Posting good times this weekend will be essential to be in good position at Ivy Championships.

Courtesy of Cornell Athletics

Posting good times this weekend will be essential to be in good position at Ivy Championships.

December 1, 2016

Women’s Swimming and Diving to Split Squads for Zippy, IC Invites

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The women’s swimming and diving team will send half its squad to the Ithaca Bomber Invitational hosted by Ithaca College and half to the Zippy Invitational in Akron, OH this weekend. The Red (1-3) is hoping for some great swims and fast times after two weeks of rest.

It is the Red’s first invitational meet of the season; the Red’s previous four meets have all been single-day meets against Ivy opponents. It will span three days, from Friday to Sunday, so the Red will have to work on conserving its energy.

“Three-day meets are long and taxing,” said senior Ellie Belilos. “[Head coach Patrick Gallagher] calls it a ‘grind’ [and says] it’s important to find a way to swim fast even on the last day after your body has already been through six or seven races.”

Despite the grind, Ellie and her teammates said they know this hard work will pay off in the long run.

“It will be great practice for our Ivy Championships in February, though,” she said. “That meet is four days long in a similar prelims/finals format.”

The Red has faced only Ivy competition thus far, compiling a 1-3 record against Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn and Princeton. This experience, along with the increased length of the invitational meets, will prove to make this weekend quite a change of pace for the Red.

“In-season Ivy League dual meets are always fun because these are the teams we will swim in February come championship season and it’s an excellent opportunity to race against traditional rivals and great competition,” Belilos said. “The teams attending this weekend are still excellent competition, and in terms of racing I don’t think we look at it any differently.”

Because the team split squads, however, each individual swimmer will have to step up to the challenge to make it as though the team’s full squad was at each meet.

“We are short a handful of swimmers since we split the squad, so we will have to step up to overcome that,” said head coach Patrick Gallagher.

Additionally, focusing on swimming in the middle of final exams can be a challenge. Maintaining focus throughout this tough time will be essential for the Red in moving toward a successful postseason.

“I think the team has really maintained a good focus on the process of being ready in February, and that involves putting a lot of work in October and November,” Gallagher said. “We need to keep that up through the toughest mental part of the year through final exams.”

The Red will need to post fast times this weekend, so that each individual swimmer can earn times that will place them in fast heats at Ivies.

“We still hold on to our focus at the beginning of the year – that’s putting everyone on the team in a position to swim lifetime best swims,” Gallagher said. “If we can do that at the championship meet, we will have met our goals.”

Because Ivy meets limit the number of events one can compete in, this meet will also be an opportunity for swimmers to branch out, race new kinds of meets and test their potential.

“Coach Gallagher … is really emphasizing that we take this opportunity to get up and race, to focus on not just our racing mentality, but also the little things like technique and strategy that can make the difference between first and fourth place,” said senior Anna Elling.

“We want to show these other teams that the Cornell women’s swim team is a force to be reckoned with,” added freshman Chloe Mikles.

The team’s primary end-of-season goal is to finish strong at Ivy Championships in mid February.

“The light at the end of the tunnel, marking the end of the season, is the Ivy League Championship,” Mikles explained. “We want to place as high as we can there, and see some really fast swimming come from our team.”

The Red will have to focus on its daily routine of improvement at each meet and practice in order to achieve this goal.

“Our team’s end of season goals are always the same — to train hard, have fun, and bring out the best in one another,” Elling said. “We always strive to place better this year than the last, and it really comes down to taking every possible opportunity.”

“We still hold on to our focus at the beginning of the year – that’s putting everyone on the team in a position to swim lifetime best swims,” Gallagher said. “If we can do that at the championship meet, we will have met our goals.”

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