Stuyvesant Loses City Championship to Bronx Science
December 12th, 2002
Fourty-eight to fourty-four was the score in the 2002 PSAL (Public School’s Athletic League) girls’ swimming City Championship before the last event of the meet, the 400-yard freestyle relay. Victory and gold medals were within grasp for both schools. For the swimmers of the Stuyvesant Penguins, a first and second place finish in the event was needed to be able to walk out of Lehman College’s pool victorious. For Bronx Science, finishing in either first or second guaranteed them a third consecutive city championship. Four minutes and 1.03 seconds after the start of the consequential relay, the Bronx Science relay team’s last leg pounded into first place and clinched the championship.
The championship meet proved to be a clash of the two strongest teams in the girls’ swimming league. Bronx Science and Stuyvesant were bitter division rivals and they had faced each other in many previous championships. Bronx Science was undefeated in the playoffs and regular season play. Stuyvesant’s only two losses came from Bronx Science in the regular season. Stuyvesant and Bronx Science had also won their playoff games by lopsided scores. Bronx Science had won the city championships the preceding two seasons and was looking for a three-peat, while Stuyvesant had won the city championship an amazing ten years in a row before the last two seasons and was looking to reclaim its place on the throne.
The lead was passed back and forth between the two evenly matched teams and was not large at any time in the meet. In fact, there were only two events in which a team had swimmers placing first and second (this gives the team maximum points in the event), and each team had one. In the 200-yard individual medley, Stuyvesant freshmen Mollie Miller and Rachel Ryu placed first and second, and in the 50-yard freestyle, Bronx Science’s Lauren Goldman and Tamar Walker placed first and second. Also, according to Coach Silvana Choy, “Everyone on the team got stronger and faster. The swimmers were able to post great times because of the tapering.”
But the highlight of the meet was the diving event. Stuyvesant junior Viktoria Slavina was able to finish first and beat Bronx Science’s undefeated diver, Bella Schori, with a series of difficult, but perfectly executed dives. In fact, her dives were so good that she was awarded a seven by a judge for one of her dives, the highest score given throughout the PSAL playoffs for any dive. Her teammate, freshman Kat Yakubov placed in third for the diving event and Bronx Science’s Judith Rubinstein finished fourth.
“The diving was fantastic and Vicki really stepped up against Bronx Science,” commented Coach Silvana Choy. “And Kat was very impressive. She has natural talent.”
Townsend Harris finished third in the league after defeating Tottenville 63-49 in a consolation meet.
Though they lost the City championship, the Penguins still have a championship trophy from this season to gloat over. They edged out Bronx Science for the Opens Championship trophy (the Opens Championship is a meet in which individual swimmers who met a cutoff time in the regular season swim in this special meet. The team with the most amount of points at the end of the Opens championship meet is awarded the trophy).
With the season officially over for the Stuyvesant Penguins, they will start looking at next season. Six key seniors will graduate: Lila Babb, Kate Chertova, co-captain Tali Elfassy, Liz Gary, co-captain Eva Papadimas and Bihling Wu.
Despite the loss in the Championship, the Penguins had a great season. They won the Opens Championship, placed second in the league and had a strong regular season and playoffs. “We had a very successful season this year,” said Coach Choy. “And because of the success of our team at Opens and how well we did in the City, our swimmers will be motivated to join club teams. So the team will only do better.”