January 19, 2007

W. Swimming Looks to Get Back on Track; Men Eye Title

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While many students are just starting to return to campus, the Red’s swimming and diving teams have been training hard during the break in preparation for this weekend’s meet at home against neighbor Colgate.

The women’s team went into the break on the heels of its first dual meet victory of the season against Binghamton, before falling to Navy and Yale at last weekend’s tri-meet in New Haven, Conn.

[img_assist|nid=20807|title=Fly away|desc=After finishing fourth at last year’s league championships, the men’s swimming and diving squad is focusing on resting swimmers while striving for a dual meet crown and an undefeated regular season.|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=61]

The Colgate women’s team is coming off a 2-1 record in January, with wins against Bucknell and Army and a loss to Penn.

The Cornell and Colgate women’s teams have traditionally been competitive with each another, as Cornell lost last year’s contest by only one point.

Senior co-captain Kristin Conway is hoping the Red’s recent rigorous training regimen will make the difference this year.

“We trained really hard over break and we are in really good shape,” Conway said.

Because of a recent shift in Colgate policy, however, the swim team is now allowed to offer multiple athletic scholarships, which has had a significant effect on its level of competition.

“Their team has gotten a lot faster, but we’ve always able to put up a good fight,” Conway said.

Women’s head coach John Holohan said he believes the Raiders to be as strong a team as Navy, which defeated Cornell 241-59.

“We’re going to go after them the best we can,” Holohan said. “But we’re going into the meet as pretty solid underdogs.”

Cornell has been weakened by recent injuries and illness that have resulted in the loss of the team’s top distance and backstroke swimmers.

Holohan, however, is not worried about the Red’s dual meet record. Instead, he is looking ahead to the Ivy championships at the end of the season.

“The dual meets are just a means to get ready for the Ivies,” Holohan said. “We use the meets as part of our training. The whole goal of the season is the championship meets. We have a great team and they’ve worked really hard. My job now is to make sure they are rested. They are swimming pretty tired, but our season’s actually about to start.”

The men are looking forward to the championship meet, but also want to focus on finishing the season undefeated and winning the Ivy League’s dual meet title.

To accomplish both objectives, the Red will have to beat Colgate and Columbia in its last meet of the season.

Since Cornell swept it’s tri-meet against Navy and Yale, it is assured of at least a share of the dual meet title. But a victory over Columbia would make Cornell the sole champions.

“Our main goal now is to beat Columbia and remain undefeated,” senior co-captain Brad Newman said. “We’d be the first Cornell team in history to take the title outright.”

Newman also said that the upcoming Colgate meet would be an opportunity to “mix up the roster a little and give some guys a chance to swim events they normally wouldn’t be able to compete in.”

Newman also said he thought Colgate could be characterized as a “friendly rivalry,” but that in the end, it should be a fairly easy Cornell victory.