The men’s and women’s swimming teams both ended their seasons Saturday, Feb. 24 at the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Championships. The women finished second in the meet with 528 points, while the men placed fourth with 442 points.
SUNY Geneseo finished first on both sides in the meet, with the men collecting their 19th conference title and the women winning their 17th in the last 20 seasons. The women’s teams win marks their 11th championship in a row.
Hawks head coach Tom Eickelberg was not disappointed by his team’s performance.
“We were off in SUNYACs, and that’s on me,” said Eickelberg. “This team is always locked in on the mission of competing every year.”
Second-year Cooper Knapp started off the weekend with a splash, breaking the conference 200-yard medley record with a time of 1 minute, 50.46 seconds. The time broke his own record set during last year’s championships.
Knapp and fourth-years Colin Duell, Caleb Treadwell and Barrett Celecki also finished second in the 400-yard medley relay the first day, recording the second fastest time in program history with a 3:27.35 mark.
On the women’s side Thursday, third-years Katie Donlevy and Nicole Lee and second-years Sarah Crespo and Chelsea Angulas came in second for the 200-yard freestyle relay with a 1:35.88 time, which set a new program record.
Lee fell just short of another record in the 50-yard freestyle relay, coming in first with a time of 29.93. Third-year Jaimie Kaefer was also able to find the podium, placing second in the 200 individual medley, coming in at 2:09.29.
On day two, Knapp came back hungry, breaking another SUNYAC and program record in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 3 minutes, 59.67 seconds. His swim also met NCAA B-cut qualifications.
“I’m privileged to be representing SUNY New Paltz at the national meet,” said Knapp. “Hopefully it will turn some heads of more high school prospects and make them consider New Paltz in their college search.”
Fourth-year Chad Plante was also able to grab second in the 100-yard breaststroke for the men, posting a 58.93 mark.
Angulas led the women’s side, winning the 100-yard backstroke at 58.32. Lee finished third in the event (59.31), while second-year Samantha Woll finished fourth (1:00.15). Donlevy also finished third in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:07.93 time.
Both New Paltz’s 200-yard medley teams came up big Friday, taking home two second-place finishes. Knapp, Plante, Treadwell and first-year Nolan West finished with a 1:33.21 time, while Angulas, Donlevy, Lee and fourth-year Molly McCulloch finished at 1:46.91.
On the final day of the meet, Knapp won his third-consecutive individual event, coming in with a time of 1:49.01 in the 200-yard butterfly, meeting his second NCAA B cut qualification.
“Any swimmer you have qualify for Nationals is big,” said Eickelberg. “[Knapp’s] ability to compete in so many events shows how versatile of an athlete he is.”
Plante also placed first for the men in the 200-yard breaststroke, coming in at 2:08.17.
Kaefer recorded a third-place finish for the women in the 200 backstroke, swimming a time of 2:07.66. Angulas finished fourth in the event (2:08.26).
In the 100 freestyle, Donlevy found third-place with a 53.02 time. Lee finished behind her in fourth (53.39).
The Hawks will be graduating 12 seniors going into next year, seven on the men’s side and five on the women’s.
“The seniors that are graduating this year are both wonderful people and talented swimmers,” said Kaefer. “There will definitely be an element missing from the team without them.”
Coach Eickelberg assures his teams are ready for the off-season ahead.
“We have a great group and a great culture that is really excited about swimming, and that means a lot.”