This weekend, Penn swimming and diving takes on two Ivy League rivals in the first tri-meet of the year.
The men’s team (1-1, 0-1 Ivy) will take on Princeton (0-0) and Cornell (1-1, 1-0) first on Friday, with the women’s team (1-1, 1-0) also competing against the Tigers (2-2, 0-0) and Big Red (1-1, 0-1) shortly afterwards on Saturday. Both Penn teams come into this weekend at .500, and are looking to make a statement and gain confidence early in the season.
“That’s why this is such a big meet for us,” men's junior Colin McHugh said. “Getting a win against Princeton would be a good motivator for us, to know that we can still shoot for that top three at the end of the year.”
Women's junior Nancy Hu echoed McHugh's sentiment, expressing how the meet would factor into the team’s long-term goals for the season.
“[A] long term goal that we have is that we really want to be top three at Ivy,” Hu said. “I think in particular [against] Princeton, we’re always like neck and neck with them, so this meet will just give us kind of an indicator of how close we are to achieving that goal.”
The "top three" goal, for both the men and women, is no arbitrary barrier. Penn's women finished in fourth place in the league last season — a spot behind Princeton — which was a tie for the Quakers' best ever finish in Ivy competition. The men, aided by the Tigers' controversial decision to cancel their season a year ago, came in second place, their own best finish in north of 40 years.
But as far as this weekend itself is concerned, Hu expects the Quakers to be focused prepared to race their hardest.
“I think we’re just sticking to our own plan,” Hu said. “We’re not really like so focused on each win or loss as they come, we’re just trying to go out there and race and see what everyone can do.”
Both teams will certainly be working very hard this weekend, especially given their tough preparation every week to prepare. The teams have worked hard following losses in the past few weeks in order to be ready for the Tigers and Big Red.
“I think we’re gonna carry in our work ethic,” McHugh said. “After that loss against Columbia, we have to accept that and evaluate our team and see what we have to work on to get better.”
Due to all the hard work they've put in, even though the season has still just begun, the Quakers have already established strong team chemistry and compete as a cohesive, supportive group.
“We’ve always been very supportive of each other, but I think that everyone’s doing a very good job of staying positive even though we’re exhausted all the time,” McHugh said. “To know, at the end of the day, you’re doing this for your team, is very humbling.”
Even though the competition will be stiff this weekend, both the men’s and women’s teams are more than ready to make a splash at Sheerr Pool this weekend.