The women’s swimming team is used to getting behind early.
After practicing against their faster male counterparts throughout the week, the Quakers are accustomed to fighting until the last second — and when it comes to meets, their resiliency shows.
The Penn women applied this approach Saturday in Ithaca, N.Y. during their tri-meet against Cornell and defending Ivy champion Princeton.
Despite falling behind in many of their races, the Quakers came back back to touch out their opponents at the end to edge out a win against the Big Red, 156-144, and stay close in a 171.50-121.50 loss to Princeton.
“Our women just know how to swim tired,” coach Mike Schnur said.
“We have some very competitive women on our team and they know how to win,” he added. “They compete like mad dogs every week. No matter how hard I work them or how tired they are, they just love to race.”
Though Penn (2-1, 1-1 Ivy) entered the final two races behind the Big Red, sophomore Melissa Paratto won the 200-yard individual medley for the Quakers while freshman Shelby Fortin pulled ahead in the last leg of the freestyle relay to bring her team to victory.
“To come up and win in those last two races showed a lot about these girls’ character,” Schnur said. “A lot of teams would start getting down on themselves after a slow start, but we didn’t at all.”
The Penn men should look no further than the Penn women’s team for a lesson on swimming when fatigued.
The men’s team did not fare as well as its counterparts, as it was unable to take first in any of the meet’s 16 events. Penn was trounced by a dominant Princeton squad, 233-67, and fell to Cornell 172-120.
“A lot more didn’t go well than went well for the men this weekend,” Schnur said.
The coach said that the X-factor for the men’s team for the rest of the season will be how the team is able to deal with exhaustion.
“Hopefully we can get better at swimming better when we’re tired,” Schnur said. “We have a lot of young guys who haven’t adapted yet to swimming when they’re tired and that will be necessary to reach our goals for the season.”
Although the Quakers are coming off back-to-back weekends with two dual meets, Schnur expects them to continue working during Thanksgiving break because of the upcoming Kenyon Invitational that will begin on Dec. 2.
“Both teams need to go home and swim with their old club teams and make sure they need to work hard,” he said. “If the guys go home and don’t see a pool for three days it’s a recipe for disaster — but our swimmers are too smart to do that.”