March 3, 2009

Women’s Swimming Ends Season With Strong Individual Results

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The women’s swimming and diving team ended their season at the Ivy League Championship meet this past weekend against their Ancient Eight foes. The Red finished last amongst the competition. Harvard won the season-ending meet with a score of 1583.5.
The Red had some solid performances throughout the three-day meet, performing far better than it had in past years. Primarily due to a strong freshman class, which was able to provide some knockout performances under pressure, the Red was able to overcome a lack of experience in the pool.
“When you looked at the leader board at the end of the night you saw a lot of freshman and sophomores standing up there, and that’s really the future of this team,” said senior Mary Cirella.
Freshman Chiara Spinazzola, a swimmer who broke well toward the end of the season, showed some in-the-clutch talent, picking up solid swims on all three days. Spinazzola led the 400-meter free relay to a solid time of 53.66. [img_assist|nid=35709|title=Pick me!|desc=The women exceeded past precedent in terms of individual achievement at the Ivy meet.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The Ivy League has been taken over by large freshman recruiting classes and for the first time in recent history, Princeton was ranked No. 25 in the national rankings, the highest ranking of a non-scholarship program in decades.
“The Ivy league has been getting a lot faster in recent years with each recruiting class better than the next,” Cirella said.
As seen since the beginning of the season, this young team has had troubles putting a high number of points on the board. However, as time goes on hopefully the team will continue to grow. The large freshman and sophomore classes represent a rejuvenation of women’s aquatics at Cornell. Many of the top swimmers on the team right now still have two to three years before they graduate, and few have truly hit their prime.
“I have seen the intermediary period for this program, and I feel as each class gets faster we may see a surge in this program’s ability to compete against the top teams,” Cirella said. “The upper classmen have done their best to instill a work ethic in this team, and a desire to push this team to compete at a higher level. I may not have been the fastest member of this team, but I learned how to work hard and get better.”
The Red has great potential to rise against its Ivy foes in the years to come as the young team develops. Though the Red failed to win a league meet this season, it has made steady strides towards achieving more top-5 finishes and faster times.