The men’s swimming and diving meet between Cornell and Brown on Saturday came down to the wire, with the Red leading by a slim margin going into the final two races. But, before the final medley relay had begun, the meet had been clinched in a fashion that was the closest thing to a fairy tale ending in the Cornell swimming world. In his last regular season meet and race as a member of the Red, senior co-captain Danny Royce finished the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:08.34, good enough for first place and the final blow needed to put away the Bears.
“He is the most consistent guy on the team and he has stepped up in so many cases this year,” said head coach Joe Lucia.
Royce, a native of Midlothian, Virginia, has been a part of Cornell swimming for the past five seasons and in that time has asserted himself as one the best swimmers in the history of the program. Royce swims both the breaststroke and individual medley events and has had tremendous success in each race, earning the honor of team MVP for the past two seasons.
“He is probably the most dedicated swimmer I have ever met,” said fellow senior co-captain Jeremy Sample. “He puts swimming as a top priority and has been swimming really well and really tough this season. There are a few good freshman breaststrokers on the team and they give him a lot of competition in practice, but when it comes time for the meet nobody steps it up and swims harder than Danny does.”
In fact, this season has been his best as a member of the Red. So far this year, Royce has collected 13 first-place finishes, with seven of those coming in the 200-yard breaststroke.
“I feel like this has been my best season ever,” said Royce. “My times have been the best in-season times that I have ever had and I am very excited about the championships coming up.”
But Lucia feels that Royce’s value to the team goes far beyond his accomplishments in the pool.
“The most important thing is that over the last two years Danny has been the co-captain of the team and has been a great leader,” said Lucia. “He is always physically and mentally ready for practices and meets and he is a team oriented guy. He is one of the all-time best guys that have ever been a part of this program.”
His leadership and dedication to the team has translated into three consecutive winning seasons in the conference for the Red and has put him in the Cornell record books with three all-time top five performances in individual events. His 200-yard individual medley is fifth, his 200-yard breaststroke is fourth, and his 400-yard I.M. ranks second.
“Being on this team has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” said Royce. “I will never regret coming to Cornell and being a part of the team. I have taken so much more away from it than swimming and I am just happy to be a part of the whole thing.”
Archived article by Bryan Pepper