Bearcats continue reign as swimming champions
While the Patriots were busy cementing their legacy at the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, the Baruch College Bearcats men’s and women’s swimming teams continued their championship winning streak, successfully retaining their status as CUNY Athletic Conference champions following the CUNYAC Championship Meet at Lehman College. This marks the men’s fifth title and the women’s seventh, capping off another successful season under head coach Charles Lampasso.
The men’s team finished the season undefeated and behind Alan Li’s MVP performance, scored 308 points — 116 more than the second place College of Staten Island Dolphins — to seal the win and the team’s second straight championship.
Despite strong performances all around, particularly from the ECAC Open Championship qualifying 200 Medley Relay team, the women’s team had a much more stressful three days in the tournament. However, it ultimately defeated its Lexington Avenue rival Hunter College 279-277 to seal the victory.
“We couldn’t be happier with the win,” said women’s team captain Andrea Gasic. “After losing to Hunter by just one point during our duel meet, we knew championships would be extremely close. All three days we were back and forth in points, down one moment and up the next. The moment we found out we won we were quite literally jumping with joy. All our hard work both in and out of the water paid off.”
“[It felt] surreal,” said captain Mohammad Amer. “The feeling was no different from the first time. All the hard work we put in throughout the season paid off in the end and that’s what makes it great.”
To Amer, the championship win was the pinnacle moment in a season of domination. In fact, he knew the win was coming from one huge “defining moment” of the season.
“The defining moment that convinced me that we would win another championship was in the beginning of our season after defeating both William Paterson University and Adelphi University,” Amer said. “The last time the men’s team defeated these two schools was back in the 2012-13 season. Our goal now was to do the impossible and go undefeated overall for our season, in addition to winning another championship.”
Gasic, however, knew from the beginning of the season that it’d come down to the final stretch to determine another title, despite the plethora of talent on the team.
“We walked into this season knowing that we had the ability to win another championship but that it wouldn’t be a walk in the park, instead it would be a fight till the very end,” Gasic said “The talent on the team was undeniable, we just had to come together to take the trophy home. There really wasn’t one clear defining moment because we fought for it up until the very last point at championships.”
It’s difficult enough to win a championship in the first place, but to repeat with the amount of roster turnover a college team experiences speaks to the leadership and intelligence of the coaches and returning swimmers.
“We lost a few girls who graduated and of course those were big shoes to fill,” Gasic said. “However, the retention rate from last years’ roster was very high. The fact that we had so many girls back in the pool this season brought a sense of unity and commitment. Having all of us back together kept us motivated and ready to fight for the win.”
Gasic, a junior, and Amer, a senior, attribute much of the teams’ success to the leadership of Lampasso.
“I’d like to thank coach Charles Lampasso for pushing us to limits we didn’t think we’d be able to reach,” Amer said.
“Coach Charles Lampasso has outdone himself by bringing home the win for both teams two years in a row,” Gasic said.
Lampasso and the returning swimmers will look to turn a repeat into a three-peat when they take to the pools next winter.