January 26, 2010

Swimmers See Mixed Results in Early Season Competition

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The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams saw mixed results over the break, competing against Yale, Colgate and Columbia. The men (6-2, 4-2 Ivy) looked in midseason form, sweeping all three contests, while the women (2-6, 1-5 Ivy) still struggled to put points on the board, falling in all three matches.

Despite some improved times, the women’s team still fell to undefeated Yale, 203-97. Sophomore Chiara Spinazzola contributed one of only two Red victories on the day, winning the 100 back (57.47) and contributing to a victory in the 400 free relay along with freshman Ali Guba, senior Emily Caras and senior captain Laura Acchione (3:34.53). The women followed up with a better performance against Colgate, but lost in a tight 156-144 contest. Spinazzola again led the way by taking first in both the 100 back (57.37) and 100 IM (58.58), while Guba touched first in the 50 free (24.78), freshman Jessie Holley in the 100 breast (1:07.54) and freshman Sarah Icke in the 200 free (1:55.96). Sophomore Emily Dean won the 100 back (59.12) with a .08 win over Columbia’s Delghi Urbshurow, and then out-touched her by .01 in the 200 back (2:06.67) in the women’s final meet of the break. Spinazzola won the 100 fly (56.73). However, despite its best efforts, the Red fell again, 179-121.

In spite of these setbacks, the Red remains confident that the team can build upon improving its times.

“I think that the team has made great progress and we are learning better how to compete,” Acchione said. “For example, the Colgate meet came down to the last relay, and we almost beat them which was very exciting, especially since they are the Patriot League champions.”

On the other hand, the men opened the new year by capturing a hard-fought 169-131 victory against the Bulldogs and followed it up with a dominating 193-100 win at Colgate and a tight 152-148 win against Columbia. Junior Dean Holcomb, sophomore James Keady and sophomore standout Michael Cai led the Red with fantastic performances throughout the break.

Holcomb, coming on strong as of late, captured the 200 and 500 free against Yale and Columbia, with times of 1:41.59 and 4:38.77. Holcomb also notched wins in the 100 free (47.07) and the 100 IM (54.22) against Colgate while also securing a win in the 200 fly (1:52.08) against Columbia. Keady led a 1-2-3 sweep of the 50 free in 21.44 at Yale and took home first in the 100 fly (50.95) at Columbia. Cai, a top contributor all season, won the 100 and 200 breast and 200 IM against Yale and Columbia, with times of 56.00, 2:04.38 and 1:50.73, respectively. He also won the 400 IM (4:00.91) and the 500 free (4:49.85) at Colgate. Also contributing first-place performances were junior Chris Keady, freshman Jake Sangren and Dobrolioubov, among others.

The Red will have one more opportunity to fine-tune before the all-important Ivy League Championships. The women’s race will be held from Feb. 25-27 at Harvard, while the men’s championship will take place at Princeton from March 3-6.

“At this point in the season, it’s important to stay focused and not get caught up in the moment of recent success,” Dobrolioubov said. “We have to keep training hard in the pool and weight room in order to make sure we peak at the right time for Championships.”

The women look to replicate the men’s recent success with a win of their own.

“Our team has been working really hard, especially during the winter intersession and on our training trip,” Acchione said. “We are looking forward to both the Brown meet and Ivy League Championships, where we hope to be very competitive as well as win the key races and move up in the Ivy League.”

Original Author: Jimmy Xi