Penn’s swim team put on a whale of a performance at the Zippy Invitational this weekend, with several swimmers setting record times.
Akron’s pools were taken over by the Red and Blue, with the men retaining their pole position from last year in dominant fashion, and the women securing an impressive third-place finish.
The men were the only team that surpassed the 2000-point mark, comfortably defeating second-place Cornell by over 100 points.
Sophomore Matt Fallon had a special Sunday, leading the Quakers by recording an incredible NCAA A-cut timing of 1:50.28 in the 200-yard breaststroke.
“He has the fastest time in America right now,” Penn coach Mike Schnur said. “His 200 breast yesterday is ahead of every other person swimming the event this entire season. One of our biggest goals was to get his NCAA cut out of the way now.”
The men’s team proved monstrous individual performances, claiming multiple accolades. Junior Jason Schreiber and senior Neil Simpson posted B-Cut timings, finishing second and third behind Fallon in the 200 breast, while junior Andrew Dai ran his competition ragged in the 200-yard butterfly, winning the event with a meet and pool record.
Junior Ben Feldman put on a splendid showing throughout the event, capping it with a 100 free victory, leveling the meet and pool record. Notably, freshman James Curreri and sophomore Daniel Gallagher cleared the NCAA B-cut timings in the 200 backstroke.
The women’s team also set a solid outing, with standout performances from senior Anna Kalandadze and sophomore Izzy Pytel.
Pytel broke Penn’s record for the 200-yard breaststroke with a rapid time of 2:13.98, and Kalandadze continued her impressive form in the 1650 freestyle, claiming the first place with an NCAA B-cut timing of 16:07.95 and beating her nearest competitor by 21 seconds.
“She's [Kalandadze] number six in the country right now, which is one of the highest positions anybody on our team has ever had,” Schnur said. “She’ll qualify for the NCAA as well, so it's a pretty impressive weekend for her.”
The Red and Blue ruled the 1650-yard free. Senior Catherine Buroker and freshman Sydney Bergstrom finished second and third behind Kalandadze, and senior Lyndsey Reeve claimed the fifth spot.
“They raced a lot of times. This was a meet where you're allowed to swim a lot more events than you would at our conference championship. And I saw that competitiveness in a lot of them,” Schnur said. “I had a lot of ladies stepping up and swimming two or three times a day, even though they usually swim just once a day.”
The Zippy Invitational also serves as preparation for the Ivies, and the team has been focused on individual growth as a method to ensure success.
“The only goals that we have for the rest of the season are to help each kid get faster and have every person on our team improve,” Schnur said. “As long as we accomplish that, our team placings will take care of themselves."
“We have a lot of talented kids on our team. We can finish high at both our conference meets and the NCAA. We just have to try to get everybody to reach their potential and we'll be fine as a team.”