Coming off victories in its last meet against Colgate, the men’s and women’s swim teams had a lot of momentum going into this past weekend’s competitions. Even though both teams gave strong performances, only the men found victory.
The women, already facing a tough season, hosted Ivy League rivals, Columbia and Brown. Cornell had four swimmers down with the flu including top breaststroker, senior Alyson Melin, and flyers, juniors Ashley Johnson and Holly Chance.
The result of the meet, a 191-107 loss to Brown, and a 189-111 defeat to Columbia, is not a correct indication of the women’s progress since its first meet. Despite the team’s health, the women showed great improvement over last season.
“Although we lost both meets, the scores were vastly improved over last year’s [results],” said women’s head coach John Holohan. “In spite of the illness, the team swam with enthusiasm and mental toughness.”
During the second home meet of the year, many women set season and lifetime best marks in the pool. Freshman Leah Tourtellotte continued her outstanding debut season by setting a college-best time in the 200-yard freestyle (1:54.50). Tourtellotte also came in first against Columbia and second against Brown during the 50-yard freestyle.
With the help of juniors Elissa Kline and Chance, Tourtellotte helped the Red to sweep the top three spots in the 100-yard freestyle.
The women continued the intensity, as junior Jessica Brookman swam to a season-best time of 58.57 in the 100-yard backstroke. The 400-yard freestyle relay team found victory over Brown, but came in second to Columbia by only three-tenths of a second.
Although the women fall to 3-7 on the season (1-6 Ivy), they have two weeks to prepare for their next meet, a Feb. 12 meeting against Buffalo.
The men (7-2, 5-2 EISL) found more success against a single competitor in Friday’s home meet against Columbia. With a 160-140 decision, the men broke pool records as they won 10 of the meet’s 17 events.
“We had to step up and work hard for the team,” said junior captain Stefano Caprara. “We are ecstatic about the result.”
The Red’s hard work paid off from the beginning of the meet, as Caprara teamed up with sophomore Dave McKechnie, senior Doug Ernst and sophomore Mike Balint to break a pool record in the 200-yard medley relay. The ‘A’ team came almost four seconds ahead of Columbia at 1:31.83, breaking the old record by just under two seconds.
McKechnie’s success continued in his first individual event, the 100-yard backstroke. Also setting a pool record, McKechnie finished in 57.14, just ahead of Columbia’s Michael Nelson.
In a race that came down to only eleven-hundredths of a second, sophomore Mike Smit continued his dominance in distance events by winning the 1000-yard freestyle. An impressive sprint in the last 50 yards helped Smit find victory.
Freshman Brad Gorter also gave an incredible performance in the 50-yard freestyle event to upset Columbia’s Tobin White. Gorter also finished third in the 100-yard freestyle just behind White and senior captain Danny Diette.
“This meet was a real relief,” Caprara said. “We finally got to see all of our hard work pay off. We are all really happy.”
The men’s swimming team will head to Rhode Island on Feb. 12 to compete in its last regular season meet against Brown.
Archived article by Kristina Kovach
Sun Staff Writer