Swimming and diving teams fall to Cornell and Harvard

by Priya Krishna | 11/18/09 11:00pm

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11.19.09.sports.swimming
by JARED BOOKMAN and JARED BOOKMAN / The Dartmouth

In this weekend's season opener, both the men's and women's swimming and diving teams fell to Cornell and Harvard, despite posting a few strong individual performances.

"It was a tough meet, but it was a good meet," co-captain Carolyn Rippe '10 said. "It was a good learning experience for us as a team to really help us get focused for what's to come, so we're better prepared for the coming meets."

On the men's side, the freshmen had a very strong showing at their first collegiate meet.

Albert Roth '13 was the only member of the Big Green to beat both Harvard and Cornell swimmers, taking first place in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 51.25 and finishing third in the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 1:53.61.

Ben Reasons '13 took the top spot in the 100-meter breaststroke, swimming a 1:01.67.

"I think the freshmen did so well because it's their first meet and they were going into it excited, and the excitement helped carry them through," head coach Jim Wilson said. "They came into it with high expectations."

In 400-meter freestyle relay, Elizabeth Kamai '12, Caitlin Foley '13, Isa Guardalabene '13 and Maddie Steiner '11 won first place with a time of 3:36.84, beating Harvard, the defending Ivy League champion.

In diving, standout Erica Serpico '12 again performed well, taking second place in the one-meter with a score of 238.90.

The team went into the meet with high expectations, Rippe said.

"Our goal going into the meet was that we know that Harvard's one of the top competitors in the league, so we wanted to stay with them as much as we could," she said. "Our [other] goal was to beat Cornell."

Wilson said that Cornell's swimmers had a particularly strong performance, allowing the Big Red to edge out Dartmouth in both meets.

"Last year, we beat Cornell, but they came out a lot stronger this year," he said. "You can only control what you can do with your team and not how the other teams swim."

This weekend, the teams will stay at home to take on Brown, Colgate University and Navy at the Karl Michael Pool. Last year at the Ivy championships, the women's team narrowly beat Brown, while the men's team posted a loss.

The team needs to be focused and ready to race on Saturday, Rippe said.

"We need to make sure we become psyched up and ready to go against Brown," Rippe said. "It's going to be another close meet."

Serpico said the women's diving team faces stiff competition from Brown's top diver, Katie Olko.

"[She] is pretty tough, but we have a history of beating her," she said.

Wilson said he is confident in the team's ability to improve for the meet.

"These [meets] are stepping stones to see how the training is going and what we need to improve to do certain things," he said. "Everybody's a little tired getting a little bit of rest will help."

Still, the team is keeping its eye on the prize: the Ivy championships, held in mid-winter.

"My season goal is to achieve personal best times in my events by the end of the season," Rippe said. "As a team, our goal is to finish sixth or better in the Ivy League."

Wilson added that the team will do better as a whole if athletes can improve on their individual times.

"Our primary goal is to get everybody to work on their personal bests and do better year after year in the events they swim," Wilson said. "We work as a team, but it's an individual sport."

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