Swimming Starts Season Strong in Cortland

The men's and women's swimming teams began each of their seasons with a third-place finish at the Cortland Pumpkin Relays. Photo courtesy of sports information.

The men’s and women’s swimming teams kicked off their seasons this past weekend with the annual Cortland Pumpkin Relays. Both teams finished in third place overall.

Second-year Hawks head coach Tom Eickelberg was pleased with both of the team’s efforts in Cortland.

“It was an all-around solid meet with strong performances from both teams,” he said. “It was a great meet to kick off the season.”

The men’s team finished first in the 8×25-yard freestyle relay recording a time of 1:26.72. The participants in this event for the Hawks included first-year Thomas Barnitkowski, second-year Cooper Knapp, third-year Joe Galante and fourth-year co-captain Colin Duell. Even though he is still recovering from a major injury, Duell was pleased with his efforts this past weekend.

“My individual performance was decent and better than I expected,” Duell said. “I am still in the later stages of recovering from reconstructive ACL surgery and it was exciting to see my times were still in range of my end of season goals.”

The women’s team also placed first in the 8×25-yard freestyle relay recording a time of 1:40.11. The participants included fourth-year Katherine Cavanaugh, third-year Samantha Conforti and second-years Chelsea Angulas and Sarah Crespo. Angulas was happy with the overall performances from both teams.

“This was in a fun relay format, so it took some time to adjust to the racing part of swimming rather than practice. Overall, I feel we came together as a team and swam to the best of our abilities,” Angulas said. “The New Paltz spirit was definitely prevalent on that pool deck and we won first place pumpkins as a result.”

The expectations for the teams include maintaining their second-place position in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) conference.

“Our expectations are high as always. We want to win a relay and set at least one school record on both sides, while keeping our place if second at SUNYACs,” Duell said. “We still have a couple growing years before we can consider taking down SUNY Geneseo.”

The season expectations from Eickelberg and his swimmers not only involve achieving success in the pool, but also success outside of the pool.

“We are aiming to have our GPA at a 3.3 on the women’s side and a 3.2 on the men’s team,” Angular said.

Duell reiterated Angular’s notion, saying that “We’ve wanted to put more of an emphasis on our educations, and reach a higher team GPA than last spring. Our team has an extremely positive attitude and is full of optimists that would be hard to find anywhere else.”