Weekend Wrap

Several Penn sports teams and athletes had opportunities to capture season-defining victories over the weekend. It's not every weekend that the Quakers take on a No. 1 ranked team, or that a freshman swimmer competes at the NCAA Championships. Those settings, combined with Ivy League openers for both the men's and women's tennis teams, as well as the baseball and softball squads, allowed for the Red and Blue to be well-represented this weekend. For coverage of these matchups and more, here's this week's edition of the Weekend Wrap:

Baseball: After a competitive non-conference schedule, the Penn baseball team kicked off its Ivy League season with a doubleheader sweep of Dartmouth on Saturday. Both games ended in 3-2 victories for the Quakers. On Sunday, the Red and Blue went up against Harvard, capturing the day's first game, 4-1, before the second game was eventually postponed due to rain. After play resumed Monday, the Crimson struck for three runs in the ninth, and handed Penn its first Ivy loss of 2013.

 

Penn baseball proves non-Ivy success no fluke

 

BRIEF | Penn baseball can't complete sweep

 

Men's Tennis: Kicking off Ivy League play on Saturday, the Penn men's tennis team fell to Princeton for the sixth straight season, 4-3. Although the matchup was tight throughout, the early loss of the doubles point ended up dooming the Quakers. After the Tigers took a 1-0 lead, the teams split all six singles matches, giving Princeton enough points to caputre the victory.

 

BRIEF | Penn men's tennis suffers another loss to Princeton

Continue reading

The Weekly Splash

The season is officially over for all but two members of both teams.  Junior Shelby Fortin and freshman Chris Swanson both qualified for the NCAA championships that will take place at the end of this month.

The men’s and women’s teams each finished sixth overall, but I don’t think anyone is disappointed with that.  More team records were broken at these meets, than in any other Ivy Championship previously.

The bottom line is the league is getting faster. While many used to mock Ivy swimming, it is now gaining national attention.  Both Princeton and Harvard are ranked in the top 25 teams in the country.

We are now small fish in a big pond – but the bottom line is, even the smallest fish in the big pond can eat the biggest fish in a small pond.

The Weekly Splash

Finally I think we can all see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The season is coming to a close, and for some, it finished this past weekend.

The majority of those who traveled to the Cavalier Invite at Virginia are officially done with the 2012-13 swim season!  There were a lot of fast swims at that meet, which puts the rest of the team in good spirits heading into Ivies.

One of the most surprising turns of events was senior Nick Johnson’s record-breaking performance in the 100-yard backstroke.  Congrats Nick, we will all get to see your name on the board for at least another year!

A select few swimmers who competed at UVA will continue to train over the next week and a half, at which point the final Ivy team spot will be decided.  On the women’s side, the league is weak in breastroke, so the spot will likely go to a breastroker, but anything could happen!

In the mean time, the rest of us are trying to enjoy our extra sleep, as morning practices have ceased and total yardage is dropping more and more by the day.  We are all very anxious to see the results of a long season of hard work.

The Weekly Splash

Although Dori from Finding Nemo tells us to “just keep swimming,” Winter Storm Nemo is what kept the Men’s team from swimming at Harvard on Saturday.  Since nearly all of the roads in Massachusetts were closed, the meet was postponed for a week.

This change in meet scheduling is adding some complications for our coaching staff.  Those swimmers who are not on the Ivy team will travel to the University of Virginia for an invitational meet, the boys on the Ivy team will travel to Harvard for a duel meet, and the women’s Ivy team will remain at Pottruck to train.  Luckily we have three coaches, one for each location!

One spot remains open on the each Ivy team – the final member of each squad will be chosen based on the performances at the UVA invite.  Based on what I am seeing at practice, it is going to be a tough decision!

The Weekly Splash

This weekend marked the last two dual meets for the women’s team. The men will travel to Cambridge on Friday to face Harvard for their final dual meet of the season.

Though dual meets might be over, we still have nearly a month left of training before Ivies.  The swimmers who are not a part of the Ivy team will journey to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville for an invitational meet Feb. 15-16.

For those who are not familiar with the training regimen for a swimmer, I shall explain.  Basically, we swim nine times a week, with seven to eight of these workouts being extraordinarily challenging.  Also most of the team lifts weights in addition to swimming three times a week, those who don’t lift, distance swimmers (such as myself) do a cardio circuit and run during that time.  Lastly, the women’s team also participates in a spin class once a week.

This brutal schedule begins Oct. 1 and continues throughout the season until about two weeks before a swimmer’s final meet.  At this point we cut out all activity outside of the pool, eliminate morning practice, and begin to cut back our yardage significantly.  This process allows the muscle a swimmer has built up all season to recover and prepare for high performance at championships.  It is known as taper and is swimmers favorite time of the season!

So, we are approaching taper and some of those not on the Ivy squad have already begun this glorious time of year.  Waiting for taper is like counting down the days until Christmas.  The end is near and we could not be more ready to see all our hard work pay off!

The Weekly Splash

Though we didn’t have any meets or stay in any ghostly hotels, we were haunted by a very intense week of training that seemed to drag on forever.

Our season is coming to a close in the near future, so this is the time to get in some of our last hard work outs before we begin to rest for Ivies.  Tensions are running high as both the men and women await the announcement of the 18 individuals on either team who will be members of the championship team.

However, some swimmers have nothing to fear.  On the men’s side, freshman Charlie Carr, who is from my hometown (Brewster, NY), just secured his spot on the Ivy team. #Brewsterpride

Carr is now diving in addition to swimming, and since there are only two divers besides Carr and three Ivy spots for divers, he is secure in his position.  Such a diverse athlete - he came here to run, then decided to walk on to the swim team, and is now going to be diving as well.

