March 12, 2012

SWIMMING | Cornell Places Last at Ivies

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Although, record-wise, the season might appear less than successful, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams reflected on the 2011-12 campaign in a positive light. The men (1-7, 0-7 Ivy League) and the women (2-6, 1-6) continued to fight throughout the season, despite poor records, giving strong performances at the final race of the season — the Ivy League Championships. Both teams placed last; however, in the men’s meet 15 of the Red’s 19 swimmers set personal bests and in the women’s meet four school records were broken — three by freshman Meredith Drummond.

Drummond broke the school records in the 200 and 400 IM races, as well as the 200 breaststroke at the Ivies. Junior Jessie Holley has just broke her own Cornell record in the 200 breast prior to Drummond’s swim; however, she was later surpassed by Drummond by nearly two seconds. Despite the multiple record-breaking efforts, the women failed to overtake Brown — who the Red defeated in the regular season dual-meet action — for seventh place.

“We had some good signs in the second half of the year after beating Colgate and Brown,” said head coach Joe Lucia. “We just did not have the kind of depth you need in the league.”

Lucia also noted that he is positive regarding how the team performed and handled themselves throughout the year, emphasizing that he believes improvements can be made.

“I am still positive about the team, but it is our job, as coaches, to get our team to a higher level,” Lucia said. “It was a good experience to learn and find out where we have to go as a team.”

Lucia shared a similarly positive outlook on the men’s season, even though they had one of the worst seasons in recent history.

“I do not have any negative things to say about anyone on the team,” Lucia said. “It comes down to one word — recruitment. I have to address that as the head coach and improve on what kind of talent we are bringing in.”

According to Lucia, the men have never finished in last place at the Ivy League Championships nor have they gone winless in a season for over 40 years. Only one school record was set this year at the Ivies by sophomore Phillip Truong in the 3-meter boards. Sophomore Harry Harpham was the only Red swimmer to advance to a final in the three day meet in the 200 butterfly. Lucia noted that he thought Harpham was one of the most consistent swimmers all year.

“The league got really fast this year,” said senior Julian Chan. “I do not think there were a lot of problems with the team, but I think the competitiveness in the league was extremely high, revealing the great depth in the Ivy League.”

“We are not going to turn it all around next year,” Lucia said. “There is a good foundation and a good work ethic among the base of guys returning next year. I feel we can make strides forward. We are at a bad point right now and we just have to work out of it.”

Some of the men who stepped up this season, including Truong, Harpham, freshman Eric May and sophomore Henry Scott, will assume leadership roles for next year. The Red will lose seven seniors, including Jake Sangren and Kevin Brazitis, who have had four years filled with consistent and successful performances for the Red.

“I am really excited for the team next year,” Chan said. “I am confident in the recruits coming up and in the leadership abilities of some of the younger swimmers. This season was a good learning experience and the only way to go is up.”

Over 240 days remain until the next swimming season begins, then the Red will test its talent against the highly competitive teams in the Ivy League once again.

Original Author: Scott Eckl