It’s Harvard’s world, and unfortunately for Penn swimming, they are still living in it.
On Saturday in Cambridge, Mass., both Red and Blue squads easily dispatched Brown, the men by a score of 207.5 to 90.5, and the woman 176 to 124. However, Harvard’s depth proved too much for the Quakers to handle, and both the men (7-2, 5-2 Ivy) and women (6-3, 4-3) suffered identical 192-108 defeats at the hands of the Crimson in their final conference meet before the Ivy League Championships.
The men’s team started off the meet strongly by taking third in the day’s first relay, and by capturing the top spot in the first two individual events. The 200-yard medley relay team of junior James Jameson, senior Kyle Yu, junior Mike Wen and senior Eric Schultz finished third with a time of 1:31.49, falling just behind the Harvard A and B squads.
Junior Kevin Su won the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:38.98, and senior Chris Swanson continued his dominant performance in the 1000 free, touching in a time of 9:10.11. Swanson also captured the top finishing time of 4:30.65 in the 500 free for his second win of the day.
Schultz would also contribute major individual points for the Quakers, finishing atop the podium in the 100 freestyle with a top time of 45.22 and took home a third-place finish in the 50 free as well.
The men would claim two other individual victories on the day, one in the 200 individual medley, where freshman Thomas Dillinger’s time of 1:50.62 was good for first, and Su and sophomore Mark Andrew went one-two in the 200 free, posting times of 1:38:98 and 1:40.68, respectively.
However, despite the multiple individual victories, Harvard’s dominance in the backstroke and butterfly proved to be the difference.
“We just aren’t ready to go and challenge Harvard in their own pool, not when they are swimming at the level they are capable of,” coach Mike Schnur said. “I thought we swam well, and I was happy with about eighty percent of our performance, but we weren’t at our best today.”
The women’s side faced a similar level of opposition in their meet, and it was junior Rochelle Dong that carried the bulk of the individual victories for Penn.
In the 50 and 100 free, Dong was the only Penn swimmer in the top five, but her times of 23.24 and 51.32 paced her to the top of the podium on both occasions. The junior would also win the 100 butterfly in a time of 55.57, followed closely by freshman Nancy Hu who touched for third place in the event.
“Rochelle had a really good day out there, and we needed her to have a big day to stay competitive,” Schnur said. “She was able to take away a lot of Brown’s strengths, and overall I was very happy with the way she and the women’s side went out and competed. “
The freestyle events continued to give the Quakers their strongest returns. Freshman Madison Visco and sophomore Virginia Burns both finished atop the podium in the 500 free, with times of 4:56.39 and 4:57.14 good for first and second place, and sophomore Carolyn Yang finished second in the 1000 free with a time of 10:13.03.
The women would also pick up key points from a pair of freshman, as Hu’s time of 2:01.88 in the 200 butterfly, and Carter Orth’s time of 2:06.92 in the 200 IM both earned second place in their events.
“At the halfway point of the meet we were only up by twelve points over Brown which is almost nothing in a meet like this,” Schnur said, ”but I was impressed with the way the team refocused and took care of business in our later events. The girls went out there and did their job”.
With the Ivy tri-meet season officially wrapped up, all eyes will begin to turn to the Ivy League Championship meet in February. The Quakers will finish up their regular season with tune-up races against La Salle and West Chester on Jan. 29 and 30. And hopefully for Penn, these last two chances to work out the kinks will be enough before they get back in the pool again with the Crimson.
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