While most students were still getting used to early classes and late night parties during the first week of September, the men’s and women’s swim teams hit the water in preparation for a meet over two months away.
This weekend, the men and women will be able to see how their practice pays off in a dual meet against Dartmouth and Harvard in Hanover, N.H.
Coming off of their third consecutive winning season, the men head to Dartmouth hoping to better last year’s record of 7-4. Last season the men split the meet by losing to Harvard, 131-110, and winning over Dartmouth, 136.5-104.5.
This year, the EISL is shaping up to give the men some tough competition. With Harvard and Princeton still at the top of the standings, the men will face one of their toughest opponents during their first meet.
“Our major goal [on Friday] is beating Dartmouth,” said men’s swimming coach Joe Lucia. “Last year we had a real good showing at the meet.”
And although Harvard finished second in league standings last season, the men hope to have a decent showing against the Crimson this year.
This season, the men’s team will be lead by tri-captains senior Danny Diette, senior Paul Teta and junior Stefano Caprara. Diette returns as the team’s top 200 freestyler.
Sophomore Mike Smit will also play a key role in the men’s lineup. Smit, last season’s co-MVP, won the 500 freestyle at the EISL championships after setting school records in the 1000 free and the 200 free.
With one of the largest freshman classes in years, the depth of the men’s team will help the swimmers in their efforts on Friday.
On the women’s side, the team remains optimistic about the season. After losing only two seniors last year, the women have added depth to the team with a talented freshman class. Leading the women is coach John Holohan, in his second year at Cornell.
Despite finishing with a 3-8 record, the women’s team had 27 lifetime-best performances at the Ivy Championships in February.
This year, the women are looking for a breakthrough season beginning with Saturday’s dual meet.
Although losing to both Harvard and Dartmouth last year in their opening meet, the women hope that this season’s five captains can lead them to a good match.
Seniors Meredith Blackman, Stephanie Kusko, Alyson Melin and Lisa Ranzenhofer should give strong performances on Saturday to help the women start off the season successfully.
“Since training began, we’ve been looking forward to [the first meet],” Lucia said. “Now we’re ready to see what we can do.”
In order to prepare for their first dual, the men and women began training on Sept. 2 to get into better shape before the winter season began.
If the team wants to finish successfully at the meet, its leaders must step up. “We’re ready to go head to head again and have a great meet,” Lucia said.
Archived article by Kristina Kovach
Sun Staff Writer