust and second-year Rob Cahn also contributed to the win, taking first in an individual event each. Spader won the 1,000 yard freestyle (10:23.12), Taskindoust had the best time in the 200 yard freestyle (1:53. 08) and Cahn claimed the victory in the 500 yard freestyle (5: 19.17).
Head Coach Scott Whitbeck said this win has shown growth among the team after falling to Vassar last season.
“It is always exciting to beat our cross-river rivals at Vassar,” Whitbeck said. “Our team split in competition against [them] last season so it was great to see how improved our program is from last year.”
Spader said that a large part of the team’s success this year has been their large, in-depth roster, which consists of 27 swimmers as opposed to last year’s 15.
“I think that the biggest asset to this team is its size,” Spader said. “This means that unlike many times in the past, we can focus on two or three races that we have. An advantage to having such a big team is that we can recruit more talented swimmers, [which] puts us on a level playing field with our biggest competitors, Cortland and Geneseo.”
The Hawks have not defeated Geneseo since Jan. 12, 2005. New Paltz was victorious in their meet against Cortland last year, which was their first win against the team since Jan. 29, 2005.
Next on the schedule for the Hawks is the three-day MIT Invitational that will run from Dec. 5 to Dec. 7 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Despite the tough task at hand, Whitbeck said he looks to keep his team well-rested after coming home from the Thanksgiving break.
“This is likely the best competition we will face all season and we are hoping to represent well,” he said. “Our program this week is unlike any other fall week. We will not be lifting or doing any other strength work, and our training in the pool will get easier as the week continues so that we are fresh for the meet this weekend.”