At the beginning of the year, head coach Joe Lucia set out to accomplish two season-long goals: to finish fifth place or higher at the EISL championships in March and to improve upon his team’s 7-4 dual meet record of a year ago. His men’s swimming and diving team could be well on its way to accomplishing goal number two with a win against archrival Columbia tomorrow.
With a win, the Red would improve its overall record to 6-2, needing only two wins out of three to eclipse last year’s total. Given, one of those meets is against perennial EISL powerhouse Harvard, but the others are against beatable opponents in Dartmouth and Brown. The meet against Columbia will be critical in reaching the eight-win plateau.
“Columbia is going to be one of the toughest matches of the year,” said senior co-captain Danny Royce. “It is going to be a close meet, and we are going to have to fight really hard to win that one. If we are able to win it, we have a good chance of being 8-3, which would be out best record in quite some time.”
Quite some time is not an exaggeration. The 8-3 overall mark would give the Red a 6-3 record in the EISL, something it has not done since the 1985-86 season. But, it will not come easily, as Columbia has also proven to be a formidable opponent. The Lions are 3-3 on the year with a 2-2 mark against EISL foes.
“Columbia is very tough,” said senior co-captain Jeremy Sample. “Last year, we had expectations of beating them and they swam better than us. It is going to be a good meet. I expect a lot of close races.”
The Red will also be trying to win its fifth meet in its last six contests, a streak that began with a win on Nov. 24 against Binghamton.
The men’s squad isn’t the only Cornell swimming team that has been streaking of late. The women’s swimming and diving team has won two in a row, the longest run of consecutive victories this season. The Red will try to extend the streak to four meets tomorrow, as it faces off against Ivy League rivals Brown and Columbia.
Cornell is trying to complete its turnaround after an 0-4 start to the season. With two wins in Providence, the team will reach the .500 mark for the first time all year.
The team will also try to snap two long overdue losing streaks, as it has not defeated the Bears since 1995 and has fallen to the Lions every year since 1998. Although the streaks are on the line, the Red’s primary focus will not be on the scoreboard.
“This meet is for most of us to get ready for the Ivy championships,” said senior co-captain Aliza Ginsburg. “We are going to try to find out where people are best placed. It will definitely help us to compete better at Ivy’s.”
While much of the team will be trying to improve its condition for the Ivy’s, some of the swimmers will be finishing their season tomorrow.
“This is going to be the last meet for everyone that will not be training with the team all the way up to the Ivy championships,” said senior co-captain Jayme Majek. “They are going to try to have a really good conclusion to the season.”
One swimmer that will be traveling to Harvard for the championships will be Cornell junior Alyson Melin. Melin has been the Red’s most consistent performer this year, capturing eight first-place finishes over the last three meets. Cornell will need a great performance from her to break two streaks and to extend another.
Archived article by Bryan Pepper