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The Penn men's swimming team's performance this weekend at West Point, N.Y., was disappointing in comparison to an otherwise impressive season. The Quakers placed ninth out of 10 teams at the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League Championships with 488 points. Only a few stellar performances by the Red and Blue stood out over the course of the three-day meet that began last Thursday. Freshman Andrew Trout placed sixth, the highest finish by any Penn swimmer at the meet, in the 50-yard freestyle. "When I get a chance to taper, I take advantage of it," Trout said, accounting for his success. "But I was expecting to swim a lot faster at champs." The Quakers also finished high in Friday's 400-yard medley relay, coming in fourth place out of 10. Trout, along with sophomores Kevin Pope, Chris Miller and Spencer Driscoll surpassed all but powerhouses Harvard, Princeton and Brown in what was Penn's highest relay finish at Easterns since 1997. Pope, Trout and Driscoll were the only Quakers to make finals rounds, the cut off for which is eighth place. Trout was seventh in the 200 butterfly and Pope finished eighth in the 100 backstroke. Penn's seniors accumulated 180 points at last year's Easterns -- a total that the Quakers had difficulty making up for this year. Penn coach Mike Schnur had hoped for the freshmen to pick up the slack, but their efforts fell a little short. "It's difficult to step up as a freshman and compete with guys two and three years older," Schnur said. As for his squad's failure to beat teams such as Army, Navy, Columbia and Cornell, which the Red and Blue outscored in the regular dual-meet season, Schnur noted the unique pressures that champs presents. "The championship meet is not about how good the team is," Schnur said. "We have a lot of good swimmers, but at champs, we need to have five great swimmers." According to Schnur, Penn will have an advantage next year, when its squad is more experienced and the incoming freshmen have filled out the team's range of ability. "The freshmen have shown that they will be a force to be reckoned with next year," Schnur said. And in response to his team's failure to live up to their own expectations for this meet, Schnur voiced a respect for the bigger picture. "I'm not a guy who believes you judge your season by the last meet," he said. Penn junior captain Ian Bowman, though disappointed with his team's performance, saw the ninth-place finish as an impetus for the Quakers to work harder in the future and learn from the challenge. "The finish leaves a sour taste in our mouths," Bowman said. "But it makes us hungry for next year."

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