In the words of Penn coach Mike Schnur, the Penn men's swimming team was "whupped" by Harvard on Saturday. The Quakers, though, were not whupped as badly as last year. Penn lost to the Crimson in Sheerr Pool, 195-86, but it was a 64-point improvement for the Quakers from last year's score of 227-54. The loss dropped the Quakers to 5-4 in the Eastern Collegiate Swimming League and 9-4 overall. The atmosphere at Sheerr Pool during the meet was subdued. The crowd had anticipated the Quakers' fate long before they arrived at Gimbel Gymnasium, and the Penn fans watched with resignation as Harvard's swimmers took first place in 14 of the meet's 15 events. The Crimson are currently ranked 19th in the nation by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. Harvard, Princeton and Yale all have swimmers that are ranked first in the country in their events. "Harvard will win [Eastern] Championships," Schnur said. "We didn't even see the best that they have this weekend. They brought their B-squad." For the Penn squad, this meet was essentially an opportunity for its swimmers to get better seed times for EISLs. They achieved what they set out to accomplish. Penn sophomore Nate Pinney brought home second in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:44.35, his best-ever unshaved time, and in the process grabbed himself the fourth spot on Penn's 800-yard freestyle relay team for EISLs. Penn freshman Adam Smith, who came in third in the 400 IM with a time of 4:13.77, improved his seed time for Easterns by 10 seconds. According to Schnur, he will get a chance to "swim with the big boys" as a result. Penn senior captain Brian Barone swam the 200 fly, which used to be his premier event, after having not done a fly set in training for a month. He nabbed second place for one of only five second-place performances Penn had on the day. The other second-place finishes for the Red and Blue were in the 500 freestyle by freshman Shaun Lehrer, the 200 backstroke by freshman Barry Chan and the 100 backstroke by sophomore Kevin Pope. The highlight of the day for the Quakers, however, was undoubtedly sophomore Chris Miller's first-place finish in the 100 breaststroke. With a time of 58.97, the Glen Head, N.Y., native beat Harvard freshman John Lin by .08 seconds. Miller, who had not rested for the meet, turned in Penn's only first-place finish of the meet. "The point was to show some class and some character -- everybody really did and our times really speak to that," Barone said. Swimming against the Crimson two weeks before the EISLchampionships, however, is not ideal. "This is not a meet to get fired up for,"Schnur said. "Next year [Princeton] coach [Tim] Murphy and I are moving this meet back a week because no one can get up for a meet within a few weeks of championships." The Penn squad's sprinters have already started their tapers, and its distance swimmers are about to start theirs. Their focus is on Easterns, and none of the Quakers who qualified had the luxury of shaving for the Harvard meet. And because the Crimson brought their B-squad, many of whom are not going on to championships, some of their swimmers had shaved, giving them a distinct advantage. When it came down to it, Penn had accepted its fate before the meet even started. "Harvard doesn't have deadweight on its team and everyone on it could be an asset to Penn," Barone said. "We're a long way from being able to go head to head with them." Schnur echoed Barone's sentiments. "Right now, Ivy swimming is the best and the fastest it has ever been," he said. Schnur's statement refers to the league leaders, Harvard, Princeton and Yale. It also refers, though, to the Quakers, who have not seen a season record of 9-4 in recent memory.Comments powered by Disqus
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