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It’s time for Penn swimming to split.

The Penn men (0-1, 0-0) and women (1-0, 0-0), will both take on rival Columbia, in an early season Ivy League matchup. Unlike last weeks meet at UConn, the Penn team will be split up, with the women competing in Sheerr Pool and the men hitting the road to New York City.

The Columbia women (1-0, 1-0) defeated a very good Harvard team with a gutsy victory last weekend, despite the fact that Harvard set five pool records over the course of the meet. The Quakers will need to compete with the young talent on the Columbia team that promises to make this an interesting season for Lions. Names to look for on the Columbia side are freshman Celia Frick, who helped Columbia take 1-2-3 in the 100 breaststroke, and a 200 medley team consisting of three freshman that took first place last weekend.

That being said, the Quakers have a strong core of women swimmers as well, led by senior Shelby Fortin who gives the team a huge boost in its freestyle events. Last year, Fortin set Penn records in all five individual freestyle events, so Fortin will certainly provide her strong level of talent this weekend against the Lions. Freshman Rochelle Dong can also counter the young talent of the Columbia team. Dong took part in the winning medley relay last week and also won the 100 free, giving her a strong start to her college swimming career.

“The enthusiasm that won the meet on Saturday transitioned very nicely into workouts this week,” Schnur said. “The women’s team has been having really good training days for the past month. They’ve been training at a very high level.”

It will be interesting to see the amount of energy that Columbia displays after winning such a big meet last weekend, and if this has any effect on their performance against the Quakers. Regardless, the Red and Blue will look to build upon a strong start.

The men team, on the other hand, will look to bounce back from a tough early season loss that came down to the final event of the meet. UConn was able to just finish 6 points ahead of the Red and Blue last weekend after claiming 11 points in the 200 freestyle relay. In the loss, the Quakers demonstrated a lot of reason for optimism about this year, which could translate to some strong performances against Columbia this weekend as well.

Like the women, the Penn men boast some young talent, including freshman Kevin Su who took first place in the 200 free last weekend. Furthermore, the men’s senior captain Rhoads Worster, much like Fortin for the women, is always somebody to pay attention to during competitions, especially in the individual backstroke and butterfly events. Worster provides consistent performance, which is a necessary component of a good team.

“We’re going to have to beat [Columbia] up pretty solidly in breaststroke and distance freestyle. If we can do that, it puts us in a position to maybe overcome some of their strengths.”

Penn’s men will look to come up with their first victory of the season and dispatch an Ivy League rival this weekend, which should make for an exciting meet in front of a home crowd at Penn.

Schnur referred to these meets as a “good challenge,” so the Quakers will have a chance to prove themselves as serious contenders in the Ivy League this weekend.

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