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Men’s & Women’s Swimming & Diving Close Regular Season With Optimism Despite Losses

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By Mary Barger

After several months of hard training and dual meet competition, the men’s & women’s swimming & diving teams brought their regular seasons to a close in Providence, R.I. a few weekends ago. Both teams competed against Brown for their final dual meets of the season before the Ivy Championships, but did not obtain the wins each squad sought.

The men’s team fell to the Bears 184-99, giving the team a 2-6 overall record and a 1-6 Ivy League record for the season, while the Women likewise fell, 200-100, against the Bears, with a 4-6 overall record and a 2-5 Ivy League record.

Brown proved a disappointing loss for the Red, but both teams are looking ahead to the Ivy League Championships in mid-February with excitement and anticipation.

“Guys on our team have progressively gotten faster — if you look at the times they went in November, early January, late January — they’ve been progressively getting faster,” said men’s head coach Wes Newman. “From that standpoint, I’m definitely very happy with how they’ve done, and I’m very confident with how well the team has swam come the Ivy Championship Meet.”

Newman and women’s head coach Pat Gallagher both expressed satisfaction with the upward trajectories their teams have followed throughout the season.

“I’m very satisfied,” Gallagher said. “I think we’re in a really good place two and a half weeks before Ivy’s.”

While neither team came away with the victory at Brown, both saw some impressive performances which bode well for the upcoming championships, especially considering the impacts that the tapering process will have on team performance.

“At this point all the hard work is done,” Newman said. “Now we’ll really start to give the swimmers and athletes some rest — not really having morning practices, letting them sleep in, practices will get a little bit shorter.”

After several weeks of tapering, Newman and Gallagher hope to see all the intensive training their athletes have put in throughout the season pay off with sharp, rested performances at the Ivy Championships.

Adrian Boteanu / Sun Staff Photographer

Adrian Boteanu / Sun Staff Photographer

Gallagher said his team would be focused on “details and rest, maybe not in that order,” in the upcoming weeks before Ivy’s. The team will focus on details such as relay starts in order to fine tune its performances, working to shave off milliseconds that could make or break close races.

“The past month or so we have been putting in a lot of good work during practices each day,” said women’s captain Cari Stankaitis. “Now, as we head into taper, we are going to be paying even more attention to detail and focusing on putting everything together to get as close to a technically perfect race as possible. This, in addition to our competitive drive, will help us to reach our potential at Ivy’s.”

For seniors such as Stankaitis who have dedicated thousands of hours of training, travelling and competing, this Ivy League Championship is the culmination of years of work, and potentially the last time they will compete for the Big Red.

The women’s team will graduate seven athletes following the 2016-2017 season, while the men’s team will graduate only three.

Both teams will enter championships in a few weeks primed and ready to compete, with months of training under their belts and the determination to show the Ivy League where they really stand.

“Our main focus is obviously to place as highly as possible, and we are aiming to place higher than last year,” said men’s senior captain David Zurmuhl. “Our team has moved up in the league every year since I got to Cornell, and we want to continue that trend.”

The Ivy League Championships will be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool. The women will compete Feb. 16 through 18, and the men from Feb. 23 to 25.

Read more articles in the Winter Sports Supplement here.

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