After promising performances the past two weekends, Penn swimming and diving is hoping to continue its success in its first Ivy League tri-meet of the season this coming Saturday.
In their previous dual meet against Villanova, the Quakers pounced on the Wildcats, and both the men and women’s teams came out with convincing victories by scores of 176.5-118.5 and 160-140, respectively. Although Penn was apprehensive about facing the strong and talented women’s team of Villanova, the Red and Blue came out on top even without an appearance from sophomore Nancy Hu, who is a standout in the 200-yard butterfly event.
The big names on the team sheet impressively dominated various events in Villanova. Senior captains Rochelle Dong and Kevin Su placed first in the women’s 50-yard freestyle and men’s 200-yard freestyle. Sophomore Thomas Dillinger, after a strong performance in the prior meet, placed first in the men’s 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:52.19.
In its first conference tri-meet, Penn will head up to Ithaca to face Cornell and Princeton. The Red and Blue have already faced an Ivy League opponent — Columbia — and although the men’s team was edged out by only four points against the Lions, the women’s side proved to be a formidable force, winning 173.5-126.5.
In the past few seasons, Penn and Cornell have had seemingly equal results against each other. However, Princeton, whose men’s side won the conference title with a perfect record last season while the women’s side placed second, has proven to be a difficult challenge for the Quakers in the previous years. Penn needs to produce its best effort if the team wants to come out with a victory against the Tigers.
Penn coach Mike Schnur is confident in his own team’s ability for this weekend. “Traditionally, this is one of the fastest and closest meets we have all season,” Schnur said. “It will be a very competitive meet all around and any of the three teams are capable of beating each other.
“On the men’s side, we probably won’t come up against anything nastier than we did versus Columbia in our first meet. They were incredibly fast and barely beat us. However, I think that we are heavily prepared to face Princeton and Cornell and are aware of the challenge for both our teams.”
Something important that Schnur has also been looking after is how the freshmen in the squad acclimate into the team and matches, and this conference meet against last year’s champions might show how prepared the new swimmers are.
“They have had two meets under their belts already, and this upcoming one will help them understand more about the difficulty and pace of tri-meets.”
Senior Wes Thomas was also glad to see that the new team members are fitting in well. “I think that they have figured out what college swimming is all about and have had good impressions about what the atmosphere in meets are like,” Thomas said.
“Princeton and Cornell will be a huge meet for us, and the entire team is looking forward to make progress as a whole. We are ready to step up against either side and are not intimidated.”