February 1, 2012

SWIMMING | Red Will Face Brown in Seniors’ Last Meet

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The swimming teams will honor their seniors in Cornell’s first and only home meet of the year on Saturday, Feb. 4, against Brown. Both the men’s and women’s teams have identical records entering play this weekend (1-6, 0-6 Ivy League) in their final tune up before the Ivy League championships later this month.

“There is no doubt that this has been a challenging year,” said head coach Joe Lucia. “But everyone on the team and the coaching staff remains positive. I am really proud of the team because they have not given in and they have stayed focused throughout the season.”

According to Lucia, both sides have a strong chance to swim well and come out with a win against Brown.

“On the men’s side they have three or four significant guys that could pose a problem for us,” he said. “On the women’s side they are strong where we are strong — mainly in the breaststroke and relays. Our distance swimmers really have to step up and take advantage of some of their weaknesses. I think we definitely have a chance and there is no doubt we will be ready.”

The Red will honor its seven male seniors at the Teagle Pool prior to the meet. The seven athletes — Eric Anderson, Julian Chan, Kevin Brazitis, James Keady, Jake Sangren, Steven Kwartler and Zac Mijares-Shafai — will be recognized for their four years of service to Cornell.

“I think it is important for our team, especially the seniors, to perform well in front of our home fans,” Chan said. “I think we do get a slight advantage by being home because we are used to the surroundings and we should have a big crowd.”

Chan echoed Lucia’s sentiments on how the team has kept fighting and has remained focused despite its struggles.

“It has been a tough season,” he said. “But we definitely have not given up and we have been working hard all season to swim well at the Ivies.”

According to Chan, the Bears are evenly matched with the Red, but that Cornell will win withconsistent and collective effort out of each swimmer is an important key for victory.

The Red will also recognize four female senior athletes — Emily Dean, Sadie Ellison, Mary-Kate Lynch and Chiara Spinazzola — prior to Saturday’s meet. Ellison hopes that the Red can get off to a hot start, beginning with the 200 medley relay and distance races.

“It is going to be exciting to play Brown for our last meet,” Ellison said. “We have a real chance at beating them because I think it is the most evenly matched meet we have had all year. I think the important thing is that we must remain strong in the events that have carried us all year such as the 200 medley and the breaststroke.”

Ellison highlighted the fact that the breaststroke races have been the most consistent and most successful part of the women’s season. Junior Jessie Holley and sophomore Kim Jerome have been the star performers who have carried the Red in those particular races, according to Ellison.

Chan and Ellison noted the importance of their final home meet at Cornell and reflected back on their experience as a student athlete for the team.

“It has definitely been a really great experience,” Chan said. “I have met the best people and looking back it was definitely worth it. The ups and downs of the season and the commitment to teamwork really helps you learn to develop discipline and mature as a person.”

“It is surreal that it is my last meet after four years,” Ellison said. “We have worked really hard this season, but we have not been able to show that in our meets. But going into the weekend for our first home meet and the fact that we are rested should give us some momentum.”

Original Author: Scott Eckl