Despite a disappointing last place finish by the Cornell men’s swimming team (1-7, 0-7 Ivy League) in the Ivy League Championships this weekend at Princeton, there were some high points and standout performances that made for an interesting and exciting competition.
The Red swam its best all year as 15 out of the 19 swimmers recorded at least two all-time best individual times. 12 of the 19 posted top-10 times in Cornell’s swimming history. Sophomore diver Phillip Truong was the only swimmer to set a school record for his achievement in the 3-meter boards. He finished fifth overall in the finals.
“I would have never suspected that if we swam as fast as we did that we would have gotten last place,” said head coach Joe Lucia. “I was really proud of the guys because it took a lot for these guys to hold it together this weekend.”
According to Lucia, sophomore Harry Harpham was probably the most accomplished swimmer at the three day event as he was the only Red swimmer to advance to a championship final. In the 200 butterfly, his time of 1:48.18 placed him sixth overall in the finals and was the third-fastest time in Cornell history.Other standout swimmers that set personal bests were seniors Kevin Brazitis and Steven Kwartler, sophomores Ben Catanese and Henry Scott and freshman PJ Wickwire. Catanese made the consolation bracket in the 400 IM, 200 back and 200 fly. Kwartler had his all-time best swims in the 50 free and the 100 breast. Scott swam a best 500 free and 100 fly. Wickwire excelled in the 200 and 500 free.
“I was not disappointed in how we performed,” said senior swimmer Julian Chan. “The league just got really fast this year and it just showed the great depth in the Ivy League.”
Chan noted that the relay races are important in any meet because the points are doubled. He added how they can swing the momentum during a meet.“It just did not go our way,” Chan said. “We got a little bit unlucky in some of the tight moments this year and last weekend, but overall I am proud of the team because we are always gritty and always fight to the end.”
Going into the meet there was a general consensus that the team could be competitive with some of the less talented teams in the Ivy League such as Brown, Penn or Dartmouth. The Red finished with 575.5 points, behind Brown’s 596.5, Penn’s 756 and Dartmouth’s 764.5. As expected, Princeton and Harvard finished first and second with Princeton claiming the top spot, 1523.5-1446.
“We were fighting until the end against Brown,” Lucia said. “The key for Brown was their sophomore swimmer Tommy Glen, who is going to the NCAA’s. He really inspired their team. But, overall I think the guys on the team did a lot of fast swimming and I don’t have any negative things to say about any performance.”
The men wrapped up the season last weekend having not defeated an Ivy League opponent all year. The last time this happened was in the 1971-72 season. The Red’s only two wins this year came against Colgate and against other local area teams at the Ithaca Invitational. Its one regular season win is the fewest the team has had in a season since 1936-37.