Coming off a big 157-143 win against Columbia two Saturdays ago, the men’s swimming team (7-2, 5-2 EISL) has been enjoying a much-appreciated bye week, as the team has been resting up before heading into the season’s final stretch.
The swimmers have been one of the hottest teams around campus, having won their last six meets, and eight of their last nine.
“Things have fell together pretty well for us. The meet with Columbia pushed us over the edge. We came up big on some real big swims. It was a real swing meet for us,” said head coach Joe Lucia.
Lucia, an 18-year coaching veteran at Cornell, has been an integral part of the team’s success this season, according to the members of his team.
“Coach really keeps us in the right mindset. He puts a lot of confidence in us, like last time at Columbia, and he puts us in the right mindset to win,” said senior co-captain Stefano Caprara.
Lucia, however, is eager to deflect praise to his swimmers and assistant coaches.
“It has been a very fun group of guys to coach. They are very focused, and it makes it easier for us to work with them. They are hard-working, and come in with the right mindset. [Men’s diving coach] Rick [Gilbert] and [assistant coach] Robin [Dyer] do a great job as well,” Lucia said. “[Junior] Brad Newman, a guy who hasn’t gotten that much press, won the 100-fly. [Junior] Mike Smit and Stefano Caprara have been huge all year.”
Since dropping a meet to Princeton back on Nov. 18, 2005, the Red has reeled off consecutive wins against Penn, Binghamton, Yale, Navy, Colgate and Columbia. Cornell has yet to lose at home this season, posting a 3-0 record in the friendly confines of Teagle Hall. The Red will put these streaks on the line this Saturday, when it will host Brown at noon. After the Brown meet, the Red will next see action in the EISL championships, running from Mar. 2-4.
“We will start resting after the Brown meet, getting ready for the championship. Brown is a dangerous team, and they can give us a great meet. We will have to be on our game,” Lucia said.
The Red knows its season is far from over, and that it will need to maintain its current intensity into the final weeks of the season.
“I honestly think this starts from the first day of practice; being competitive, tough, and keeping your focus.
“For example, at the Columbia meet, they got off to a great start, but we showed our character and poise. We have had a winning mentality and the confidence to succeed, and we have that confidence right now,” Lucia said.
Archived article by Jeremy Drucker Sun Staff Writer