Swimming begin crucial month with Total Performance Invitational

The three-day Invitation has extra importance since it is similar to Ivy Championships format

· December 4, 2013, 10:38 pm

Aaron Campbell | DP

Senior captain Rhoads Worster was the only swimmer to break 50 seconds in the 100 fly with his first place time of 49.69 in the Quakers’ last meet against Cornell and Princeton on November 23.

Finals may be fast approaching for the students of Penn, but first, Penn’s swimmers will face another significant test outside of the classroom.

The men and women of Penn swimming will be competing in the Total Performance Invitational at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. The invitational will last three days from Thursday to Saturday and will be just the second time that this year’s squad competes outside of the standard Ivy League dual meet.

Coach Mike Schnur has made particular note of the number of teams competing in the invitational with six other schools facing the Red and Blue.

“It’s a very different format from dual meets,” he said. “Depth will matter a lot.”

The team may be a few meets into the season, but Schnur has had this invitational circled on his calendar all along.

“It’s exactly the same format as the Ivy Championships,” Schnur said. “This meet has traditionally been very good to us.”

But Schnur isn’t the only one excited about competing at Kenyon, as this meet will provide an opportunity for Penn’s athletes to show what they are made of outside of the usual Ivy League context.

“This is the fastest we will go this semester,” senior captain Rhoads Worster said.

The women’s team (1-3) enters the invitational coming off of three straight losses to Ivy League opponents Columbia, Cornell and Princeton. Although the team will certainly be looking to get back on track, Schnur has downplayed some of the team’s recent results.

“[The results] don’t affect us at all. The Kenyon meet is completely different from any dual meet,” he said.

Despite their early season losing record, the women’s team has received some strong individual performances, and they are excited to see how their team has progressed.

“This is a good way to see how we stand looking to Ivies,” standout freshman Rochelle Dong said.

Overall, the invitational will allow for the young swimmers of the women’s team to continue to progress, but its long term implications are limited.

Meanwhile, the invitational will hold long lasting implications on the men’s squad (2-2). Schnur and the rest of the coaching staff will pick the Ivy Championship squad for the men’s side but not for the women.

Schnur said that the different approaches to the meet can be attributed to differences in swimming styles between the men and the women.

“A rested guy is very different from an unrested guy,” he said. “Women are a little more consistent.”

The invitational is complicated a bit by its proximity to finals, but Penn’s student athletes are ready.

“We’re used to balancing academics and athletics, so it’s not like this meet came up on people,” Worster said.

The Kenyon invitational is the only meet in a crucial month for the Penn’s swimming program.

“The month of December is the most important of the season,” Schnur said.

Worster notes that the swimmers will have a chance to get the month of hard training started off right.

“It’s a lot more fun to train when you’re coming off of a high point of the season,” Worster said.


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