Records again fall at Big East Championships

Some people say that records are made to be broken.

The St. John’s men’s and women’s swimming teams proved them right at the Big East Championships.

During the meet held on Feb. 20-22, the Red Storm broke 12 school records on the way to the men finishing fifth overall and the women ending up in 11th place.

“We can only continue to get better, that is all we are trying to do, and we are better,” said St. John’s Head Coach John Skudin. “If they are breaking records, then that’s the fastest anyone has gone in St. John’s history.”

The highlight of the meet came on Day 2, when the men’s 800-meter freestyle relay team of Marcin Filipowicz, Micheal Szapiel, Pawel Sokolowski and Milos Cerovic finished first and shattered the school record by seven seconds with a time of 6:36.32.

This marked SJU’s third victory in a relay event at the Big East Championships, the first since 1982 and the first under Skudin.

“The race was great,” said Sokolowski. “We competed against Rutgers and Pittsburgh, which have much bigger teams than we do, so for us to beat them is big.”

Sokolowski was a huge part of the Red Storm’s success, breaking all three of the school’s freestyle records as well as contributing to two relay records.

In the 100 free, Sokolowski broke what he called his “most important record” by finishing second and clocking a time of 44.28.

Sokolowski would also break school records in the 50 free (20.37) and the 200 free (1:38.00).

He was also a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay along with Cerovic, Szapiel and Greg Danner, which broke the school record with a time of 3:01.82.

Danner, in his final Big East Championship meet, broke two records of his own by finishing second in the 200 fly (1:47.81) and posting a time of 3:55.71 in the 400 IM, breaking the record he set at last year’s Big East Championships (3:57.41).

“I’m really happy, especially for the relay team because we didn’t expect that at all,” Danner said. “For me to come four years and improve every year, that shows how good both our program and our coach is.”

Fellow senior Milos Cerovic would also break a St. John’s record with a time of 1:49.05 in the 200 backstroke.

The men’s team was not the only team breaking records and having their seniors step up.

The women’s team claimed four school records of their own, one of which was senior Melissa Kolachovsky, who broke her own record in the 50-yard freestyle by posting a time of 23.85.

Yet one of the most extraordinary stories of the meet involved Gosia Rodzik, who not only broke the record in the 100 butterfly but also did it for the second week in a row.

At last week’s Rutgers Invitational she broke the record, which was held by Kolachovsky, with a time of 58.50.

At the Big East Championships, she would swim the race two-one-hundredths of a second better and clock a time of 58.48.

“It was pretty exciting,” Rodzik said about her record-breaking performances. “I didn’t know I was going to break the record because all season I had not been doing as well as I would have liked, so it was exciting.”

The women would also break two relay records in both the 200 freestyle relay (1:36.81) which was swum by Kolachovsky, Laura Nuudi, Caitlin Ranney and Christine Myers as well as the 400-medley relay (3:55.88) that featured a team of Nuudi, Ranney, Rodzik and Kolachovsky.