While both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are headed to New York City this weekend, they are playing very different tunes. The men will look to extend their season-high five-match win streak, while the women will seek to end a two-match skid.
“We have just been keeping on the same game plan we had at the beginning of the year. We are able to focus on each meet individually. We are focused on Columbia, and that’s all we are focused on. The training is always the same, but the mental aspect is very important too,” said senior captain Stefano Caprara.
The men will face off against Ivy League rival Columbia (6-0) tomorrow. Columbia has a winning streak of its own, having won seven straight matches dating back to last season. The Lions will have a chance to stretch that streak to eight at Rutgers today before taking on the Red tomorrow.
“They are undefeated this year. We’re going to go into it just like any other meet, and we think we’re confident we can pull it out. They are a very good team, and we are going to have to step it up,” Caprara said.
In the Red’s last match, against Colgate on Jan. 21, it demolished the Red Raiders 195.5-100.5, and captured first place in 13-of-6 events. Freshman Wesley Newman had a huge day for the Red, winning the 100-yard free style by over half a second, and contributing a solid effort in a second-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay. Another Cornell group posted a win in this relay, as juniors Mike Balint, Dave McKechnie, Brad Newman and Braden Orr finished at the head of the pack.
In diving, the Red will be led by junior Luke Baer and freshman Chris Donohoe.
The women will face squads from both Columbia and Brown this weekend. This competition promises to be a challenge, as the Lions and the Bears feature two of the stronger Ivy sides.
“We know going in, that if we can keep it close, we have had a great meet. We are going to be swimming some events we don’t normally swim, like the 400 IM. I’m going to give them a chance to get more prepared for the Ivies,” said head coach John Holohan.
The last time the Red was in the water, it suffered a defeat by the slimmest of margins, 151-149, on the road against Colgate. After trailing by 22 points with just four events to go, the Red mounted a valiant comeback, but fell just short.
Senior Jessica Brookman’s win in the 100-yard butterfly, senior Kristin Raychack’s victory on the three-meter diving board and sophomore Leah Tourtellotte’s victory in the 200-yard individual medley kicked off the comeback and gave the Red a fighting chance, but Cornell was unable to seal the deal.
Holohan expects his squad to come out hustling after such a close meet.
“I think they will be fine. They were a little flat early in the week. Colgate was a little stronger than in the past. We knew it would be a tough meet. They were a little down, as they should be after a close race,” Holohan said.
After this weekend, the Red has one more regular season meet against Buffalo, followed by the season-ending Ivy championships, which begin Feb. 23.
“The team looks good. We are about 30 days out from the Ivies, and we need to work hard while keeping them in shape,” Holohan said.
Archived article by Jeremy Drucker
Sun Staff Writer