While everyone was relaxing during winter break, there was no time off for Penn swimming and diving, as both the men’s and women’s teams took on Dartmouth and Yale in their second Ivy League Tri-Meet of the season. Both Penn squads had eerily similar results on the weekend, each handily defeating Dartmouth but falling to Yale in the Bulldogs’ home pool.
On the men’s side, the Quakers (6-2, 3-2 Ivy), recently ranked 23rd nationally by SwimSwam News, comfortably defeated Dartmouth (0-5, 0-4) by a score of 223-66 but were barely upset by unranked Yale (8-0, 4-0), 156-144. Yale also defeated Dartmouth 252-48.
The diving events began on Friday night. Sophomore Andrew Bologna secured second place in the 1-meter dive, with a score of 279.95, and freshman John-Michael Diveris finished third in the 3-meter dive, earning a score of 252.95.
Yale took control on the beginning of Saturday, taking the first four swimming events. However, sophomore Colin McHugh, who won the 100-yard backstroke (56.40), and senior Grant Proctor, who won the 200-yard backstroke (1:50.74), were standouts for the Quakers.
Helping keep Penn afloat in the battle of unbeaten squads, sophomore Thomas Dillinger had an outstanding meet. He won the 100-yard freestyle (44.82) and the 200-yard breaststroke (2:01.13), and finished second in the 200-yard individual medley (1:49.03).
Overall, the Quakers won six events in the second day of the meet, capped off by the 400-yard free relay, won by seniors Kevin Suh, Zach Fisher, and Jimmy Jameson, and sophomore Mark Andrew. But these efforts just barely weren’t enough to knock off the Bulldogs, whose early lead was simply too much to overcome in a strong early season test for both teams.
Meanwhile, things weren’t quite as competitive for the Red and Blue women (6-2, 3-2), which fell to powerhouse Yale (11-0, 5-0) by a score of 221-79 but were able to comfortably top last-place Dartmouth (0-5, 0-4) to salvage a split on the weekend.
The dominant Bulldogs ensured that they would keep their undefeated record intact from the start, winning each of the first ten swimming events to put the Quakers and Big Green in a hole too massive to overcome.
But Penn junior and two-time defending Ivy League 500 free champion Virginia Burns wouldn’t be intimidated by the strong competition, taking first place in her specialty event and being closely followed by sophomore Madison Visco as the Red and Blue were able to take the top two spots there.
Although that would be Penn’s only event win on the weekend, Burns continued to be a bright spot throughout the competition, taking second place behind Yale’s Kina Zhou in the 200 free and anchoring Penn’s 4x100 free relay team – also including sophomore Mary Whiting, freshman Meredith Newman and junior Kimberly Phan – to second place behind the juggernaut Yale squad.
Beyond Burns’ stellar individual effort, the Red and Blue also saw strong showings from junior Sydney Tan, who took second place behind Yale freshman phenom Cha O’Leary in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke races, and sophomore Nancy Hu, who fell by just 0.43 seconds to Yale’s Sydney Hirschi in the 200 fly.
On the men’s side, Harvard and Yale remain undefeated at the top of the Ivy League standings, with Brown (5-1, 2-1) also just ahead of the Quakers. The women’s standings are nearly a mirror image, with Harvard and Yale also unbeaten in conference play there while the Red and Blue currently sit in fifth.
Fortunately, both teams will soon get another chance to knock off an Ivy League powerhouse, hosting their third Ivy League Tri-Meet of the season against Harvard and Brown on January 14. The men’s and women’s team will look to defend their home pool and give their Crimson counterparts their first losses of the Ivy League season.