January 28, 2008

Men Win in Tight Contest; Women Fall

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It was a day of mixed results for the men’s and women’s swimming teams. In a tense contest Saturday, the men squeaked by with a 153-147 win over rival Columbia, while the women ultimately fell to the Lions 188.5-106.5.
The meet was held at Columbia’s Uris Swim Center during the Lion’s alumni weekend in front of a packed stadium.
The men (5-4) entered the last event of the day a mere three points ahead of the Lions, winning the meet by a close six-point margin.
The 400-meter relay team, consisting of seniors Wes Newman and Brad Gorter and juniors Kevin Carey and Jackson Wang earned the deciding points for the Red. They finished the event in 3:02.86, bringing home the win for the Red.
“We knew going in that it would be a very close meet, “ Newman said. “To win a close meet like that, you really need everyone on the team to step up and race. “
The Red has been evenly matched up against the Lions for the past few years, but the team attributed its success on Saturday to performances from many different swimmers on the team. Seasoned members including junior Phil Baity, Gorter and Newman played crucial roles throughout. Baity placed first in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 51.45 and 200-meter backstroke with a time of 1:52.7.
Gorter came in first in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 20.21 seconds. Besides his strong performance in the 400-meter relay, Newman also walked away with a first place finish in the 200-meter freestyle, swimming it in 1:40.17.
Freshmen Dean Holcomb, Chris Keady, Ilya Brotzky and Ankey Fog also contributed to the team’s success, with Brotzky performing well in the 200-meter fly and 200-meter backstroke events.
“The freshmen really stepped up at this meet, they were gutsy, “ Newman said.
The Lions suffered this year from the graduation of their top diver. The Red was able to sweep the diving events on Saturday, finishing in top-4 spots on the 1- and 3-meter boards. Junior Chris Donohoe and freshman Mike Sheppard both took first place honors for Cornell.
“The biggest challenge was staying focused throughout the entire meet, and I think our team did a great job doing that [Saturday], “ Newman said. “Everyone competed really well. “
The women (2-7) swam a much less competitive meet than the men, losing to the Lions by a lopsided 188.5-106.5. The Red was only able to place among the top-2 places in four of the sixteen events. Senior Leah Tourtellotte and freshman Madi McConnell earned Cornell’s only first-place finishes. Tourtellotte finished first in the 200-meter medley with a time of 2:10.98 and McConnell beat out the Lion’s Katie Omstead by .09 seconds to take first in the 200-meter backstroke.
The loss extended the women’s losing streak to four meets.