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Kenneth Goh and the Quakers will look to continue their recent success this weekend. The Red and Blue will travel to New York to square off against league rival Columbia. (Jacques-Jean Tiziou/DP File Photo)

The Penn men's swimming team has a hard act to follow this weekend against Columbia -- its own. Last year, the Quakers (1-1, 1-1 EISL) blew the Lions (0-2, 0-2 EISL) away by an impressive 146-88 margin. It was an important victory considering that Columbia is both one of Penn's biggest rivals and also a key team to beat within the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League. According to Penn coach Mike Schnur, Harvard and Princeton have a higher level of talent than the rest of the teams in the EISL. So the Quakers' real competition comes at the hands of teams like the Lions. "Columbia is a great rival," Schnur said. "This is one of the meets in the season we look forward to most. This is a team we have respect for." So this Saturday in New York, the Quakers have no room to let their guard down. Penn is spending the week preparing with double workouts and hard practices. Last year, the team rested up for the meet, which gave Penn an advantage that Schnur said made the victory "less satisfying." This year, the Penn coach's plan is to train with intensity in order to force his squad to swim fast times even though they might be tired. Penn followed this same training strategy before last weekend's meet against Bucknell and Binghamton and was able to blow the field away. But the Lions will be a more difficult task for the Red and Blue. The key events this weekend should be the 100-yard freestyle, the 200 backstroke, the 50 free, and both the 400 medley and free relays. Many of the other events may have more predictable outcomes given each team's talent, these events are largely up for grabs. While these events hold the key to Penn's success, the Quakers must depend on the leadership of their upperclassmen if they wish to leave New York victorious. Penn senior captains Brian Barone and Kevin Treco -- along with junior Ian Bowman -- have faced Columbia before and have been eyewitnesses to the intensity of the rivalry. Schnur is looking for these three individuals to step up this weekend and win a few key events. Having only lost once to the Lions in the past three years, Penn's seniors are eager to begin an extended winning streak. A victory in New York this weekend would also be important in improving Penn's standing in the EISL. With a win over Columbia, the Quakers have a chance to quickly climb the league ladder. Although Penn lost to Princeton earlier this season, the Red and Blue beat Cornell at that very same meet. But Penn does not need to overtake Columbia in the league standings. The winless Lions lost to both Harvard (232-68) and Army (166-134) in a dual meet three weeks ago. If Penn pulls out a win against Columbia this weekend, it could impact the rankings for the Eastern Championships. But more importantly, a victory would be a huge boost to the squad's momentum for the rest of the season. "We're looking to kick ass and take names," Bowman said.

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