This weekend, Cornell’s swimming and diving team finally got the early season matchup that they’ve been waiting for: an Ivy League matchup. The Red’s men and women faced off against Dartmouth and Harvard in their first conference meet of the season, and in front of an excited home crowd at Teagle, both the men’s and women’s teams split the meet, beating Dartmouth but falling behind the Crimson.
The women’s team put in a great performance, thoroughly defeating Dartmouth by a 205-95 margin, and falling to Harvard by a closer 191-109 score. Cornell’s women managed to win four of 16 events during the meet behind strong performances by senior Jennifer Zhang, sophomore Micaela Luders, freshman Hannah Bollinger and senior Jenna Immormino. Immormino, now a captain on the swimming team, competed in the sprint events, winning the 50 and 100-yard freestyle races.
“The 500 freestyle was a strong event for us and Jenna Immormino really dropped the hammer in the sprint events,” women’s head coach Patrick Gallagher said. “However, individually, Jenn Zhang’s 200 butterfly was a race that still stands out.”
“I was happy with my individual performance,” Immormino said. “I felt strong considering the larger volume of training we’ve been doing, but there’s always room for improvement.
“I was really happy with the result this year,” Immormino said. “We came back even stronger in the second half of the meet, something that is very difficult to do going up against such a highly ranked team. It demonstrated that our girls don’t give up and that they approach each race with equal focus. That’s very inspiring to me even as a captain.”
Gallagher said he was also impressed by the team’s performances in the pool.
“Getting a win in this league always feels good regardless of the title,” Gallagher said. “I am very pleased with how the team fought on Friday and Saturday.”
The meet marked the first time the team has competed against other Ivies this season, and was a pivotal contest for the Red to see how they stack up against their rivals.
“We are continually looking to improve and peak our season at Ivy League Championships,” Gallagher said. “Prior to intercession training, this week and last will be some of the heaviest work we put in all season. The fact that we were able to come out and swim fast under those conditions bodes well for February.”
On the men’s side of the meet, the Red garnered similar results in the meet, beating Dartmouth 183-117 but losing to Harvard 188.5-106.5.
“We feel very strong about our performance this past weekend,” said men’s head coach Wes Newman. “The team raced hard and are in a good position for this stage in the season. Our focus this year is to continue to build on each performance and improve every time we race.”
Some of the standout performances by the men included senior captain Victor Luo’s victories over both the Crimson and Green in both the 100 and 200 breast stroke events. Sophomore Kevin Ma proved equally impressive, earning first place win in the 100 freestyle.
“For me, this weekend Victor Luo and Kevin Ma were two big standouts. They both stepped it up, raced tough and won events,” Newman said. “We had a number of exciting swims, both those two athletes had noteworthy swims, which bode well for the rest of the season.”
The Red have their next meet on Saturday, another tri-meet matchup against other Ivies, this time against Princeton and Penn in Princeton, New Jersey. The team will have to wait until January to compete at Teagle again, but they’ll surely be looking forward to showing the home crowd what they’re made of again.
“We don’t claim to have the newest or state of the art facility in the league, but the dual meet atmosphere in Teagle Hall is second to none in the Ivy League,” Gallagher said. “We had such a great turn out for both swim meets and the diving events Friday night and the team really feeds off that energy.”