November 14, 2008

Cornell Kicks Off Ivies With Green, Crimson

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The men’s and women’s swimming teams will dive into Ivy action this weekend with a meet against Dartmouth and Harvard. For the second straight year, the Red, Green and Crimson will start off their seasons competing against each other.
This season, both the men’s and women’s meets will be held in Cambridge. Dartmouth hosted the meet a year ago, in which both Crimson squads swept the Red and Green.
Cornell would like to overcome last year’s mediocre seasons with a strong showing this weekend.
The Red women, having gone 2-8 last year, will hope for youthful intervention — looking to their 13 freshman and 15 sophomores to step up this year. [img_assist|nid=33597|title=Float like a butterfly|desc=Cornell’s men’s team will be led by a trio of captains who all competed in the Olympic trials this summer.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“Our freshman and our sophomore classes are really big,” said sophomore Kathleen Hohwald. “I definitely think that they’ll be big scorers in our meet.”
The squad, heavy on underclassmen, hopes to have a better season from its two remaining seniors, Laura Luedke and Mary Cirella, as well as its three remaining juniors, Emily Caras, Laura Acchione and Jill Berlin.
“We definitely want to beat Dartmouth,” Hohwald said. “We’re going to try and beat Brown this year. Last year we didn’t do as well in the Ivies. So definitely our main focus this year is Ivies … last year we got eighth, so we want to improve on that.”
The men’s team, which was recently awarded the No. 10 spot on the prestigious Academic All-America team, will put away the glasses for the goggles this weekend. Senior co-captains Phil Baity and Wes Newman and junior Nick Campbell — all of whom competed in the Olympic trials this summer — will lead Cornell into the pool.
It will be a tough challenge for the Red this weekend. Harvard, last year’s Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League (EISL) title winner, has a strong core of swimmers coming back this year. The Crimson is the favorite to win the EISL again this year and is currently ranked No. 25 in the nation by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA)
“They’re the defending league champions,” said men’s head coach Joe Lucia. “They were the best team in the League last year. They’re always really good. They’re going to be a tough meet … I expect us to swim well in this meet. And I think were going to challenge them … we would need a break or two but I think were going to hang in there and pressure them.”
Lucia hopes that his team has matured since a tough season last year, in which the squad went 5-5.
“I am looking to see how tough they are.” Lucia said. “We talk about that. How you compete mentally … but the toughness, how we face the good times and the adversity. Cause you know your going to be in different situations both in this meet and throughout the year. And how they stand up to tough, tough mental pressure will be good. And I am confident in the team, but will see how it pans out this weekend.”