Both men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams faced off against Brown on Saturday in a hotly contested dual meet in Teagle Hall. The meet was the last regular season competition for the program before Ivy League Championships later this month. The atmosphere in Teagle was packed with energy from a home crowd supporting the Red’s men and women, but unfortunately only the men’s team was able to prevail over the Bears.
The women’s team fought hard in the meet and only narrowly lost to the visitors, 156-143. The relays in particular were intense competition between two skilled relay teams from the Ivy League rivals.
“They have one of the best 400-free relays in the league,” said women’s head coach Patrick Gallagher. “[Our] team fought hard and put up the seventh fastest 400-free relay in school history, but that [Brown relay team] is a tough foursome to beat. I give Brown credit. We had a great meet, but their relay responded.”
The meet also served as a celebration of the senior class of the swimming and diving program, and some of the seniors made sure to get in a few last great performances at Teagle.
“Victoria Kuhn’s 200-backstroke win was a highlight and fun to watch in her final home meet,” Gallagher said.
While the women’s team was not able to come out on top in the back-and-forth meet, the men were able to put in a strong showing to conquer Brown’s swimmers, 177-123. Head coach Wes Newman ’09 said he was in high spirits following his team’s victory.
“We had a lot of fun on Saturday,” Newman said. “It was a good day.”
Cornell started off a strong with a big victory over the Bears in an early relay.
“I think the very first relay was a big turning point for us because it really got the ball rolling,” Newman said. “On the first relay, we came in first and second against Brown which is difficult to do, to have your B relay beat the other team’s A relay, so that was a big highlight.”
Junior Dylan Sali, who was featured on the first place Cornell relay team along with senior Victor Luo, junior Luke Reisch and senior Taylor Adams, agreed with Newman’s sentiment after the early relay victory.
“The 1-2 [finish] in the 200-medley relay was the highlight of the meet in my opinion,” Sali said. “We couldn’t have hoped for a better start.”
In addition to the intensity created from the battling teams in the pool, the packed crowd in Teagle escalated the environment further.
“There was such high energy on deck and in the stands,” Sali said. “It felt like there was so much on the line in every event.”
“Anybody who’s ever been to a competition in Teagle knows that it gets very loud,” Newman said. “And when you have full stands and everybody’s screaming for close races the energy level gets really high because of all the noise. So that’s what it was like on Saturday, a lot of energy and it helped carry the team and build momentum, so definitely a great atmosphere.”
With college swimming season wrapping up, the Red will spend its last few weeks preparing for the Ivy League Championship meet which will begin on Feb. 25 at Brown in Providence, R.I. In the last weeks before the meet, the team will begin to get more rest and focus heavily on finer technique.
“This week is the last week of real training and then we really head into tapering next week,” Newman said. “It’s a fun time, energy levels get high, people get excited and we just work on little details.”
The diving program will also be training for Ivy League Championships over the next month under the supervision of an assistant coach, after the recent departure of former coach Veronica Ribot-Canales, who coached both the men and women. Although the timing may be trying for the divers, the team is optimistic according to Newman.
“We feel like the divers are in a good place,” Newman said. “And we’re confident that they’re going to do well.”
Now all that remains for the Cornell swimming and diving program is to wait for the fateful Ivy League Championships. As has been the theme throughout the season, the entire team is optimistic about the upcoming competition, according to Sali.
After closing out the regular season with a home win to send out the seniors, Sali said he’s ready to take on Brown again during the championship meet.
“We’re looking forward to seeing them on their home turf in three weeks.”