Other current controversies include the struggles of freshman trying to balance Greek life and athletics.  While this is much easier for the women whose pledging is less intensive, it is nearly impossible for the freshman boys to pledge a frat.  Not wanting to jeopardize a spot on the Ivy team, no men decided to go Greek this year.  However, two of our freshman girls are giving it a shot!

Finally, everyone should check out the event that Penn’s Athletics Eco-Reps and Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership are hosting with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  It will be on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 6pm in Bodek Lounge at Houston Hall.  Speakers will endorse more eco-friendly management of athletic facilities and the role of athletes in this process.

 

The Weekly Splash

This weekend was one of the more eventful travel trips the men’s and women’s teams have experienced, at least in my time here at Penn.

We traveled to Providence, Rhode Island to take on Brown and Harvard at the brand new Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center!  Though the pool is an amazing facility, I cannot say the same for our athletic performances at the venue.  With many of us sick with what our coach is calling “the plague,” we journeyed to Providence missing many key team members leading to our pretty terrible loss to both teams.

The men put up a better fight, but they too ultimately fell to Brown. (SEE RECAP)  Their meet against Harvard is not for another couple of weeks.

Though the loss put a damper on the weekend, we were all still really excited about swimming in the new pool at which men’s Ivies will be hosted during the first weekend in March.

The highlight of the weekend however, was definitely staying in the Biltmore Hotel, or so we thought. Traveling as a team can be expensive, so we do not typically stay in lavish hotels, but this weekend we thought we were living in the lap of luxury because each room had two king-size beds, and huge living room furniture sets and elegant looking décor.  We came to find out that the reason this hotel was so cheap, allowing us to stay there is because it is actually the most haunted hotel in America!  The Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s The Shining was based off this exact hotel.

One of the freshman men said the lights in his room flickered and the coffee pot turned on in the middle of the night.  Thank God I didn’t know about this until we got home, or I wouldn’t have gotten a wink of sleep!

The Weekly Splash

My name is Kristi Edleson and I am both a member of the women’s varsity swim and dive team as well as a DP Sports staff writer.  Beginning today I will be bringing you a weekly splash about what’s going on at Sheerr Pool, located in our very own Pottruck Fitness center.

This past weekend the men’s and women’s teams faced Yale and Dartmouth in our annual tri-meet.  Luckily this year it was home and we did not have to trek nine hours north to Hanover, N.H. – a surefire way to be exhausted and swim far from our best.  The women beat Dartmouth but lost to Yale, as was expected.  However, our male counterparts lost to both teams.

Though we don’t go into a dual meet or tri-meet under the impression that we are going to lose, we do tend to put a lot more emphasis on our end of season league championship meet, which may cost us a win or two over the course of the season.

Next weekend, our teams head up to swim at the brand new pool just built at Brown.  Us ladies will face both Brown and Harvard, while the men will only swim Brown.

Currently practices are really tough as we prepare for the Ivy League championships in eight weeks (nine weeks for the men).  Our head coach Mike Schnur told us every day for the next few weeks is a “try-out” for the Ivy team.  Then men’s and women's team each have over 30 members, but only 18 can go to Ivies – so as always there will be DRAMA.

Extended 30 Seconds – Jeff Cragg

I spoke with Jeff Cragg on Monday for a brief interview on no one topic in particular. Below is the version that was printed. The full minute or so of questions and answers is after the jump.

 

Continue reading

Penn men’s swimming splits final Ivy tri-meet, women go 0-2

The men’s and women’s swim teams are not starting the semester the way they would have liked.

The Red and Blue found themselves facing a tough road test, going up against Dartmouth and Yale in a tri-meet in Hanover, N.H., on Saturday.

On the men’s side, a strong performance by senior Brendan McHugh along with key contributions from younger swimmers was enough to push the Quakers (6-3, 3-3 Ivy) past the Big Green 157.5-142.5, but they were unable to defeat the Bulldogs, falling 188-112.

McHugh showed his dominance once again, placing first in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke while also breaking the pool record in the two events; his time of 2:01.17 in the 200 erased a mark that had stood since 1981.

The Quakers also dominated in the 200 freestyle, with freshmen Sam Ruddy, Konnor Scott and Alex Porter placing second, third and fourth, respectively, each finishing within a quarter second of each other.

Penn finished the day with a second place finish by their 400 freestyle relay, losing to the Elis by less than a half second.

The women’s meet had some last-minute drama, but the Red and Blue were unable to come up with wins, falling to Dartmouth 150-149 and Yale 161-138.

The matchup against Dartmouth came down to the final event, the 400 freestyle relay. Penn’s A team of Tina Hurley, Bernadette D’Alonzo, Samantha Husband and Shelby Fortin finished second behind Yale with a time of 3:28.67, breaking the existing pool record, but finishing just over a second after the Bulldogs (4-6, 2-5 Ivy). The Dartmouth A team claimed third, while the B team was able to outrace Penn’s second squad to capture fourth place and ultimately the meet.

The critical final event had been set up by key performances in numerous events prior, including notable second and third place finishes by seniors Laura Klick and Samantha Husband in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.

Sophomore Shelby Fortin also led the Quakers with two first place finishes in the 200 and 500 free, and a second place finish in the 100 free.

With this meet, the men's and women’s teams finished up their Ivy League seasons. Penn will have three non-conference meets before the Ivy League Championships in early March.