This past weekend, the Cornell women’s swimming and diving teams headed to Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the four-day Ivy League Competition. The Red came in eighth place each day but ended their season with a final ranking of No. 7 in the Ivy League standings.
This championship broke many Cornell records despite the results, with many swimmers and divers earning a spot on Cornell’s All-Time Top 10 list.
“The mindset was pretty simple. We came to the meet to really try and measure ourselves against our record book,” said Head Coach Patrick Gallagher. “We were trying to stay focused on what we could control.”
The majority of the team up to this point have yet to experience the Ivy League Championships. According to Gallagher, since this is a four day competition, it’s more unique than most meets.
“We spent a lot of time just trying to prepare them, but it’s hard to get up there and actually get behind the blocks and see it for yourself,” Gallagher said. “You just kind of have to experience it.”
Starting the competition off on Wednesday night were two relays: 200 medley and 800 freestyle. Junior backstroker Aviva Muñoz, freshman breaststroker Sophia Tasi and sophomore freestylists Anna Gruvberger and Priscilla Wongso swam the 200 medley relay. They finished seventh, with a time of 1:43.17.
For the 800 freestyle relay, the Red came in fifth place and simultaneously broke Cornell’s records with a time of 7:27.74. The relay included freshman freestylist Alex Syrkin, sophomore freestylist Angelica Sih, freshman freestylist Schuyler DuPont and junior freestylist Melissa Parker.
The Red finished Wednesday, standing in eighth place with 90 points.
“Wednesday was a half day, and those relays were close to being right on where I expected,” Gallagher said.
Thursday secured even more swimmers on Cornell’s All-Time Top 10 list. The second day began with the B Finals for various events, with participation from Parker, junior diver Elise Jendritz and senior diver Demetra Williams.
“We had a couple of really great breakthrough swimmers and divers,” Gallagher said. “Our divers certainly did breakthrough. We knew they were going to be good.”
Parker finished in 11th place during the 50 freestyle. Jendritz scored 261.55 points, earning 11th in the one-meter diving event and placing second on Cornell’s Top 10 list. As for Williams, she got 245.40 points and achieved 14th place.
Wongso and Gruvberger qualified for the C Final in the 50 freestyle, and sophomore backstrokers Olivia Sutter and Marie Williams qualified in the 200 IM. Wongso and Gruvberger finished in 19th and 24th place, respectively, and Sutter and Williams placed 22nd and 23rd, respectively. The 200 IM swimmers both rewrote Cornell history, as Sutter obtained sixth on the list (2:03.80) and Williams came right underneath her in seventh (2:04.56).
After Thursday’s events, The Red continued to stand in eighth place with 191 points.
“Thursday was the first full day and indicated it was a really tough day for us. I give the team a lot of credit because it’s tough to bounce back from that, in a league like ours, which just has so much talent everywhere,” Gallagher said.
Day three was another intense day for Cornell, as they had multiple swimmers qualify for the A and B Finals while also continuing their streak of breaking Cornell records.
Jendritz and Williams had another great day, as they made key performances in the prelims to qualify for Friday’s three-meter diving final. Jendritz procured fourth with 282.90 points in the prelims as Williams got 271.53 points for sixth place and jumped to third in Cornell’s top-ten list.
With a time of 1:50.01, Parker came in 12th during the B Final of the 200 freestyle. During the C Final of the same event, Syrkin and DuPont achieved 20th and 22nd, respectively.
Muñoz and senior backstroker Gillian Caverly participated in the 100 backstroke B Final. Not only did they finish in 15th and 16th place, respectively, but they both earned a spot in Cornell’s history. Muñoz, with a 56.02 time, obtained the fifth-place mark, and Caverly made the list closely as the 10th-fastest time of 56.58.
“Another one of our captains setting lifetime best swims and as a senior – that meet is a big deal,” Gallagher said. “It’s exciting to watch those accomplishments and watch those kids put their name in history.”
Friday’s competition day ended with three more swimmers making it onto the Red’s record books. Sutter (4:22.75) and Williams (4:26.58) made the list again in the 400 IM event in the C Final. They finished 20th and 21st, placing seventh and 10th in Cornell’s books, respectively.
Gruvberger hit the books again after swimming the 100 butterfly. With a time of 55.65, she’s the tenth-fastest person at Cornell thus far. This time also qualified herself for the C Final, ending in 24th place.
Entering the last day, the Red remains in eighth place with 340 points.
Saturday was the last day of the Ivies and Cornell’s last chance to rack up some points. Starting strong was the 3-meter diving event, where Williams and Jendritz competed in the A Final. Williams solidified a fifth-place finish of 281.30 points, and Jendritz was right below with 276.10 points, placing sixth.
Parker made the list again in the 100 freestyle as the fourth all-time fastest with a time of 50.37. Wongso also hit the record books in the same event, finishing at 50.66. She placed 18th and seventh in Cornell history.
Muñoz had another impressive race as she made the B Final for the 200 backstroke and finished in 14th place with the third-fastest time at Cornell.
Ending the meet, Wongso, Gruvberger, Tsai and Parker competed in the 400 freestyle relay (3:24.40), placing seventh in the event and eighth in Cornell record books.
“Every day kind of got better, to the point where Saturday was probably our best day, and that’s completely on them,” Gallagher said. “They really decided that they wanted to get as much out of this meet as possible.”
The Red left the competition in eighth place with a total of 508 points.
“There’s just too much talent on this team. They’ll take a couple of much-needed weeks off, and then we’ll kind of rest in the spring,” Gallagher said about preparing for next season. “But we really started setting some big goals for next year, knowing that we’re going to be good, we’re going to be ready.”
This weekend, men’s swimming and diving will travel to Princeton, New Jersey to compete in their Ivy League Championship. The four-day competition starts on Wednesday, Feb. 23 and ends Saturday, Feb. 26.
The divers aren’t done for the season, though. Alongside the women, they will compete in the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships down in Annapolis, Maryland to try at qualification for NCAA Championships.