Ben Parker / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Both the men's and women's teams finished the season with a 3-6 record.

March 23, 2020

Swimming and Diving Caps off Season at Ivy League Championships

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Both of Cornell’s swimming and diving teams wrapped up their seasons at the Ivy League Championships.

The women’s tournament took place Feb. 19 through 22 and was hosted by Brown, while the men’s tournament took place a week later at Harvard.

The women’s team (3-6, 1-6 Ivy) placed eighth at the Ivy League Championships, which was hosted by Brown from Feb.19 through Feb 22. But despite its last-place finish, the Red’s 543 points at the event still marked an improvement over last season’s 506.

In another silver lining for Cornell, the team broke a number of school records, even while falling to the rest of the Ancient Eight. On day one, the 800-yard freestyle relay team of freshmen Lexie Handlin and Melissa Parker, junior Sophia Cherkez and senior tri-captain Laurel Kiselis finished in 7:20.96 — topping the Red’s previous record by nearly two and a half seconds.

On the second day, sophomore Demetra Williams’ 266.50 points in 1-meter diving shattered a 14-year-old school record, while, on day three, Kiselis broke her own record in the 200-yard freestyle.

On the final day, freshman Elise Jendritz also etched her name in the record books, breaking the school record in 3-meter diving (306.05 points).

The men’s team (3-6, 1-6 Ivy) finished sixth at the Ivy League Championships, capping off a season that saw 43 lifetime-best swims by Cornell swimmers.

“The team really came together well this season, and as a result we saw a lot of successful seasons both individually and as a team,” said head coach Wes Newman ’09, praising the team’s improvement from last year. “You can look at your own personal best times and if you improved and got faster…I would describe that as a successful season.”

Going forward, the Red will miss the contributions of the team’s seven seniors, especially for its relays which was an area of strength for Cornell. The team broke three of five school relay records over the course of the season, with most of the team’s relay spots held by seniors.

“For me, it was a special [senior] class [because] it was the first class that I recruited as a head coach,” Newman said. “They certainly left their mark on the program. They’re going to leave some shoes to fill.”

A big part of the Red’s future will be freshman Paige DaCosta, who became the first Cornell swimmer to take home an Ivy League championship in the 100-yard backstroke.

The Ivy League Championships marked the end of the season for all but one of Cornell’s swimmers. Junior Brett Hébert was set to become the program’s first athlete to compete at the NCAA Championships since 1987, after qualifying in 3-meter diving at the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships, but the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.