The St. John’s women’s swimming team took on rival Wagner College and used a team effort to defeat the Sea Hawks by a score of 123-80 in the team’s opening meet Oct. 18 at Alumni Hall.
The Johnnies were not only able to get their season off to a good start but they also beat Wagner for the second straight year.
Last year’s loss was Wagner’s only defeat of the season.
“There’s no question it gives them confidence,” St. John’s Head Coach John Skudin said about the importance of the win. “We are going to hit some real good teams and this might give them confidence, where in the past they might not have had it.”
SJU began building that confidence early.
A team of Maya Ziolkowski, Christine Myers, Gosia Rodizik and Melissa Kolackovsky won the 400-yard Medley Relay with a winning time of 4:05.62.
The strong relay team was followed by the 1000-Yard Freestyle, in which the St. John’s record holder Elizabeth Malinowski did not disappoint. Malinowski (10: 39.12) finished strong to win the event, while freshman Jennifer Brunette (10:43.69) finished second.
This would be the first of Malinowski’s two wins on the night. She would also take first in the 500-Yard Freestyle beating the Sea Hawks’ Shannon Johnston by posting a time of 5:14.08.
“I just wanted to win,” Malinowski said. “This was our first meet so we just try to do our best.”
Malinowski was also excited about the team’s performance and of the team’s chance for future success saying, “Starting out, this is the best, this is perfect. Our coach is really happy and he said this season is going to be really good if we keep going like this.”
Another reason to be optimistic about the remainder of the season was the performance of the team’s freshmen.
St. John’s newcomers won three individual races as well as making a strong showing in others.
Rodzik and freshman Lisa Molinaro, would finish first and second in the 200-Yard Freestyle with times of 1:59.63 and 1:59.99 respectively.
Rodzik (1:21.52) would also finish second in the 200-Yard Butterfly behind Wagner’s Eileen Dowd (1:21.24).
“We didn’t know what to expect from them – they really rose to the occasion,” Skudin said of his rookie swimmers.
Maya Ziolkowski, Caitlin Ranney and Melissa Kolackovsky took first, second and third in the 100-Yard Freestyle with times of 54.25, 55.58 and 55.87.
Ranney (24.96) scored a victory in the 50-Yard Freestyle beating out Wagner’s Ivey Hanson (25.16).
Brunette, with a time of 2:29.69, also edged out Dowd (2:30.25) in the 200-Yard Breaststroke.
While pleased with the freshman’s performance Skudin said, “It’s a combination of upper classmen and freshman. Blending in on the first meet, usually it takes time to click. I think this was a good sign.”
Other race results include SJU’s Laura Nuudi (2:08.42) taking the 200-Yard Backstroke, with Lauren Brown (2:18.00) taking third.
Nuudi (2:14. 25) also finished third in the 200-yard Individual Medley behind Myers (2:12.19) and Wagner’s Dowd (2:11.99). St. John’s would exhibition the 400 Yard-Freestyle Relay, so they did not score.
The Johnnies’ next meet is on October 26th at Connecticut against UConn, Fordham and Boston College. They return home on Nov. 23rd against Massachusetts.