November 18, 2004

Swimmers Go for Second, Third Ivy League Wins

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The Cornell swimming and diving team has been preparing to challenge its rival since the first time it stepped on the blocks this season. The Red will be traveling to Philadelphia this weekend to swim against teams from both Princeton and Penn. The women will begin the meet at 6 p.m. on Friday, and the men will race on Saturday at 12 p.m.

“We’ve had some focus on this weekend since the first day of practice,” said the men’s head coach Joe Lucia. “Penn is a huge rival of ours, so this is always an emotional and hard-fought meet.”

The Red has also been highly focused on team unity. This is one of Coach Lucia’s major goals for the entire swim team this year and is supported by his three team captains.

“When Coach Lucia says ‘We are the best team,’ this does not necessarily mean that we are the fastest, but that we are one unit together as Cornell Swimming and Diving, and not a group of swimmers doing their own thing,” said junior captain Stefano Caprara.

“This is a team sport, and we will perform as such,” Lucia said.

The Red anticipates tough competition and close races this weekend. According to junior Holly Chance, Princeton has some of the strongest swimmers in the Ivy League and has won the Ivy Championships the past two years. Princeton has strong swimmers in every single event, especially the 200 IM. Penn’s main strengths are its distance squad and a strong group of incoming freshmen.

Despite challenging competition, the Red has a positive outlook about this weekend’s meet based on particularly strong performances last weekend against Dartmouth.

“After this weekend at Dartmouth I saw swimmers on the team step up big, and this gave me nothing but confidence for the season,” said Caprara. “As long as we can stay healthy, this team has potential to be the 4th team in a row with a winning record.” For the women, freshman Leah Tourtellotte won first place in the 100 M freestyle, with teammates Elissa Kline and Holly Chance right behind her, allowing the Red to sweep this event. Junior Jessica Brookman won the 100 M backstroke and was the only swimmer to score a time under a minute in this event. Brookman also placed first in the 200 meter backstroke.

“Coming off last week’s win definitely has boosted the team’s self-confidence, and because successful swimming necessitates a good mental approach, I’m sure our team will be able to keep the ball rolling with fast swims and mental toughness in close races,” said Chance.

The Red is also excited about a strong group of incoming freshmen who will carry the team in upcoming seasons, as well as boosting the morale of the Red this year. The women’s team added five freshmen this year. According to fellow freshman Leah Tourtellotte, freshman Emilie Rennie is the best distance freestyle swimmer on the team.

“She’s the best distance girl we have at the moment, so she’s a great asset,” Tourtellotte said.

The men gained ten new freshmen swimmers this year from all over the country, as well as diver Josh Sterling.

“We have some fabulous freshmen this year, and our returning swimmers are already whipping out incredibly fast times for this point in the year,” said Chance.

Archived article by Kristen Schneider
Sun Contributor