The Cornell women’s swimming and diving team is ready for its final battle of the season starting Thursday at the Ivy League championships at Harvard. Snapping a 13-game conference losing streak its last time in the water against rival Brown two weeks ago, the women (2-6, 1-6 Ivy League) enter the finals with momentum and confidence, “All year we have been training for championships, and building momentum along the way,” according to senior diver Kate Lynch. “We ended our regular season with a very exciting win at home over Brown. The team is looking to keep in the same mindset, and go into championships and perform with the same intensity.”
The three-day event is the culmination of a season defined by ups and downs. The Red started off poorly and struggled to adjust to a new training regimen implemented this year. However, it finished strong, winning the Ithaca Invitational, defeating a tough Colgate team and cruising against Brown on Senior Day at Teagle Pool.
“We are excited about the meet and feel the team is ready to perform well in both the pool and on the boards,” said head coach Joe Lucia. “Each person has the ability and we as a team will be thrilled to have that type of team performance.”
Lucia noted the importance that the divers will have in the outcome of the championship. Lynch led a strong and consistent team of divers in the 2011-12 campaign, he said. Lynch scored a win in the one-meter boards in the meet against Colgate and was part of a top four Red sweep of the one-meter board against Brown. Lynch is the only senior divers that include standout sophomores Bianca and Manita Herlitz-Ferguson. Manita has perhaps been the Red’s most reliable diver as she placed first in the three-meter boards against Penn, Princeton and Brown and led the complete sweep of the one-meter board against the Bears.
Lucia also noted the specific performances of freshmen swimmers Meredith Drummond and Monica Patterson. Drummond has had an exceptional first year, Lucia said. winning the 200 fly and 200 IM against Brown. She has also scored wins in other events throughout the year against Penn, Princeton and Colgate.
When looking ahead to this weekend’s competition, Lynch reflected on the significance this meet will have for the seniors.
“For the seniors, Ivies will be especially memorable, as it is the last meet of our career and our last chance to compete for Cornell,” Lynch said.
For the three other senior captains of the team, Sadie Ellison, Emily Dean and Chiara Spinazzola, the Ivies will mark the end of four great years. In 2010, Spinazzola set an Ivy League and school record in the 100 back at the Ivies, winning the title. She also set a school record in the 100 fly that year. Last season, the Red posted its second-highest point total in school history with 730. It finished seventh in the championship.
Cornell is optimistic that it can improve upon last year and knows that each swimmer will give their best efforts.
“I know it sounds like a cliché but very honestly I expect the entire team to perform life time best swims,” Lucia said.
The championships run from Thursday to Saturday at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool. The only other three-day event this season was the Ithaca Invitational, which Cornell won.
Original Author: Scott Eckl