For the men’s and women’s swimming teams, a week of highs against Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania two weeks ago was followed by a week of lows.
In this weekend’s meet against Harvard and Princeton in Cambridge, Mass., both Eli teams lost by significant margins to their Ivy League rivals. The men fell to the Crimson 251-102 and to the Tigers 253-100. The women fared no better, scoring 87 points to Harvard’s 232 and 110 points to Princeton’s 209. Princeton was the overall winner in both the men’s and women’s meets.
“I think overall, it went about as well as I was expecting,” captain Alex Righi ’09 said. “Harvard and Princeton always show up and swim well. They have a lot more depth and talent than we do. And that poses a big obstacle for the team.”
Harvard and Princeton’s domination was apparent. The men could only muster up four first-place finishes, while last week the team had 11 first-place finishes against Dartmouth and Penn. Righi had three of the first place finishes in the 100-yd backstroke (47.96), the 50-yd freestyle (20.12) and the 100-yd freestyle (42.71). Diver Drew Teer ’10 had the team’s other first-place finish in the 3-meter diving (296.10).
But despite suffering a crushing defeat to the Crimson and the Tigers, Righi explained that many swimmers did well overall against the tough competition.
He also noted that Zak Murez ’11 did especially well, putting up career bests in all of his events. “Murez got best times in all of his events and really showed that he should be member of this team so that was a major positive,” Righi said.
Some of the events Murez competed in were the 100-yd freestyle (47.82) and the 100-yd breaststroke (57.81) as well as in the 400-yd medley relay (3:26.08) and the 400-yd freestyle relay “B” team (3:10.55). Murez said he attributes his recent success to training well this season and finally being rested up for this meet. The team had a two-week break after their last meet against Dartmouth and Penn. And even with his significant improvement this season, Murez said that the team still needs to improve in order to remain competitive at the Ivy-league Championships.
“We’re going to have to work hard and see what happens when it comes down to it,” he said. “[Harvard and Princeton are] both extremely good teams, and we have a long way to go to get up there and race with them.”
Righi had similar sentiments. “I think our distance swimmers can make improvements,” he said. “I think we just have some holes in our rosters that need filling, our IMs and breaststrokes. Just all across the board we need to make improvements and it just shows that we need to concentration on those areas for the next month.”
On the women’s side, depth and talent on the Crimson’s and Tiger’s sides were no more competitive than for the men.
“Harvard and Princeton have very strong squads this year,” captain Aidan McKinlay ’09 said. “We were expecting them to outperform us.”
Susan Kim ’10 was the only Eli to take first place in an event this week. She won the 200-yd breaststroke (2:15.08) and took second in the 100-yd breaststroke (1:03.29), with teammate Marilee Kiernan ’09 placing just behind her with a time of 1:05.22. Diver Rachel Rosenberg ’12 also placed high in the meet, taking second in the 1-meter diving (260.65).
McKinlay also noted that Ileana Lucos ’11 had a great performance after breaking a previous team record in the 200-yd butterfly set by Hayes Hyde ’12 at the University of Virginia Invitational earlier in the season. Lucos finished the event with a time of 2:00.56.
Both teams compete next at the University of Connecticut this weekend and then at Brown the following week before competing at the Ivy League Championships. Righi said that Harvard and Princeton will be the teams to beat at that meet.
“I think just the recruiting efforts and a number of different factors go into it,” he said about the two teams’ dominance. “They just have more depth. I think that this is the way it’s played out over the past few years and they both have pretty big teams and good coaches.”
But Righi said he does not want his team to be worried about getting beaten by Harvard and Princeton.
“This meet showed us where we’re weak and what we need to do in the next month,” he concluded. “I’m not going to be satisfied with third place when we have the opportunity to get second.”
For the women, McKinlay remains positive about the championships. “The team’s performance at H-Y-P sets us up well for Ivy League Championships,” she said. “At this point our goal of finishing third at this meet is definitely within reach.”