January 27, 2009

M., W. Swimming See Mixed Results

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The men’s and women’s swimming teams had a competitive weekend, matching up with Columbia for their last home meet. For both teams the meet was an important trial as Ivy Championships approach. The women’s team, having only one postseason meet, is focusing hard on doing well in these last few meets. The men have an extra week before they go to EISL championships, followed by NCAA championships for some of the top swimmers.
“We’re a team that beyond heroic swims from guys like Wes Newman are seeing every guy put out times he never thought was possible,” senior Phil Baity said. “It’s those swims that win us dual meets, and it’s those swims that are going to help us do well at Championships.”
The men were able to capture a solid victory in what has been a close meet in recent history. The men now extend their win streak to three and are hitting their stride going into the last month before Ivy League Championships. [img_assist|nid=34448|title=Breathe in, breathe out|desc=The men’s swim team came out on top in its last home meet of the season on Saturday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Baity capped his career at Teagle pool with an event win and setting the pool record in the 200 back. The team won 15 of the 16 events, pulling away with a dominant 167-122 victory. Up and comer freshman Michael Cai picked up two event wins, in addition to winning on the Red relay team.
“Michael Cai is really a standout freshman, and even now before Championships it wouldn’t be presumptive to say he’s one of the best breaststrokers the Ivy League has seen,” Baity said.
The women had the opposite result, taking a hard loss to Columbia, 189-111. The team hasn’t had much success winning league meets this season, but some of the fastest swimmers on the team did take away top-5 finishes. Senior Mary Cirella, swimming in her last meet at Teagle, had a solid performance. She finished second in two events, and capped a generally favorable showing by the team. The Red was only able to take two event wins on the women’s side, which really hurt its overall score for the meet.
“I think we put up a better performance than we did in years past, and I think that we can take away that year over year we are improving as a team,” Cirella said. “I can only see good things in the future for Cornell women’s swimming.”
The women still have high hopes of doing well at Ivy League Championships. They have known all season that it would be tough for them to create a win against teams that tend to be deeper and more competitive. The team is definitely in a building phase, having a lot of young and fast swimmers who are still getting used to college swimming. The team should have a decent contingent at Ivy League Championships, and though they may not be the best swimmers in the league, they may be able to put up a fight.
“The best part about Championships is the format,” Cirella said. “There are only 17 swimmers from the team, and each swimmer doesn’t have to worry about swimming multiple events on a day, so you can really focus on your event.”
Both teams finish their regular season against Brown in Rhode Island. The men’s team is looking to rack up yet another meet win, and the women should be looking to continue to improve their personal records going into the final meet of the season. As it stands, at Ivy League Championships each individual will be on their own, and many of Cornell’s finest should be in the hunt for a place on the medal stand.
“This is a team that has more unity than in past years, and I think that going into the end of the season that has really helped us,” Baity said. “We definitely try to spread the idea that anybody can have a great day any day, and it has really shown this season.”