The New Paltz Swim Teams have officially finished their seasons. Between Wednesday, Feb. 16 and Saturday, Feb. 19, the teams were in Buffalo competing in the SUNYAC Tournament. Both teams should be very proud of their performance, as the men placed third out of 10 teams and the women placed fourth. For both, SUNY Geneseo and Cortland outperformed them, but they stayed on top of Oswego, Oneonta, Potsdam, Fredonia and Buffalo State College.
On the women’s side of things, first-year Alex Kassian performed well, placing in front of her teammates in the 100-yard breaststroke. Her final time was 1:09.34, earning 14 points for the Hawks, only behind Geneseo athletes. Hawks’ first-year Naomi Levey earned three points in the same event.
Kassian was also the first Hawk to place in the 200-yard breaststroke, finishing sixth with a time of 2:31.45, tacking on 13 more points. Kassian’s power didn’t stop there. In the 200-yard individual medley, she finished third overall.
Third-year Kelly Donlevy had a stellar fourth-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly, finishing 58.75, beating her prelim time of 59.03. Three other Hawks placed in this event, third-year Kristen Giovanniello, first-year Angelina Somma and second-year Taylor Pazderski, the total New Paltz points earned was 35.
Giovanniello also placed third in the 200-yard butterfly, adding on an impressive 16 points. She said she was really happy with her personal performance.
“After a year and a half of no swimming, I didn’t think I would perform even remotely as well as I did freshman year,” Giovanniello said. “Instead I did even better. I made finals in all my events and finished third in the 2-fly with a personal best time, which is something I didn’t think I would ever be able to do again. I exceeded my expectations and made myself really proud.”
The last time Giovanniello competed in championships, she was a first-year.
“It was strange, honestly. I went from being a newcomer on the team, extremely nervous about my first college championships, to being one of the older people on the deck who’s had experience with the meet before,” Giovanniello said. “Getting back in the water this season was also a strange feeling. After taking a year and a half off of swimming, I came into this season with a completely different mindset and I think that really helped my performance at SUNYACs.”
New Paltz stayed consistent in their freestyle relays, finishing fourth in the 200-yard, on a team of Donlevy, Kassian and third-years Kathryn Kolar and Delilah Griger. A whopping 30 points were added to New Paltz’s total due to their hard work. New Paltz was determined to do it again — and they did — in the 400-yard freestyle.
The same team of Griger, Kassian, Donlevy and Kolar finished in second place (best of the day so far) in the 200-yard medley relay. The ladies did it again in the 400-yard medley relay (only this time with Giovanniello instead of Kolar).
With these second place finishes and all the other accomplishments, it’s no wonder that New Paltz finished with 394 points, 83 ahead of fifth place Oswego.
Giovanniello said she thinks the team is overall happy with the fourth place finish.
“A majority of the team is new people, and everyone performed really well,” Giovanniello said. “Considering all the circumstances we faced throughout the year, we’re all excited to get back into the pool next season and perform even better.”
The men were just as impressive. Fourth-year Ethan Bonney went the distance in the 1650-yard freestyle, placing fourth in 16:40.31. Second-year Myles Dower also placed fourth in the 100-yard backstroke. Dower was also on a 200-yard medley relay team that came in second, earning 34 points and just shy of first place Cortland. He was joined by fifth-year Leo Litovsky and first-years Venn Engstrom and Steven Macaluso.
Macaluso also took third in the 100-yard butterfly, swiftly earning 16 points in 57.69. In total, the men had lots to be proud of and took home 432 points.
Through the many highs and few lows of the season, it was always exciting to follow New Paltz Swim. There can be no doubt that next season, the Hawks will be ready to take on more challenging competitors and soar to new heights.
“I think next season we’re going to come back stronger than ever. We came in with almost a completely new team this season, so this year was a huge adjustment period for everyone. Next season, though, I think everyone is going to perform even better than they did this year, as everyone has had experience with a college swim team,” Giovanniello said. “I’m excited to see what we are going to do next season, as we performed exceptionally well throughout an extremely tough season.”