The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Final test for Storm, prepare for Big East Championships

With roughly half of the St. John’s swimming team finishingtheir season at the Rutgers Invitational on Feb. 14, the remaining17 athletes and their two coaches look forward to the program’sfinal performance, at the Big East Championships on Feb. 19-21.

“We’re all excited obviously since we’ve been working sinceSeptember on it,” said swimmer Christine Meyers, a junior. “It’s abig deal. We just want to all do our best.”

At Rutgers last Saturday, freshmen Danilo Krvavac and BernardasVelikonis qualified with Big East A-cut times.

On the women’s side, sophomore Jennie Brunette swam her best 200breaststroke of the year and made the Big East B-cut. SeniorDarinka Savcic also swam a Big East B-cut time.

“We swam really well,” St. John’s head coach John Skudin said.”Most everybody did their best time.”

Now comes the final test for the swimming teams: the upcomingBig East championships.

The Red Storm will have nine women and eight men competing thereat the last event in the 39-year history of the prestigiousprogram.

Skudin was not about to make predictions. “We’ll see whateverhappens,” he said.

After an in-depth 18-month review started in 1995, St. John’sofficials decided to discontinue swimming, football and men’s trackto make way for men’s lacrosse, which will begin in time for the2004-2005 season.

The pool at Alumni Hall will be renovated into a weight-trainingcenter.

While discussing the numerous school records set by past St.John’s swimmers, Meyers did not disguise the team’s true desires.”We want them gone,” she said firmly, adding that every swimmerwill try his or her hardest to break the previous records in theirlast opportunities to do so.

Despite the college administration’s decision to disband theswimming program, Meyers still said she wanted to make “theuniversity proud” with victories at the championships. “We’re notbitter or anything,” she remarked, echoing other statements made byswimmers who have largely denied holding a grudge against St.John’s. “It’s very hard because some of us have been swimming sincewe were eight or nine years old. We just want to be positive aboutit.”

Meyers’s ongoing school spirit was even more apparent in thewake of the recent sex scandal involving the Red Storm men’sbasketball team, an issue on which she offered no comment.

With the program nearing its end, Skudin is having a tough timefacing reality. “It went by really fast,” he said sorrowfully. “Allof a sudden it’s upon you and you hope you did enough work. Yourlast meet will be the best. They’ve had a great year up to thispoint and you can’t take that away from them.”

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