Looks like all the hard work is done.
Penn swimming and diving capped off its regular season with dual wins over West Chester last Friday. The trip was a short one for the Quakers, with the Golden Rams being one of many local opponents they have faced over the course of the year.
In November, the Red and Blue cruised to wins over La Salle and Villanova, and the narrative stayed the same against West Chester.
The women (8-3, 4-3 Ivy) had little trouble against the Golden Rams (6-3), who had won four straight before hosting Penn.
The result was virtually the same on the men’s side as the Quakers (8-3, 4-3) handed West Chester (6-4) a 163-129 loss.
With this being the last meet before Ivy Championships for both Red and Blue sides, the individual results will serve as important metrics to see who ultimately wins a spot on the conference team.
“We had a lot of people in the position where we’re choosing between them,” coach Mike Schnur said. “Sometimes people really step up.”
In the men’s meet, all eyes were on the rivalry that formed between two of the teams’ top swimmers: Penn’s Kevin Su and West Chester’s Victor Polyakov.
In the 100-yard freestyle, Su and Polyakov’s race came down to .12 seconds, with the Penn senior ultimately coming out on top.
“To race against a guy like Polyakov is a good opportunity this time of year,” Schnur said. “He would certainly be one of the best players on our team as well.”
The Russian native and NCAA DII Champion was similarly close to topping Su in the 200-yard freestyle, but the Penn captain once again handed his team the nine points from his victory.
Things did not go as well for the men in breaststroke as West Chester senior Mike Oliver outswam his Red and Blue counterparts in both the 100-yard and 200-yard events, but the Quakers had little difficulty making up for those losses with strength in long-distance and diving.
For the women, the spectacle came from junior Sydney Tan, who narrowly missed the pool record in the 200-yard breaststroke.
“She had her best swim meet she’s ever swam,” Schnur said.
The Quakers made their mark in the short races, particularly in the 100-yard breastroke where Penn swimmers filled all of the top three places.
One other notable performer on the day was senior Michael Wen, who made the most of his final regular season meet by taking wins in both the 100 and 200-yard butterfly.
There are not a lot of Division II teams listed on the Red and Blue’s schedule, but West Chester is one of the names that has shown up consistently in recent years.
“They go through cycles where their team will be really, really good and then they will struggle a couple years, and then they’re really, really good,” Schnur said. “They’re the best local team we compete against, especially on the men’s side.”
The intensity of competition, however, is set to reach a whole new level with Ivy League Championships and then ECAC Championships soon after.
According the Schnur, the foundation has been laid, and the team will start winding down its season with lighter practices and more emphasis on recovery.
“All the hard work is already done,” Schnur said. “Now we just bring it out by resting a little bit.”
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