Despite finishing eighth at the EISL Championships this past weekend, the Cornell men’s swimming and diving team cannot be faulted for its effort, as the squad’s members set numerous season bests.
In the grueling three-day event, the club got stronger as the meet progressed and secured many of its 525 team points in the final day of competition.
The Red started out poorly on the first day of the event, particularly in the individual events. Junior Eric Gonzalez garnered the team’s best individual effort, finishing nineteenth in the 500-yard freestyle. In the 50 freestyle, senior Will Norgard placed twenty-first with a time of 21:42.
While the individual swimmers struggled, the relay teams thrived. The 200 freestyle relay team of seniors Christian Sweetser, Matt Harting, Norgard, and Jim Drvostop placed eighth with a season-best time of 1:20.65. The time was nearly four seconds faster than the previous best. Sweetser and Norgard were not done however, as they combined with junior Ryan Buckham and sophomore Forrest Kennedy to place seventh in the 400 yard medley.
On the second day of the competition, the individual swimmers carried the Red with many top 24 finishes which earned team points. Three swimmers scored in the 100 backstroke, with Buckham leading the trio, finishing ninth with a time of 51.37. Drvostop and sophomore Jeremy Sample finished twelfth and twenty-second respectively, but more impressively, they swam their fastest times of the year at 52.01 and 53.59.
The Red also placed three swimmers in the 100 breaststroke, as Sweester, freshman John Dyste, and sophomore Therron Pappas finished sixteenth, eighteenth, and twenty-third respectively. Dyste’s time of 58.73 represented his best time of the season. In a test of attrition, the tandem of juniors John Kenny and Gonzalez placed 12th and 17th in the exhausting 1000 freestyle.
In the 100 butterfly, Kennedy placed 11th, followed by freshman Chris Shaffer who finished 21st. As the lone swimmer in the 400 individual medley, freshman Rob Payne set a season best time of 4:06.27 en route to an 11th place finish. Rounding out the day’s individual events, Harting and freshman Jay Thielker finished 15th and 24th respectively.
Continuing their strong performances, both the 800 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay teams finished ninth. The 800 freestyle team composed of Harting, Thielker, Drvostep, and Buckham swam a time of 6:56.92, while the 200 medley team of Drvostep, Sweetser, Kennedy, and Norgard finished in 1:33.94.
In the final day of the championships, the Red continued to post strong individual finishes, with the 200 butterfly being the best event. Kennedy led the way of a quartet of swimmers in the top twenty-four, as he placed ninth with a team season best of 1:50.97. Finishing behind Kennedy were sophomore Bill Dillon at 15th, junior Bruce Derrick at 16th, and Shaffer at 24th.
Three more Red members scored in the taxing 1650 freestyle, as Kenny placed ninth, Gonzalez 13th, and Payne 24th. Kenny’s time of 15:43.75 in the event was the fastest by a Cornell swimmer this year. In the 200 backstroke, Drvostop swam a season best to secure fourteenth, while teammate Buckham finished sixteenth. The 200 breaststroke saw Sweester and Dyste finish fifteenth and eighteenth respectively.
In the only relay of the day, Norgard, Harting, Sample, and Sweester gave Cornell its highest finish of the meet with a seventh place showing in the 400 yard freestyle relay. Acrobatically performing his dives, senior Jon Cebulski finished eleventh in the 3-meter dive. Teammate sophomore Tim Lenz finished nineteenth with a score of 345.25.
Although Cornell finished eighth among 10 teams, it certainly provided a strong showing. Unlike other sports, swimming cannot solely be judged upon the final placing, but also on times. In that respect, the Red performed exceptionally well, as evidenced by the large number of season-best times.
Archived article by Alex Ip