Swimmers avenge ’06 loss to Quakers

Any revenge against Penn would have been sweet. But revenge in the confines of Sheerr Pool, in the heart of West Philadelphia, was even sweeter.

Both the men’s and women’s swim teams beat Penn and Dartmouth at the double dual meet on Saturday, but the highlight of the weekend was the women’s victory over Penn, to whom the Elis lost an extremely close meet last year. Though the meet was tough, the Bulldogs pulled through, 168-132, giving the Quakers a taste of their own medicine.

Backstrokers blast off on the final day of the Nutmeg Classic at Kiphuth Pool on Dec. 4, 2005. Both men and women’s squads had perfect weekends in Philadelphia.
Paul Goehrke
Backstrokers blast off on the final day of the Nutmeg Classic at Kiphuth Pool on Dec. 4, 2005. Both men and women’s squads had perfect weekends in Philadelphia.

Captain Meg Gill ’07 said the entire team, especially the upperclassmen who faced the tough loss last year, was excited for the meet and had been looking forward to it all season. Gill, who placed first in the 100-yard butterfly and was part of the winning 200-yard medley relay team, said the team concentrated on dominating the earlier events, as evidenced by its first place finishes in the first three events — the 200 medley relay, 1,000-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle.

“There was a huge change of events from last year,” Gill said. “Last year, they shut us out and had gone one-two-three on us right at the beginning, so we knew we couldn’t let that happen again. This time, we focused on the earlier events and broke their confidence early, which helped our own confidence.”

The first individual win came from distance swimmer Caroline Dowd ’08, whose time of 10:17.41 in the 1,000 free was a new personal best, improving on her previous time by five seconds. Other notable performances came from Jane Kim ’10, who won the 100- and 200-yard freestyle events, and Susan Kim ’10, who had top finishes in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events. Moira McCloskey ’07 set a new pool record in the 200 individual medley with her winning time of 2:06.33, and she also had second-place finishes in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke events.

The women’s success may have had something to do with the support they received from their male counterparts. After the men’s team had confirmed its victory with a dominating 150-point total halfway through the meet, the Elis started focusing their attention on the women’s races, team members said.

“I think that a lot of guys’ effort went to supporting the girls,” said Alex Righi ’09, who won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. “We knew we had a good chance of winning, so our concentration went to cheering on the girls because we wanted them to win.”

The men’s team dominated the pool with their victories over Penn (196.5-102.5) and Dartmouth (217-78), and Bulldogs earned top spots in 13 of the 16 events. Multiple wins came from Chris Pool ’09, who placed first in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly events and also from Dennen McCloskey ’09, who won the 1,000 free and 200 back events. The 200 breaststroke event showcased the team’s depth with four Bulldogs finishing in the top five spots, including a first place finish from Craig Steen ’10.

Relays were also a strong point as the men placed first in the 200 medley and the 400 free relays. The winning 200 medley relay team, consisting of Righi, Colin Stalnecker ’08, Pool and captain Geof Zann ’07, set a pool record with their time of 1:32.53, almost three seconds ahead of the next team.

“We felt confident about the meet, and we performed pretty well considering that we didn’t rest much for it,” Zann said. “Coming off the tough loss to Cornell last week, we wanted to prove to that we are a team to be reckoned with.”

The women’s team is now at an impressive 4-0, and the men’s team is 4-1 in the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League. Bulldogs will continue Ivy competition against Brown this weekend, a meet which team members said will be especially significant since it will be the seniors’ last home meet and a chance for their commitment to be recognized.

The home meet against Brown will begin at noon this Saturday at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool.

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