With the calendar year coming to a close, Penn men’s and women’s swimming will head south with the hopes of igniting their season.
For their final meet of 2018, the Quakers will take on Tennessee, Duke, Penn State, Denver, and Carson-Newman at the Tennessee Invitational this week. The host Volunteers are the favorites, ranked No. 9 and No. 10 for women and men respectively.
The Quakers have had a solid start to the season on the men’s side (4-1, 2-1 Ivy), losing only to Princeton on Nov. 17. They have been led by excellent performances from senior Mark Andrew and sophomore Boris Yang, both of whom won events in the team’s last meet at Cornell. A few young Quakers also had strong showings at that meet, with freshmen CJ Hinckley and Jacob Furlong placing first and second respectively in the 500-yard freestyle.
The Red and Blue have also started the season with strong diving, as Penn took both second and third place at Cornell.
Penn seeks to avenge a narrow defeat last year to the same teams in this invitational, as the Quakers previously finished third behind Tennessee and Denver. Andrew, who performed exceptionally well at Cornell, was victorious last year and hopes to continue his success this week.
The women’s team (1-4, 0-3) has had a less successful start to the season but has nevertheless illustrated promise. At Cornell, the Quakers had several positive finishes, with 11 swimmers placing in the top three in an event. Furthermore, this year’s team has proven to have some exceptional endurance swimmers; the team swept the 1000 free at each of its meets so far this season.
The Red and Blue had a difficult time at the Tennessee Invitational last year with only four finishes in the top 10. With the graduation of Virginia Burns, who had second and fourth place finishes last year, the Quakers’ young talent will need to step up in order to keep up with the fierce competition.
This meet will be an indicator of how Penn swimming ranks against some of the nation’s best swimmers. If Penn can pull off wins against tough opponents like Tennessee, Denver, and Duke, it will be a major sign of encouragement for the Quakers going forward.