Adrian Boteanu | Sun Staff Photographer

After Thanksgiving break, the Red competes again on Dec. 2 at the Bomber Invitational and the Zippy Invitational.

November 22, 2016

Gallagher Praises Women’s Swimming and Dive Team’s ‘Fight’ in Tri-Meet Loss

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Cornell women’s swimming and diving had a strong showing this weekend, despite falling to Princeton and Penn in the tri-meet at Teagle Pool on Saturday.

“I think the outcome was as expected,” said head swim coach Patrick Gallagher. “These are two really tough teams in the league and they were ready for us. I expected our team to fight and compete from beginning to end and they met that expectation as well.”

Cornell fell to Penn and Princeton in the tri-meet last year as well, when it was hosted at Princeton. In last year’s Ivy League championship meet, Princeton finished third and Penn finished fourth, while the Red was seventh.

Gallagher’s positive attitude was echoed by his athletes, who were focused on the excitement of competition, especially competing at home.

“It is always fun competing at Teagle because there is so much positive energy coming from our friends and families in the stands,” said senior Cari Stankaitis. “Everyone was excited and ready to race on Saturday and I thought that mentality created a great atmosphere on deck.”

The meet gives the team an added push as the season heats up, according to Stankaitis.

“We were definitely able to use the excitement from close races to perform better in our following events and keep fighting,” Stankaitis said.

The momentum that this excitement created was visible in the last relay of the meet, the 400-yard free relay. Chloe Mikles, Ellie Belilos, Helen Hsu and Stankaitis pulled out a strong finish with a time of 3:27.70, second only to Penn’s team.

There were a number of other impressive performances throughout the meet, including the first event of the meet, in which sophomore Jackie Real won the three-meter diving competition against a strong group of Princeton women.

Gallagher said Belilos was “ready to go,” delivering impressive results with her relay time as well as her second place finish in the 100-yard freestyle and fourth place in the 50-yard freestyle.

He also said Hsu “continues to impress” after she delivered a second place finish in the 100-yard backstroke and a third place finish in the 100-yard butterfly, as well as her impressive performance in the relay.

“We have been training extremely hard lately, and this weekend we definitely set ourselves up well for our invitational rest-meets in two weeks,” Belilos said.

Bellios also noted that the team is excited to continue competing and improving throughout the season, thanks to a combination of relentless work ethic and positive outlook.

Gallagher said that Thanksgiving break will provide the team with some much needed rest headed into the finals period and the end of the semester.

“We are excited to get some rest going into both the Zippy Invite and the Bomber meet the first weekend of December,” the head coach said. “We’ll split the team, but everyone will get a chance to rest a little before the meet and swim a championship line-up, something that isn’t always possible in dual meet competition.”

The Cornell women will compete again on Dec. 2  — the team will be split between the Ithaca Bomber Invite at Ithaca College and the Zippy Invitational in Akron, Ohio.