November 9, 2007

Swimming Squads Start Against Harvard, Dartmouth

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The men’s and women’s swimming teams dive into action this weekend for their first dual meets of the season. Both squads will be competing against Harvard and Dartmouth at Dartmouth, with the men swimming today and the women swimming tomorrow. The players said Harvard will present the biggest challenge.
The men’s team begins its season following what was possibly the best season in Cornell history.
“I think we have the core of a very good team,” said Lucia. “This team has its own identity.”
Following the loss of 12 strong senior swimmers last year, the upperclassmen will set the tone this year. The Red has only three seniors this year, but a deep lineup of junior and sophomore men who will have their chance to step up. Swimmers who are expected to lead the way this weekend include senior tri-captain Brad Gorter, who will be relied on in sprints, junior Phil Balty who’s strong in the backstroke, and junior co-captain Wes Newman, who swims multiple events.
“Harvard has a very strong team every year,” Gorter said. “We still have a strong team and we’re going to see how well we can match up.”
The diving squad has two men returning this year, as well as the addition of three freshman recruits and a new diving coach. Junior Chris Donohoe is expected to lead the diving team this year, and is also expected to be one of the top performers in the league.
“Harvard and Princeton are the deepest teams in the league,” Lucia said. “We should beat Dartmouth, and Harvard will be a huge challenge.”
However, the Red is confident about its performance today following a strong preseason of training.
“Our main focus [today] is definitely Harvard,” Gorter said. “We did beat them last year and we almost beat them the year before, so it’ll be a very competitive meet.”
“I think the team is ready. It’s just a question of how we stack up against Harvard,” Lucia said. “It’s just a matter of everyone performing their absolute best.”
The women’s team, however, returns from a disappointing past season. With the addition of a strong freshmen team, the Red are hoping to be more competitive this year.
“One of our goals is to beat Dartmouth,” said senior Leah Tourtellotte. “This year, the competition feels a lot more even.”
Cornell competes in dual meets against Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend at Dartmouth. While Cornell lost to Dartmouth last year, the competition at this year’s meet against is expected to be more closely matched according Cornell.
“This is an Ivy meet we have a chance to be very competitive in,” said coach John Holohan. “They’re [the team] going to go in there and give it the best shot they have. It’s just a question of whether or not we have enough firepower.”
Holohan mentioned that the meet will still offer good competition for the team’s stronger swimmers.
“We want to do the best we can against Harvard, see if we can win a few races and be competitive,” Holohan said.