January 22, 2007

Swimming Splits Decision with 'Gate

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It was business as usual for the Red’s swimming and diving teams on Saturday as the men chalked up another win over Colgate (163-114), extending their undefeated record to 9-0, while the women showed steady improvement in a loss (170.5-129.5) to the competitive Raiders.
“The meet against Colgate was just a good way to judge where we were in the season,” senior co-captain Kristin Conway said. “We got to see if we had to switch things up in the events for the upcoming championships in a couple of weeks.”
While using the meet primarily as an opportunity to allow swimmers to compete in different events, the women still claimed three individual event victories.
Junior co-captain Leah Tourtellotte captured back-to-back wins in the 100 fly (56.99) and 200 IM (2:09.91) with just five minutes rest between races. The 100 fly was one of the Red’s strongest events of the day, with freshman JC Sheppard (1:01.05) and junior Nicole Tariverdian (1:01.81) following in third and fourth. Rookie Danielle Visco was runner-up in the 200 IM with a time of 2:14.39.
Tourtellotte also sprinted to a second place finish in the 50 free (24.65), failing to capture first by just .06 seconds.
First-year Laura Acchione continued to prove herself this season with a win in the 1000 free (10:49.53). Freshman Heidi Judd (11:02.69) and sophomore Katie Gryka (11:22.35) added points to the Red’s score by taking fourth and fifth. Acchione and freshman Emily Caras also went 2-3 in the 200 fly with times of 2:14.73 and 2:17.90.
“Everyone stepped it up this weekend,” Conway said. “The only thing we really lack is depth. Right now we have just barely a full meet lineup, but that’ll fix itself as we go along.”
The men’s team, however, has a full meet lineup and then some. The Red showed its depth and versatility this weekend by mixing up its lineup and still winning 14-of-16 events.
Head coach Joe Lucia merrily instigated intra-team rivalry by racing the relay teams against one another by class.
“We tried to add something to the competition in those events,” Lucia said. “Everyone wanted to win for their class; it made the meet a fun situation.”
The Red went 1-2-3 in the 200 medley relay, with sophomores Phil Baity, Ryan McCreery, Wes Newman, and Jackson Wang placing first (1:35.77), followed by senior co-captain Brad Newman and his classmates Rich Bowen, Dave McKechnie and Braden Orr (1:29.12). Freshmen Max Royster, Nick Campbell, Ryan Boyle and Colin Laren closely followed the upperclassmen (1:37.77). The sophomores again beat the seniors and freshmen in the final event of the meet, the 400 free relay.
Senior co-captain Mike Smit touched the wall first in the 400 IM (3:56.88), breaking the school record by more than three seconds. Junior Nick Oates took second place in the event (4:12.64).
“Mike’s swim in the 400 IM was possibly the best dual-meet swim I’ve seen,” Lucia said. “Our guys couldn’t get past the four-minute barrier, and he shattered it. It was really something special.”
Smit also won the 200 breast (2:08.77), beating runner-up McCreery by 11 seconds (2:19.78), with junior Thomas Tredennick in fifth (2:28.00).
Junior Brad Gorter claimed a win in the 200 free (1:42.34), with sophomore Nick Cochran (1:46.14) and freshman Alex Dobrolioubov (1:46.72) in second and third. Gorter, normally a freestyle sprinter, later posted the fastest time in the 500 free (4:49.95), which was raced as exhibition since the Red had already clinched the victory.
Wes Newman won two events in the meet, taking top honors in the 50 free (21.24) and the 200 back (1:49.69). Orr finished second in the 50 free with a time of 21.75.
In the 200 fly, Brad Newman (2:00.36) and Wang (2:02.06) claimed the top-2 places for the Red, while McKechnie (52.80), Newman (54.12), and Bowen (54.96) went 1-2-3 as exhibition in the 100 IM.
Senior Luke Baer, sophomore Chris Donohoe, and freshman Eby Alaric went 1-2-3 and 1-2-4 in the 3-meter and 1-meter diving contests.
“The divers have really been coming on strong,” Lucia said. “They stood up at Yale for us, and this meet they dove well. It’ll be critical that they do well against Columbia.”
With a pristine 9-0 record to take care of, the men’s team has one thing in mind: winning the Ivy League title outright for the first time in Cornell history on Friday at 4 p.m. in Teagle Pool against Columbia.
“It’s easy to stay focused now, since so much is at stake,” Lucia said. “To be dead honest, we’re not changing things up a lot. The plan we’ve been sticking to has been working; we’ve never put all our eggs in one basket. All the guys have proven their mental and physical ability, and we just have to do it again on Friday.”