Fortin shines at Ivies
Freshman Shelby Fortin led Penn to fourth-place finish at championships
February 28, 2011, 2:08 am · Updated February 28, 2011, 12:00 am·
It’s time to rewrite the Penn swimming record books.
The women’s swim team racked up an incredible nine school records at the Ivy League Championships this weekend on its way to a fourth-place finish.
“There were performances from our girls that even I never thought they could do,” coach Mike Schnur said.
Leading the team was freshman freshman Shelby Fortin, who played a role in six of the new records — three in individual events and three in relays.
And Fortin didn’t just beat the competition — she crushed it.
In the 1,000-yard freestyle, she finished 12 seconds ahead of the second-place swimmer. Her time of 9:45.17 broke the school record by 15 seconds and was the fifth-fastest time in meet history.
With her performance, Fortin became the first three-time champion in Penn women’s swimming history and only the second in school history.
“I’m stoked,” Fortin said. “Going into the meet, I was expecting to do well, but as a freshman, I wasn’t expecting to win three events.”
Fellow freshman Kristi Edleson won the 1,650-yard freestyle. She shaved 12 seconds off her seed time for another new school record.
“We’ve had four Ivy champions in the first 35 years of our program,” Schnur said. “And we’ve had four Ivy champions in the last three days.”
The Quakers placed fourth for the third consecutive year. They finished just six points out of third place, the closest they have ever been to a top-three finish.
“There wasn’t anything we could do more,” Schnur said. “Our performance this weekend was the best we’ve ever been. We’ve never swum a meet anywhere near as good as this one, so we were thrilled.”
Fortin said that the team knew it could get third place, so it was “shocking” when Columbia pulled ahead in the end.
“But I don’t think we could have done any better,” she said. “We all had amazing swims.”
Most of the championship swimmers will be back next year, so the team is very optimistic about next season’s prospects.
Schnur said that not only did the freshmen perform incredibly well at Ivies, but there were also freshmen who swam great all season who didn’t make it to the championships. He added that a strong recruiting class will be coming in next season.
Fortin said that the team “can absolutely come in third [next year] if we want it bad enough.”
For Fortin, however, this season is not necessarily over. She will hear later this week whether or not she is headed to the NCAA Championships.
Schnur explained that invitations are based on individual times, and a certain number of swimmers are invited for each event.
Shelby is ranked near 32nd, he said, and they usually take a few less than that.
But Schnur and Fortin are “hopeful” that she will make the cut, making her the first woman in Penn swimming history to go to the NCAA Championships.
Whether or not Fortin makes the cut, she has three more seasons to take the team to new heights, and further rewrite the record books.