This weekend, the women’s swimming and diving team effectively made a splash at the Ivy League championships, propelling itself to a solid fifth place finish overall. The fifth place effort was the Red’s best overall finish since the 1995-96 season.
In fact, the Red surpassed expectations in more ways than one, as it smashed the previous school record of 551 points in a meet and replaced it with a new record of 734 points.
Head coach Joe Lucia attributed much of the Red’s success to the leadership of the team’s seniors.
“The senior leadership of the team really makes the difference … especially during championships,” he said. “[The seniors] this year were fantastic leaders. It’s a combination of fast swimming and having the right attitude.”
The Red’s fifth overall finish was especially impressive considering that the Red was disqualified from its first event, the 200 free relay. With the ensuing loss of 52 points, the disqualification could have seriously put a damper on the Red’s ability to compete. However, the team fought back throughout all three days of competition, showing definite poise and determination.
“[After the disqualification], our coach pulled us aside and told us to just keep our heads up,” said senior co-captain Laura Acchione. “We knew that we had to stay positive … we knew that there were better things to come.”
And indeed there were; the Red went on to break four school records in relay events, which set the pace for Cornell.
In addition to the relays, the Red also set eight records in individual events. The new individual record holders include: sophomore Chiara Spinazzola (50 free, 100 back, and 100 fly), senior Emily Caras (200 free and 200 fly), freshman Jessie Holley (100 breast), junior Meg Farrington (200 back), and junior Juliann Rienecker (200 breast).
All in all, 16 swimmers and all three divers were able to add significant points to Cornell’s record-breaking point total.
“It was amazing — by far the best meet that any of us have ever been at,” Acchione said. “The atmosphere was great, and the girls were so excited…it really was inspiring.”
Lucia pointed out that with this year’s improved record, Cornell should be a more appealing choice for potential recruits.
“I feel this is a huge confidence booster,” he said. “Now we can go out and recruit and say that we are a school that swims fast times.”
Acchione also emphasized that the current team members will continue to grow and build upon this year’s foundation.
“Definitely, we’re going to keep improving,” she said. “We’ll get some great recruits coming in, and eventually we’ll move up even further in the Ivy League.”
Original Author: Hannah Fillas