November 21, 2011

SWIMMING | Ivy Foes Dominate Weekend

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The men’s and women’s swimming teams were blown out of the water against perennial Ivy League champion Princeton, and did not fair much better against conference foe Penn in the Red’s second consecutive losing road weekend to open the season.

Cornell suffered losses on all fronts Saturday, falling to the Tigers and Quakers by wide margins in the three-team meet. The men’s squad (0-4, 0-4 Ivy League) was defeated handily by Princeton (2-0, 2-0), 192-88, but was more competitive against Penn (2-2, 1-2) in another loss, 179.5-101.5. The women (0-4, 0-4) did not come as close against the Tigers (2-0, 2-0), 180.5-99.5, and Penn (1-1, 1-1), 189.5-91.5.

“It was a tough day on both ends,” said head coach Joe Lucia. “[Penn] got off to an early start and carried the momentum throughout the meet. We competed hard, but overall we just got out-swam.”

Despite the blowout defeats, the Red enjoyed a few stand-out individual performances that it can use to look forward toward a brighter future. Lucia mentioned freshman Eric May, who won the 200 yard individual medley, and senior Jake Sangren, who won the 100 yard backstroke against Penn, as two of the squad’s strongest performers from the tough weekend.

“The team never gave up, despite being down early to Penn,” Lucia said. “I thought we were ready, but overall they fought well and did the best they could.”

Against Penn on the women’s side the Red won four events including a 1-2 finish in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke. Junior Jessie Holley won both of those events with sophomore Kim Jerome placing second in the 100-yard and freshman Meredith Drummond placing second in the 200-yard. Drummond also won the 200 yard individual medley.

Sophomore Manita Herlitz-Ferguson placed first overall in the three-meter dive with freshman Grace Greenwood and sophomore Bianca Herlitz-Ferguson combining to sweep Penn the Top-3 spots in the event.

“Penn just swam much faster than what we had anticipated,” senior captain Sadie Ellison said. “It was a tough loss and we still have a lot of work to do if we want to swim well at the Ivy League championships at the end of the year.”

Ellison noted the strong performances of Holley and Drummond, adding that the team improved its swimming in the second half of the meet.

Lucia also recognized improvement in the women’s squad’s performance.

“On the women’s side, we have made big strides forward in competitiveness, attitude and toughness. I think it is just disappointing when you get beat by your rival like that.”

With wins against Cornell and Penn, Princeton continues its dominance in the Ivy League starting the 2011-12 campaign without a blemish on its record.

Penn split the meet, defeating the Red, but losing to Princeton, 168-112. The Quakers also fell to Ancient Eight rival Columbia earlier in the season.

After enjoying a restful Thanksgiving break, the Red hits the pool again on Dec. 2 when it travels across town to compete in the new three-day Ithaca College meet.

Original Author: Scott Eckl