Throughout its season, Penn swimming often has fewer home contests than any other sport. With a majority of the program’s meets taking place on the road, it’s on the Quakers to make the most of their time on campus.
As a result, this weekend the Red and Blue will try to take advantage of a rare opportunity as both the men’s and women’s squads prepare for matchups with Delaware at Sheerr Pool on Saturday.
In what will be the final home meet for both of coach Mike Schnur’s squads, Penn’s matchups with the Blue Hens will be the first of three consecutive nonconference meets before the program swims in the Ivy Championships starting on Feb. 19 for the women and Feb. 26 for the men.
Against Delaware (10-3), Penn’s women’s squad (5-4) will do battle with a team that has lost only once in eight dual meets since Nov. 1. Despite dropping their final home meet of the 2014-15 season last Saturday, the Blue Hens bounced back with two blowout wins against Iona and St. Peter’s.
While Delaware has been swimming well in recent weeks, the Quakers have put together a few strong performances of their own. Although Penn split both of its tri-meets the past two weekends, the Red and Blue looked strong in Providence last Saturday, claiming two event wins and nine second-place finishes.
Sophomore Ellie Grimes captured a victory in the 200-yard breaststroke against Brown and Harvard while fellow sophomore Rochelle Dong led the Quakers to a one-two finish in the 100-yard fly.
Similarly, against Towson on Saturday, Blue Hens’ junior Morgan Whyte put together a noteworthy performance of her own, capturing individual victories in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles in Delaware’s 205-95 loss.
While Penn may rejoice in hosting its first meet since Nov. 9, road contests have posed little trouble for the Blue Hens this season. Delaware is undefeated away from the Rawstrom Natatorium in 2014-15, having won all five of its meets on the road, including four in the month of January alone.
With the women’s squad expected to have a tough battle on its hands against the Blue Hens, Penn’s men’s team is prepared for a much easier test on Saturday.
Like its female counterparts, Delaware men’s swimming (4-5) bounced back from a loss against Towson on Saturday with a pair of wins against Iona and St. Peter’s on Sunday. Blue Hens’ diver Patrick McCann won three of his four events last weekend, including both his 1- and 3-meter dives at the tri-meet.
But the Quakers have their own collection of talented swimmers, particularly junior Chris Swanson. The Tampa, Fla., native secured victories in the 1000-yard and 500-yard freestyle events, helping the Red and Blue to an eight-point win over Brown.
Because it is Penn’s final home event of the season, the program will honor the 16 seniors comprising the two squads. In addition to commemorating the athletes during the meet on Saturday, the Quakers will also hold a banquet for the Class of 2015 once the meet concludes.
For the Red and Blue, everything up to this point has and will continue to be a warmup for the Ivy Championships in Princeton next month.
And while Penn has looked sharp at times this season, it has obstacles to overcome this weekend before putting their focus squarely on Ivies.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.