November 21, 2003

Swimmers Open at Home Against Penn, Princeton

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Next to year-end championships, the biggest meet of the season for the men’s swimming and diving team is on tap for this weekend. And all the hype has nothing to do with the meet being the team’s season opener. But is does have something to do with arch-rival Penn paying a visit to Teagle Pool.

“This is our first meet against our biggest swimming rival,” said head coach Joe Lucia. “We are really excited.”

For many years, Penn has been neck and neck with the Red in the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League (EISL). In fact, over the last five years, only one meet has separated the two in the standings, with the Red coming out on top for the past three of those seasons. Last year, Cornell finished with an EISL record of 5-4, while Penn compiled a 4-5 mark.

Along with the Quakers, the Red will face perennial EISL powerhouse Princeton. The Tigers were the EISL champions a year ago, compiling a perfect 9-0 record to capture the title.

“I think we can keep it competitive against Princeton,” said Lucia. “But our main focus is getting the job done against Penn.”

Last year, the Red defeated the Quakers in the regular season, but finished behind them at the season ending championships.

“We are expecting a really close meet with Penn,” said senior co-captain Danny Royce. “We are taking some extra rest for the meet, more than usual. The rest should lead us to some individual best times.”

Edging out the Quakers again this year will mean the Red receiving balanced contributions from several team members. Senior co-captains Royce and Jeremy Sample will be looked upon to lead the way, but they cannot do it alone. Sophomore Stefano Caprara and juniors Doug Ernst and Danny Diette will also be heavily relied upon to perform well.

“We expect to swim fast and do the best we can to give them a battle,” said Lucia.

“If we are going to have a strong dual meet season we have to set the tone early.”

While the men’s team is looking to get off to a good start, the women’s team will try to rebound from last weekend’s losses to both Dartmouth and Harvard. Like the men, the team will battle Ivy League foes Penn and Princeton.

“We are going to go in a lot better mentally prepared than last week,” said senior co-captain Jayme Majek. “We now know what we need to do to pull it together.”

The team prepared a little differently for this weekend’s meet as compared to the season opener. While it trained rigorously in the early part of the week, it had a light practice yesterday and will do the same today. The team felt that it was too geared up for the battle with Dartmouth and Harvard, causing it to under perform.

“We almost feel we were over excited for last week’s meet, so we are going to try to be more relaxed going into this one,” said senior co-captain Aliza Ginsburg.

Last season, the Red was defeated by both the Quakers and the Tigers, as the team finished only in front of Dartmouth in the final standings. Princeton won the Ivy League with an undefeated mark of 7-0, while Penn finished third at 4-3. The team hasn’t beaten Penn since the 1998-99 season.

“We are all going out to swim for ourselves and swim for the team,” said Ginsburg. “We are not going to worry about the scoreboard so much and just try to swim some good times.”

Archived article by Bryan Pepper