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Senior Cathy Holland leads the Quakers to New York this weekend for a meet against league rival Columbia. (Stefan Miltchev/DP File Photo)

To prepare for its meet against Columbia this weekend, the Penn women's swimming team is focusing on sleep. Although this may seem to be a peculiar way to prepare for a big meet, the Quakers (1-1, 1-1 Ivy League) have their reasons. The Red and Blue are still recovering from a rigorous two-day meet last weekend against Bucknell and Binghamton. In addition, the swimmers are dealing with the increased amount of work as the semester winds down. "We are resting up," freshman Linda Fescoe said. "We're making sure everyone gets sleep and goes to bed early." Although they were exhausted, the Quakers performed very well last weekend, trouncing Bucknell and Binghamton. Now the squad's focus has shifted to Ivy League foe, Columbia (1-2, 1-1 Ivy League). In the past, Penn has not fared well against the Lions. In fact, in the 10 years that coach Mike Schnur has been involved with the women's swimming program, he has never seen the Red and Blue come out victorious over Columbia. But this is the year in which things may change. "We are all really excited to show how much we've improved," sophomore Jessica Anders said. "We just have to go out and try and win as many events as we can." The Columbia squad suffered a heavy blow with the graduation of star swimmer Christina Teuscher last year. Teuscher, who participated in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, was an integral member of the Lions' squad. "[Teuscher's] graduation has really changed the balance of power on Columbia's team," Schnur said. "Our women now believe that we have a real chance to win." The Red and Blue are very optimistic as they head up to New York, energetic and excited to show the Ivy league that they are a changed team. "We've got a tremendous freshman class that provides us with a lot of depth and talent," junior captain Devin McGlynn said. "Our whole attitude is different this year. Our hearts are really in it." Most importantly, the team believes that it can win. Last weekend was a confidence booster for the Quakers, who were able to win even under adverse conditions. They not only had to endure a two-day meet, but practice last week was relocated to Hutchinson Pool after a pipe broke at Sherr Pool. "We just want to go up, have a lot of fun and do the best that we can," freshman Ashley Rader said. "We are psyched for the meet overall." The Quakers and the Lions are pretty evenly matched, meaning each event is key. "We want to try and go out and get the momentum of the meet," McGlynn said. "If we start getting events early it will throw them off." The upperclassmen have been focusing on fostering positive attitude amongst the Quakers. Generating energy during such a busy week has also been a main concern. "[The positive energy] is really contagious," McGlynn said. "We are so close that it just steamrolls through the whole team." Besides getting a sufficient amount of rest, the Red and Blue are focusing on the little things this week. Practice has shifted from training to a quicker, but less rigorous, race pace. "The women are basically fine tuning the smaller things," Schnur said. "They're working on relay starts, regular starts, turns and overall race preparation." Following Columbia, the Quakers will face Harvard with the home-pool advantage. Both weekends will be crucial for the team. "The team is excited and ready to go," Schnur said. "It is really fun to be preparing to battle and think[ing] that we can win.

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