It took the Penn men's swimming team a quarter of a century worth of disappointment to get a win against Army, but the Quakers now look intent on establishing a winning streak of their own. This past Saturday in West Point, N.Y., the Red and Blue upped their season record to 3-1 with a demonstrative 150-87 victory over the Cadets. The win marked the second consecutive year in which Penn bested Army. "It's great to beat them," Penn coach Mike Schnur said. "Until last year, we hadn't beaten them since 1974. And I'm sure we haven't won up there in at least something like 50 years. The best thing about it was that we beat them so well -- it really wasn't a meet." The Black Knights weren't exactly blown out of the water, but Schnur's troops did take it right to the West Pointers, as the Quakers finished one-two in four different events. Penn freshman freestyler Shaun Lehrer turned in a superb meet for the winning side. A specialist in the 200 and 500-meter freestyle, Lehrer impressed early on Saturday by taking top honors in the 1,000. Followed in second place by sophomore teammate Nate Pinney, Lehrer touched the wall in 9:38.65, a significant improvement over the best Penn time in the event this season. Lehrer struck again later on. He finished first in the 500 freestyle (4:40.78), followed by Penn's Brian Barone in second position. "He has experience at that distance, but that's a long time ago," Schnur said of Lehrer's 1,000 swim. "He wants to win the 200 and the 500, but he did a great job of stepping up for us. He'll need to do that a few times for us this season." In the 200-meter backstroke, Quakers swimmers also took the top two spots. Freshman Adam Smith touched first in an economical clip of 1:56.43, and sophomore Allen Lam was right on his heels with a time of 1:57.07. The capstone to the banner day for the Quakers came with the 400 IM, which saw Penn's Eric Hirschhorn and Spencer Driscoll take gold and silver. "The 400 IM really cemented things," Schnur said. "Army had a quality IMer in the race, and our guys took it to him." Against the Cadets, Penn clearly showed the effects of the team's winter break training trip to sunny Florida. After being delayed by snow for a day, the Quakers flew south on December 31. The time in Florida gave the Red and Blue a chance to train outdoors for a change, and the crisper evening air of the Sunshine State provided a nice change of pace. "Gimbel [Sheerr Pool] hasn't been great for air quality, especially for guys that have asthma. Training outside was nice," Schnur said. While down the coast, the Quakers competed at the Florida Atlantic Invitational against topnotch scholarship programs such as Nebraska, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Penn beat host Florida Atlantic and finished ahead of Virginia Tech in the non-diving events en route to a fourth-place finish. "Other Penn teams would have dogged it against those teams because we were basically in training mode," Schnur said. "But we came out and competed well."Comments powered by Disqus
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