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Despite being part of the 400 freestyle relay team that won at last year's Ivy Championship, junior Thomas Dillinger is competing in a different event this year.

Credit: File Photo

It takes a team. 

With the Ivy League Championships quickly approaching, Penn men's swimming and diving has been actively preparing and building confidence for the meet next Thursday. 

The Red and Blue (6-4, 2-4 Ivy) will certainly need to swim as well as they have all season to achieve their ultimate goal and claim the title. 

And the team expects to do just that. 

"I expect the team to compete the best they have all year and to the best of their ability," coach Mike Schnur said.  

The Quakers have been led the past two seasons by junior Mark Andrew, who earned All-American honors a year ago while winning the 200 and 400-yard individual medleys at the 2017 Ivy League Championships.

Penn will certainly count on Andrew to continue his excellence and look to other upperclassmen to lead the way, as well. 

The upperclassmen have experienced the Ivy League Championships over the past couple seasons and understand what is needed to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Penn will rely on junior Thomas Dillinger to compete for championships again this season as he was a member of 400 freestyle relay team that took second place at the Championships last year. 

Dillinger looks to take on a new challenge this season, as he will not compete in the 400 free this time around. Instead, Dillinger will represent Penn in the 100 breaststroke, an event in which he has significantly less experience. 

"The preparation for this meet is ongoing throughout the course of the year," Dillinger said. "We've recently had more time and the mental capacity to think about each stroke and how we need to finish." 

The Quakers will also lean on senior CJ Schaffer as he looks to continue his success from last year's finale, where he was a member of the 200 individual medley relay team that broke the program record. 

While individual accomplishments and accolades are great, each swimmer knows the true importance of having a team-first mentality, and everyone is confident in one another.

"They're all contenders and we have a great group and I look forward to seeing them all compete with one another," Schnur said. 

Each member of the team has worked for the opportunity that stands before them and they have not held back at any point this season. The Ivy League title has remained the focus for the Red and Blue to this point in the season and has truly inspired the team every step of the way. 

"We always have our eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel and it's easy to push through fatigue, especially when our whole team is vying for the same goal," Schaffer said. "We will race our hearts out and we're ready to swim." 

The Quakers are confident they have what it takes to finish the season as Ivy League Champions as the team stands behind and truly supports one another.