It’s the final stretch for the men and women of the Quakers swim team.
This weekend, both teams are heading down to Virginia for the Cavalier Invitational, while the men’s Ivy team goes up to Cambridge to take on Harvard in their rescheduled snowstorm meet.
All but one spot on each of the men’s and women’s Ivy teams have been filled, with the Cavalier Invite being the last chance for a lot of swimmers to make the teams or finish the season strong with some big wins of their own.
“For a lot of the kids there, it’s their championship meet,” coach Mike Schnur said. “They’re putting on their fast bathing suits, and we’re going to try and go after a lot of best times.”
Yet due to inclement weather, the men’s Harvard meet, originally scheduled for last weekend, got pushed back to this coming Saturday.
This means the team will have to split, with some athletes resting and training for Ivies and others away at different meets.
“I can’t be in two places at the same time,” Schnur said. “I’m taking all of our kids down to Virginia, and then Marc Christian, my assistant coach, will have the men’s [team] up at the Harvard meet, and my other assistant Dan Schupsky will be here training our women’s Ivy team, who’s in neither place.”
“Good thing we have three coaches for this weekend,” he continued.
The timing of the Harvard meet is proving to be tricky, even with the logistics worked out. With only three weeks until Ivies, the men’s team still has to work out the mechanisms of training and rest.
“It would’ve been easier to swim last week because they were a month out,” Schnur said. “We have more things to think about in terms of rest and hard work, but they’ll do their best.”
But dual meets aside, the Cavalier Invite is looking promising.
Unlike most other meets that the Red and Blue have participated in recently, the Invitational will be a scored meet rather than time trials.
The competition will also be exciting for the Quakers. Opponents include swimmers from UVA, Duke, William & Mary, Drexel and James Madison.
“Any time you get an opportunity to compete with anyone who swims for Virginia, you’re looking at very good opponents,” Schnur said. “UVA’s one of the best programs in the country, and it should be a whole lot of fun to go to that meet.”
It should also be a fun farewell competition for some senior Quakers.
The Cavalier Invitational will include final swims from seniors Conor Blackwood, Ryan Carey, Christopher Delafuente, Chris Fleming, Nick Johnson, Ryan Littlefield and Logan Ware on the men’s side and Tatiana McLaughlan and Erica Pangilinan for the women.
Between training, the dual meet and the Invitational, Penn has a busy but exciting weekend in store.
The Invitational marks the end of the regular season, after which the women will have about two weeks until Ivy League Championships begin on Feb. 28th at Princeton’s DeNunzio Pool. The men’s championships will commence a week later, starting March 7th, at Brown’s Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center.