Penn men’s swimming will have its hands full this weekend when a talented No. 23 Harvard squad visits Philadelphia.
On Saturday, Sheerr Pool will see its last meet of the season, as both Penn and Harvard wrap up their conference play in a great opportunity for the Red and Blue to see what they are really made of.
Penn will be facing a Harvard (6-2, 6-0 Ivy) team that is coming off two big wins last weekend, as the Crimson soundly defeated both Yale and Princeton to remain undefeated in the conference.
All that now stands between Harvard and a perfect Ivy League campaign is a Penn squad that will try to play spoiler on the final weekend of the dual-meet season.
Penn (6-3, 4-2 Ivy) has had its own share of success in the Ancient Eight this year as well. The Quakers’ only conference losses came in close meets against Yale and Princeton.
Penn is currently coming off a winning weekend itself, as the team claimed victories on back to back days against West Chester and La Salle.
Harvard may be the favorite this weekend, but the Quakers are approaching this challenge with their trademark positive and competitive mentality.
“Racing the best is always something to look forward to,” senior Rhoads Worster said. “Especially at this point in the season where everyone is thinking about the Ivy championship meet, we want to match up with them as best we can.”
Taking on Harvard may prove especially difficult this weekend for Penn, as it will be racing against a modified lineup of Harvard swimmers who have been training exclusively for this race.
“A lot of their guys will have been in preparation for this meet specifically,” coach Mike Schnur said. “But we are still going to put the best guys we have right alongside theirs and just go after them.”
In particular, distance and the relay events will be key for Penn if it wants to keep pace with a Harvard team that not only has a strong lineup across the board but also arguably the strongest diving squad in the Ivy League.
“Our goal is to compete with them in as many events as we can,” Schnur said. “They have guys racing today that would make our Ivy squad, but I still think we have several events that we have great opportunities to be successful in.”
While the actual result of Saturday’s meet may be irrelevant in terms of standings or rankings for Penn, it still represents an opportunity for the Quakers to test themselves against a top-tier team.
The team also can see just how much work they need to put in during the next four weeks in the run-up to the Ivy championship meet.
“In the end, it’s just a great experience,” Worster said. “There’s nothing better than going out there and racing against the big boys in the league.”