March 3, 2005

Men's Swimming Heads to Championships

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After finishing with a dual meet record of 8-2 overall, the men’s swim team has proven it can be competitive against the best in the league. Now the men have another chance to swim against the top teams, but this time they have to take on the all of the best during the same meet.

Yesterday, the men headed to Cambridge, Mass. to prepare for the EISL Championships, beginning today and running through Saturday. The eight Ivy League schools, along with Navy, sent their teams to Harvard’s Blodgett Pool for a chance at the first place trophy. Home team Harvard and second-seeded Princeton are expected to battle it out for first, while Columbia and Yale should fight for the third and fourth places. But the competition remains stiff for the remaining teams.

“This is a different kind of meet, and we have to be realistic about it,” said head coach Joe Lucia. “Although we have a very good dual meet record, we are lacking in depth. It will be a battle between [our team], Navy, Penn and Brown [for fifth place].”

Depth proves to be the one element separating the top teams from the rest in this competition.

The Red posted a 6-2 record against Ivy League teams during the regular season, only losing to Princeton and Harvard. Despite winning over Navy, Penn and Brown earlier in the year, the scoring system used during the championships may give those teams an advantage.

“We are looking to take fifth place and make a competitive drive for fourth,” said junior tri-captain Stefano Caprara. “[Even though] we finished third during the [regular] season, the championship meet is a totally different game.”

And by totally different game, Caprara is referring to the points given to the top 24 finishers in each event. Finishers in the bonus final, consolation final and championship final can all add points to their team’s overall score.

“We just don’t have the number of swimmers or depth to compete with the big guns of the league,” Caprara said.

But even without the necessary numbers to capture first place this weekend, the men are looking to achieve a number of team goals. The Red is looking to break the team record for points earned during the meet, currently at 675.

“To achieve this, we need everyone to qualify to swim each evening [in the finals] where the points are awarded,” said senior tri-captain Paul Teta. “Myself and the rest of the team would all love to swim personal and season best times, but the most important thing is placing as high as possible to earn points for the team.”

The Red will look to sophomores Dave McKechnie, Rich Bowen and Mike Smit, along with Caprara and diver Tony Schultz to earn points. Each athlete has finished with wins in individual events throughout the season.

Last year, the men took fifth place overall in the championships by edging out Brown in the final day of competition, but senior tri-captain Danny Diette hopes the team can improve upon that finish this year.

“We would really like to make a run at either Columbia or Yale, but a lot of things will have to go our way,” Diette said.

Regardless of the outcome, this championship meet will be memorable for the team’s four seniors — Teta, Diette, Schultz and Doug Ernst — who helped the Red to swim to four consecutive winning seasons.

“This is probably the best team we’ve had since I’ve been at Cornell,” Diette said. “Though I’m a little sad this is our last meet ever, I’m happy that I got a chance to leave on such a successful team.”

Archived article by Kristina Kovach
Sun Staff Writer