February 23, 2005

Lady Swimmers Engage Ivy's Best

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With an incredible season already behind it, the women’s swim team is well prepared for the moment it has been waiting for — this weekend’s Ivy Championships. The championships will take place this week at Princeton University, and the women hope to deliver their best performances of the year.

“The entire team is excited about the upcoming championship meet,” said women’s head coach John Holohan. “We are looking forward to fast swims.”

The Red has come a long way this year, in part due to the strength of its rookies. According to Holohan, freshmen Leah Tourtellotte and Emilie Rennie have had a huge impact on the team this year. The Red has also defeated two teams that it fell to last year due to the progress of each swimmer in style and speed.

“This year we beat Dartmouth and the University of Buffalo, both teams we lost to last year,” Holohan said. “In addition we were able to reduce the point margin in the meets that we did lose. That reduction is indicative of the overall improvement in the performance level of our team.”

One of the women’s greatest accomplishments has been to truly come together as a team, instead of a group of individual swimmers and divers.

“This year has been a year where we have really seen our team become a team,” said senior Alyson Melin. “We have all come together with a unified goal — to swim fast. It has made my senior year being on a team that has undergone such a metamorphosis.”

According to Holohan, part of the reason for the women’s success this season is the excellent leadership skills of the team captains. Melin and Seniors Lisa Ranzenhofer, Steph Kusko and Meredith Blackman have all served as co-captains this year to create a more unified group of swimmers who are together reaching their full potential.

Junior diver Kristin Rayhack has also had a successful season and hopes to place higher or as high as she did last season at the Ivy Championships.

“As a team, I feel that we are working on forming a real cohesive bond that will help us pull together and support one another in order to perform our best at higher level competitions,” Rayhack said. “I’m pleased that our morale has remained high and that we continue to give it our all no matter what type of competition we are facing.”

To prepare for the Ivy Championships, the women have been cutting back on training distance, focusing instead on race-specific training and relay take-offs. The team hopes that this strategy will help it to fully rest and then reach its peak for the Ivy Championship this weekend at Princeton.

“The added rest from taper combined with the high level of competition and the high level of excitement of the meet should make for some great races at Ivy champs,” said junior Holly Chance.

One of the best meets the women had this year was against Buffalo. The team took a lot of time to rest in preparation for the meet and decisively defeated Buffalo 168-132. The Red claimed first place in 11 of the 16 events that meet.

“I think watching other people do their best times and getting excited about their swims definitely had a snowball effect that brought the level of competition on our team way up and pushed people to faster swims,” Chance said.

The women have spent the entire season focusing on the ultimate goal of performing well at the Ivy Championship. Their performances this year indicate the strong potential of the team members to do exceptionally well in this weekend’s competition.

Archived article by Kristen Schneider
Sun Staff