They often say that performing down the home stretch is one of the hardest things for any team to accomplish in sports.
On Friday, Penn swimming did just that.
The Red and Blue came out on top over Army West Point in convincing fashion. The women won, 172.5-121.5, and the men took a 177-118 decision.
The sweep followed the Penn men’s (5-4) loss to the Harvard men and the women’s (5-5) loss to the Brown and Harvard women at their final Ivy League meet. Despite Friday's result, Penn coach Mike Schnur didn't hold back in praising the Black Knights' men (8-3) and women (6-4).
“The meet was a great opportunity to swim against a team that we have so much respect for—great people, great athletes and people defending our country,” Schnur said.
On top of winning events, junior Mark Andrew had a hand in two new pool records. Andrew's time of 3:56.56 set a new one in the 400-yard individual medley, and the Quakers’ 200 freestyle relay team of Andrew, freshman Nathaniel Cunnan, junior Mark Blinstrub and junior Thomas Dillinger set the other at 1:21.35.
“The guys competed well and it’s always nice to break pool records. The women swam their best meet this semester. It was, on the whole, a great team effort,” Schnur said.
The Penn women started off on a great note, winning the meet-opening 200 medley relay. They would go on to win 10 individual events. Senior Virginia Burns was a two-time winner, in the 100 and 200 free (52.89 and 1:52.37). Freshman Quinn Scannell won the 100 backstroke in 56.78 seconds, and was part of the winning medley relay team along with freshman Vicky Wong and sophomores Linda Zhang and Wendy Yang. Other notable performances came in victories from juniors Erin Kiely (500 freestyle), Madison Visco (400 IM) and Nancy Hu (200 butterfly), senior Ryan Alexander (200 backstroke), and sophomore Serena Xue (200 backstroke).
Penn also managed to sweep the top three spots in the 3-meter diving event as freshman Madison Perry finished in first (281.93 points), freshman Juliette Pozzuoli finished in second and senior Maggie Heller in third.
Meanwhile, the men won 14 total events. Blinstrub swept the backstroke events, posting 49.95 seconds in the 100 and 1:50.40 in the 200. Freshman Sean Lee swept the butterfly events, taking both the 100 (49.20) and the 200 (1:51:26). Dillinger was victorious in both the 50 free (20.69) and the 100 free (45.68).
In addition, the Penn men were successful in the breaststroke events, behind good performances from junior Colin McHugh and freshman Boris Yang. Other notable performances came from freshman Will Thomas (500 freestyle) and sophomore John-Michael Diveris (1-meter and 3-meter diving).
“From this performance, you could see the value of cutting back. We’re a very good home team, and since most of the team is so young, they have to learn how to be as good as they are at home on the road,” Schnur said.
The Red and Blue look to replicate their performance in their final dual-meet against West Chester next Friday. Accruing more momentum can only serve them well before they head into the Ivy League Championships, where the men and women hope to match last year’s respectively historic second-place and fourth-place finishes.
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