Last week, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams were recognized by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America as two of the top 10 teams in Division III.
In the ranking poll released on Nov. 14, the NYU men’s team earned a ninth place ranking while the women’s team tied for fifth place with the University of Chicago, the squad’s UAA rivals. Both the men and women’s teams were unranked at the end of last season.
“The rankings are based on the votes of members within a committee that is made up of coaches who rank the teams [among] each other as if they were in a dual meet together,” executive director of CSCAA Joel Shinofield said.
Shinofield oversaw the committee, which included coaches and one member of the media to determine the rank of the teams within each athletic division.
“If the teams did go head-to-head in a meet together, this is what we vote on to see how the ranks would pan out,” Shinofield said.
Breaststroke and individual medley swimmer and CAS senior Phil Wiesel said the news meant a lot for members of the men’s team.
“It is very special for me and this very young team, who have worked hard at every practice,” he said.
Senior captain and SCPS student Gabby Borutecene said the women’s team was also honored by the team’s ranking.
“When I heard about the rankings, I was just really proud and excited for the team, and being tied with our UAA rivals, UChicago, provides us good motivation to really [keep] the girls training hard,” Borutecene said. “Even though the freshman class outnumbers the upperclassmen on our team, they have stepped up to the plate, and our spirits are really high for the rest of the season.”
At first glance, the freshman-dominant roster for both the men’s and women’s teams may appear inexperienced. However, the young and eager members have proven to be a mature, strong force for the swimming and diving program.
“I don’t know if it’s the coaches, or my team, or the atmosphere, or maybe all of it together, but it’s a really great experience, and I am definitely diving the best I have ever had here at NYU than in my eight years of diving experience,” diver and Steinhardt freshman Ashlie Pankonin said. “But we can’t let [the rankings] get to our heads.”
“Being recognized by the CSCAA national ranking committee is an honor and definitely speaks to the hard work and solid performances by both our men’s and women’s teams,” assistant coach Doug Lennox said. “Whether a rookie or veteran coach, it is always nice to see that our growth has earned our team some national recognition.”
Despite this coveted recognition, the teams have yet to face their biggest test of the season — the Eastern College Athletic Conference championships, which takes place in two weeks.
“This is where we are going to see our training put to work,” Wiesel said. “And it is going to show [how] hard we have been working in the pool.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 25 print edition. Michelle Tran is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]