After mixed results in their opening meets at Harvard, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will be in action again this weekend at Princeton. They will be squaring off in a dual meet against Penn and the hosts.
Men’s head coach Joe Lucia can’t wait for this weekend’s meet after defeating Dartmouth and nearly upsetting last year’s EISL champs, Harvard. The team has looked strong in practice all week and the Red is keenly focused on taking down Penn and Princeton.
“Penn has been our big rival for years and years,” Lucia said. “We’ve beaten them the past four or five years, so I’m afraid that the rivalry has lost its luster. But we won’t lose focus on them this weekend. We want to whomp on them.”
Last weekend, the strategy was to surprise Harvard since the Red is not usually thought of as one of the powerhouses in the EISL.
“I thought we could catch Harvard a little off-guard, but they came back in championship form to pull out the win,” Lucia said. “We’re not going to catch Princeton off-guard. There’s a reason they’re undefeated in their pool and have won their last 80 home meets.”
Senior captain Stefano Caprara echoed Lucia’s sentiments.
“Princeton has seen the scores. They’ll be ready to go and it should be a great meet,” Caprara said.
Lucia is going to stick with the same lineup that won the 200-meter medley relay last weekend. This includes Caprara, junior Dave McKechnie, junior Brad Newman, and sophomore Brad Gorter. This weekend’s relay will be 400 meters instead of 200 meters, but Lucia doesn’t see the change phasing his boys.
“Princeton is always a real balanced team. They’ll be really competitive all around,” Lucia said. “So do we have a chance? Yeah, we have a chance. We’d need to catch a few breaks from them and we’d need to swim the meet of our lives.”
The women’s team is more modest in its goals for this weekend’s meet at Princeton. Coming off of losses to Dartmouth and Harvard last weekend, the team knows that it can swim better.
“This weekend, our goal isn’t necessarily winning, but it’s about improving as a team,” senior captain Ashleigh Walker said. “It’s the details we need to work on to improve and then we’ll really see results as a team.”
The Red has been working on those details in practice this week and is hoping that its hard work will fix the mistakes of last weekend.
“There’s always room to step up,” junior Kristen Conway said. “We need good starts and harder finishes. These kinds of problems happen early in the season and we just need to nip them in the bud soon.”
Overall, the team has been most focused on improving its relays. New assistant coach Gail Meakins has been helping to film meets and the Red swimmers have been working on fixing their form.
“We looked at film from our starts and we need to get off the blocks faster,” Walker said. “We need to be more confident to improve in the relays. They set the tone for the entire meet. A good relay gets everyone excited and pumped for the rest of the races.”
Archived article by Lance Polivy
Sun Staff Writer