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Admitting one's team to be the underdog is often regarded as heresy in the athlete's unwritten guide to pre-meet comments. But Thursday, Penn men's swimming team co-captain Paul Poggi said that "our focus on Saturday is beating Dartmouth and racing Yale." The wording itself is almost a full-fledged admission that the Penn swimming team did not expect to challenge the Elis point-for-point. And as expected, Yale won both the men's and women's meets -- by counts of 164-73 and 191-95, respectively -- moving one step closer to winning Easterns in four weeks. Penn's head-to-head results against Yale, however, by no means indicate that the Quakers did not stay afloat under the bright lights of Yale's relic Kiphuth Exhibition Pool. Rather, both the men and women gave their best effort against the tough Elis, competing in a pool that is a two-floor elevator ride from the practice facility -- a facility regarded by Penn men's co-captain Graham Rigby as having "a lot of history." "But, it should be just that -- history," Rigby explained. Penn coach Kathy Lawlor-Gilbert witnessed her men's team (8-7) make good on Poggi's Thursday prophesy, despite the adverse conditions. The Penn men's swimming team soundly defeated Dartmouth 157-83 in what Lawlor-Gilbert called "a very solid meet." "Yale's really good," said Penn senior Kelly James, a stand-out on the women's team. "They have individuals that score with Easterns' top teams." Penn sophomore Matt Dicker dominated for the men, placing first in the freestyle and backstroke -- ahead of opponents from both Yale and Dartmouth. Penn's Jonathan Maslow also excelled at the Ex, placing second in the 100- and 50-meter free. His stellar performance came in spite of his missing the early part of the season, when he took a transient leave-of-absence from the program. On the diving board, it was a freshman, Matt Cornell, that added to the Red and Blue scoring with a fourth-place finish. "Besides beating Dartmouth, we didn't roll over to Yale," Rigby said. "That's going to serve us well in the next two meets and for the team that goes to Easterns in March." In the women's meet, the Penn women's swimming team (2-7) -- anchored by strong performances from freshmen Devin McGlynn and Christine Page -- had its moments against Yale. But the Quakers swam neck-and-neck with Dartmouth most of the way before falling to the Big Green by a respectable 183-115 margin. McGlynn, who anchored both the 200-meter medley and the 400-meter freestyle, helped the Quakers edge Dartmouth in the 400-meter with what James described as "the fastest split in the 400-meter freestyle in a couple of years." "Page swam pretty well, even though the actual places may not have reflected it," James said.

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