Though the Quakers haven’t won the Eastern College Athletic Conference title since 2013, this Sunday's third-place finish at the event marked one of their best performances of the year. The team's total of 193.925 was a nice way to send off the team's seniors.
Temple finished in first with a 194.750 while Yale added a 194.400 in what was a tight finish.
While Penn didn't bring back a team championship, sophomore Allison Frommer took home an individual ECAC title with a career-best 9.825 on the bars.
Penn led all teams on bars with a total of 48.550, but it was the floor exercise where Yale and Temple distanced themselves, as the Owls and Bulldogs notched 48.850 and 48.825, respectively, compared to the Red and Blue’s 48.000 in the event.
Penn started the day with a subpar performance in the floor exercise — as every individual finish was outside the top 10 — but the rest of the meet featured fantastic individual performances.
Sophomore Darcy Matsuda and senior Nicole Swirbalus each tallied a 9.875 on the beam, both notching individual career highs. The team total of 49.125 tied the program’s all-time record.
“Overall, beam was just really fun. I think there was really positive energy and we were all building off each other, so it was a great experience, and I’m really happy that was my last routine,” Swirbalus said.
Penn continued to show strength in its depth as senior Valerie Rube finished fourth in the vault with her own career-best of 9.750.
“We did a lot of pressure sets, so it felt a lot more like what competition feels like, so I felt more prepared. … [With pressure sets] in the gym, we would mimic how competition would feel and we would perform in front of the entire team,” Frommer said.
In the end, the floor exercise became the Achilles heel for the Quakers. Throughout the season, however, the floor exercise has been one of the strongest, most notably at the Teal Meet and at William and Mary, where a solid ending performance in the event gave them the push to win both competitions.
The Red and Blue ended the day with a bitter-sweet feeling as they said goodbye to their four senior leaders — Rube, Moore, Morgan Hunker, and Swirbalus. However, these graduating members can still use the experience of the last four years as a tool moving forward.
“I’ve learned to be resilient and bounce back from failure. ... Something else I’ll take with me is the friendships that I’ve made because my teammates are my best friends and that’s something I’m going to miss, but I know we’re friends for life,” Swirbalus said.
Swirbalus qualified for multiple USAG Individual Championships, and was a USAG first-team All-American her sophomore year. Moore was captain for the past three seasons and competed at USAG Nationals. Rube also served as captain during the 2019 season, while also being placed on the ECAC All-Academic Team the past three years.
Despite the loss of the four seniors, the squad is primed to be back and competitive in the Ivy League and ECAC.