While the majority of Penn students were safe indoors, Penn swimming spent the last few days of their winter break trekking through New England in a blizzard.
This past weekend, the Quakers faced Ivy League foes Dartmouth and Yale in Hanover, N.H., and the craze of winter traveling seemed to have an effect on their performance. Both the men’s and women’s teams experienced an inconsistent meet, picking up wins against host Dartmouth, 249-104 and 235-118 respectively, but suffering big losses to Yale, 123-230 and 80-273 respectively.
Penn swimming and diving coach Mike Schnur attributed the up-and-down weekend to travel fatigue and inexperience. Many freshmen never had to deal with this amount of travel before entering the collegiate level, and right off the bat, the new Quakers had to make a trip through a snowstorm to reach Hanover as their flight arrangements proved to be an exhausting hassle.
On the first day of the meet, it appeared that the flights and bus rides had taken a toll on the Quakers. The men (4-3, 2-3 Ivy) only took two top spots — both achieved by junior Mark Andrew in the 200-yard freestyle and the 200 individual medley — and the women (4-3, 3-2) only secured one first-place finish by freshman Quinn Scannell in the 100 backstroke. Andrew finished with times of 1:39.95 and 1:51.29 respectively, while Scannell swam in 55.97.
For comparison, Yale had 16 first-place wins out of 20 events on the same day. Penn also racked up one disqualification on Saturday.
The second day, however, showcased steady improvement from the downtrodden group. With two fewer events that day, the Quakers managed to secure four top finishes in the men’s 200 medley relay, the men’s 400 IM, the men’s 200 backstroke, and the women’s 500 freestyle.
Two major highlights and rallying points for Penn were Virginia Burns’ and Mark Andrew’s pool record-breaking swims in the women’s 500 freestyle with a time of 4:55.30 and the men’s 400 IM with a time of 3:55.84.
Given the hiccup of traveling, Penn’s performance indicates a solid group of swimmers in need of experience and more training. That’s exactly what Schnur chalked it up to, adding that during the same time next year Penn will be competing at home rather than having to brave the weather further north.
This upcoming weekend, Penn will be having another Ivy tri-meet with Brown and Harvard in Providence, R.I.
The Quakers will hope to see more success, with more time in the water and less in the snow on the horizon.