February 24, 2005

Women's Swim Shoots For Title

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After 11 meets, over five months of preparation and hundreds of hours in the pool, the women’s swim team will make one final road trip this season. Yesterday, the Red headed to Princeton, N.J. to compete in the Ivy League Championships, which will run through Saturday.

“We have really been gearing up and focused on [the] Ivies,” said senior captain Alyson Melin. “Now that we [have] tapered, we are so excited to race.”

While the women remain confident after their decisive victory over Buffalo on Feb. 12, the Red will have to compete against teams it has already faced during the regular season.

“The best meet the team had as a whole was probably the last meet against Buffalo,” said junior Holly Chance. “As for the rest of the season, [we] really hope to improve upon that meet and swim some fast times at the championships.”

In the meet against Buffalo, the women took first place finishes in 11 of 16 events. Melin, Chance, freshmen Leah Tourtellotte and Emilie Rennie took first place in two events each. Without as much success against its Ivy League competitors, the team earned a 1-6 record in conference competition. Despite losing six meets, the women posted a victory over Dartmouth in the season opener and reduced the point margin in the meets they lost since last year.

This weekend, each swimmer and diver will be important to the final outcome. The depth of the freshman class grew considerably, as rookies Rennie and Tourtellotte stepped up in the distance and sprint events, respectively.

“Emilie is a distance specialist, and she has already [swam] lifetime bests in the 1000- and 1650-yard freestyles,” said head coach John Holohan. “Her work ethic is phenomenal.”

Tourtellotte posted numerous victories in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events this season, beating some of the league’s top sprinters.

“Leah is a multi-talented swimmer,” Holohan said. “She can swim any stroke at any distance under 200-yards.”

Outside of the freshman, juniors Elissa Kline, Jess Brookman, Chance, and Ashley Johnson will also be vital in the team’s success.

“Our juniors are by far our strongest overall class,” Holohan said. “They have been crucial to every win that we have had.”

Princeton, ranked second in the league, will have the home crowd on its side, as it competes for its sixth consecutive Ivy championship. Despite having won 15 league titles overall, the Tigers go into the meet as an underdog.

League leader Harvard remains first seed, with an unbeaten overall record. Princeton took last year’s meet by a margin of 16.5 points over Harvard, with final scores of 1361 and 1344.5, respectively. Cornell scored 410 points overall.

This year, Princeton will rely heavily on senior Stephanie Hsiao, who won All-Ivy Honors in six different events last season. The consolation heats will also be as important as the individual championship races.

“We have rested, tapered, and are peaking for the meet,” Holohan said. “That means that we cut back on the training yardage and focused on race-specific training and relay takeoffs.”

The championships will begin today at 11 a.m.

Archived article by Kristina Kovach
Sun Staff Writer