February 6, 2004

Swimmers Play Host to Pair of EISL Rivals

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After last week’s disappointing loss at the hands of Columbia, the men’s swimming and diving team will look to rebound tomorrow, as it welcomes EISL-rivals Harvard and Dartmouth to Teagle Pool. The Red enters the meet with a 5-3 overall record but only a 3-3 mark in EISL meets. Last week’s 165.5-134.5 defeat put the team’s goal of a 6-3 league record in jeopardy, as Cornell closes out the season against three challenging opponents.

“It even took me a little while to get over that one,” said head coach Joe Lucia. “It was a very emotional and tough loss. We put ourselves in a position to win seven races in the meet and we came up short in six of them. It was just a tough loss.”

Although the loss may have been tough to swallow, the team has little time to recuperate from it. Not only will the Red face off against perennial powerhouse Harvard this weekend, but it will also battle a much-improved Dartmouth team.

Harvard is having another impressive year with a 4-1 record in the EISL, with its only loss coming against the EISL-undefeated Princeton Tigers. The Crimson has had excellent success historically against the league, with Cornell being no exception. Harvard has only lost two league meets in the last six years, both to the Tigers.

Harvard’s dominance in recent years mirrors Dartmouth’s lack of success. The Green has occupied the cellar in the EISL standings in nine of the past 11 seasons, winning only three league meets over that span. The last time it finished ahead of Cornell in the standings was 1981. But Dartmouth has turned it around this year, winning three out of its seven EISL meets for the first time since 1990.

Dartmouth’s four losses have come against Princeton, Yale, Penn, and Columbia. The Red also suffered losses to Princeton, Yale, and Columbia, but were able to defeat the Quakers convincingly.

“We have had a great week of training,” said senior co-captain Danny Royce. “Coming into the meet, we are going to be swimming tired again, but we are confident that we can swim fast and come away with a win.”

The Red will need a victory over either the Green or the Crimson to stay in line for a third consecutive 5-4 season in league play. The team will need wins in two of its last three meets to continue the streak. Cornell will face Brown to close out the season on Feb. 14.

For Cornell to have success this week, though, it must be able to overcome last weekend’s disappointment.

“The team has bounced back from that,” Lucia said. “Now, we have focus ourselves on the very good team that we are swimming this week. They have two good guys in the distance and a great sprinter. We have to be ready and fight and win the close races.”

Archived article by Bryan Pepper