March 15, 2005

Swimming Season Ends

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The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams each enjoyed one of the best seasons in Cornell’s recent past. Both squads accomplished many of the goals they set from the beginning of the year and have improved tremendously in speed and technique. The swimmers are now taking a well-deserved break from the blocks, but they look forward to next year to build upon their success.

“I am very proud of this group and happy for them that they could achieve so many of their team and individual goals,” said men’s head Coach Joe Lucia. “This team was a special group that accomplished a great deal.”

Both the men and women performed exceptionally well at the EISL and Ivy League championships, respectively. The men took fifth place overall and the women finished seventh, with a number of the swimmers scoring at least one lifetime-best performance.

Some of the highlights from the women’s meet were junior Jessica Brookman’s first-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle and senior Stephanie Kusko’s triumph in the 200-yard butterfly. Freshman Emilie Rennie also had a solid finish in the mile swim.

“The Ivies was very surprising,” said freshman Leah Tourtellotte. “It was very much a team effort for everyone to swim as fast as possible. The Ivies proved that we have improved drastically; now we’re starting to sneak up on the other schools.”

The women’s relay team also posted an impressive conclusion to its season. The women scored a new-school record in the 400-medley relay. According to Tourtellotte, the relay teams really pulled the women together.

“It’s so fun to race as a team effort. I remember coming out of my turn in the 200-free relay only to hear a blurred mass of screaming,” said Tourtellotte. “It was quite motivating to race when you know your team is supporting and depending on you.”

Junior diver Kristin Rayhack was also successful at the Ivies, securing two third-place wins in the 3-meter and 1-meter boards. For both of these events, Rayhack competed against 23 other Ivy League divers.

Highlights from the men’s meet include sophomore Dave McKechnie’s victory in in the 200-yard breaststroke and junior captain Stefano Caprara’s second-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke.

The Red’s 400-meter free relay team also placed third overall, which was crucial to the men’s fifth-place overall finish.

Coach Lucia is very pleased with how far the men have come this year. According to Lucia, the men gained a lot of confidence and toughness due to their performances in the dual meets this season. The men won four very close meets during the dual meet season, which gave them an 8-2 overall record and a 6-2 record in the Ivy League. They also defeated Patriot League champion Navy in both a dual meet and at the championship meet.

“We have had other teams who have finished as high in the standings, but I don’t think any team has had the overall performance that this group did,” said Lucia.

The Red’s successful season seems to have motivated both the men and women to continue to work hard for next year. This season’s results show that they are not far behind the very top teams in the league.

“The team came together as a team and supported each other all season,” said women’s head coach John Holohan. “We all are looking forward to next year.”

Archived article by Kristen Schneider
Sun Staff Writer