Penn swimming undone by key absences


Quakers struggle in New England trip against Brown and Harvard




Despite a strong push by both its men’s and women’s teams, the Quakers ultimately could not make up for numerous absences during their Saturday trip to New England.

In Rhode Island, a depleted Penn men’s team (2-5, 1-5 Ivy) was defeated by Brown, 171-129. Meanwhile the women (3-5, 2-5) fell to both Brown, 219-80, and Harvard, 241-58.

“They swam with great heart,” coach Mike Schnur said. “We really competed well despite missing seven or eight of our best guys, but the guys that were there did a great job.”

Schnur thought that the meet demonstrated the Quakers’ resiliency, since no matter the situation, the swimmers stepped up to swim fast races.

“We battled a much more prepared Brown team down to the last couple of events,” Schnur said.

Against Brown (4-3, 1-3), the men had a number of good swims, including victories for freshmen Chris Swanson in the 1650-yard freestyle and Brian Foley in the 200 backstroke, indicating a promising future for the team.

Meanwhile, the women’s team suffered crushing defeats to the Crimson (7-0, 5-0) and Bears (5-2, 2-2), respectively. Much like the men’s team, the women were shorthanded, missing both junior Shelby Fortin and freshman Lauren Church.

“On the women’s side, we just were undermanned,” Schnur said. “The other teams were better than we were. They were definitely better prepared than were. Our girls are swimming tired right now and they’re going to have to tough out a few more weeks of hard work.”

On the bright side, freshman Sydney Stinner swam very well on Saturday, clocking in at 4:59.85 in the 500 freestyle.

“I thought we had some great swims on our side,” Schnur said. “The backstrokers did a really good job. Anne Maercklein’s breaststroke was terrific. That’s a real good sign going into Ivies.”

At the very least, the Quakers gained some valuable experience by swimming in Brown’s new aquatic facility, where the men’s Ivy League Championship meet will take place in early March. The Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatic Center opened in May 2012 and cost $35 million to build.

“I think [swimming at the new facility] will help the guys,” Schnur said. “We were able to get in there and work out a little bit on Friday night. I think it was a good opportunity to get in there before championships.”

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