Gillis, Verhagen shine during dual meet in Pennsylvania

by Emily Wechsler | 1/12/16 6:13pm

Dartmouth’s swimming and diving teams took to the University of Pennsylvania’s Sheerr Pool Friday and Saturday to take on the Quakers and the Yale University Bulldogs. In their first contest of 2016, the overall team performances lagged behind Penn and Yale, with the men losing to Penn 227-71 and to Yale 215-85 while the women lost 234-66 and 249-51, respectively. The meet opened Friday evening with 1-meter and 3-meter diving. Consistent top-finisher Brett Gillis ’16 took first in both men’s events by significant margins, and AJ Krok ’19 finished fourth in the 1-meter and sixth in the 3-meter. On the women’s side, Allison Green ’19 grabbed fourth and Allegra Codamon ’18 took seventh, both in the 1-meter. The Big Green divers have been doing especially well this season. Green opened her collegiate career at the first meet of this season in November against Cornell University by qualifying for the NCAA Zone Diving Championship, held in early March. Krok, Gillis and Taylor Clough ’17 all qualified as well. At four, this is the largest number of Dartmouth divers that have qualified for Zones in a season. Saturday was less successful for the Big Green. “The results weren’t exactly what we would have wanted,” women’s co-captain Charlotte Kamai ’16 said, “But there were definitely some good swims in there.” Strong men’s swims included Misha Tovmashenko ’18 taking second in the 200-yard freestyle, David Harmon ’17 touching third in the 100-yard butterfly and James Verhagen ’16 finding third in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke races. The women’s standouts included Megan Crook ’19 taking fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke, Kendese Nangle ’16 clinching fourth in the 50-yard freestyle and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke andTaylor Yamahata ’18 touching fifth in the 200-yard backstroke.The remainder of the results from the 32 events contested were less strong. “We weren’t really looking to improve times [in this meet],” head coach Jim Wilson said. “We were really just looking to see if they can handle the workload.” Despite the resistance faced in Philadelphia, athletes and coaches seemed optimistic about their teams’ performances going forward. In recent years, Dartmouth’s men’s team has come in around fifth place in the Ivy League Championships, while the women have come in last. Kamai is hoping for better this year. “I think we’re going to have a really, really great end of our season,” she said. “We’re definitely going to have a very successful season. We’ve got a great crop of new freshmen and everyone’s been working really hard, so I think there’s a lot of potential.” Several freshman are indeed doing well for the Big Green. Delaney Hall ’19 on the men’s side and Crook on the women’s have been performing well in the breaststroke, an area of recent weakness for the Big Green after the departure of NCAA championship caliber breaststroker Nejc Zupan ’14 two years ago. The team, guided by two new assistant coaches, has implemented an entirely new training program that Kamai believes is helping the teams progress as well. It involves dividing the team into skills groups so that their workouts are more individualized. Over the past three weeks, Tate Ramsden ’17’s passing has not been forgotten by the team. Penn and Yale swimmers sported the initials “TR” in his memory, and a moment of silence took place during the event. “It’s definitely been really, really hard, Tate was a really great guy and an integral part of the team,” Kamai said. “The first week was pretty hard, and even this meet – it’s weird for everyone because we know he’s supposed to be there.” Kamai felt that it was important that the team continue swimming, as it was something Ramsden loved. Coaches acknowledged that their athletes had a lot on their plate. “They’re trying to get their feet back on level ground right now,” Wilson said. “I wouldn’t say that we swam exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly based on that, it’s just it’s on everybody’s mind.” Gillis said that teammates had been looking to each other for comfort. “Joking about his stupid Canadian accents that he would do, he was just a funny guy,” he said. “It’s tough, but things like that happen I guess. Hopefully, we can dedicate a performance to him this year.” Dartmouth’s teams will next take to the pool to host the Dartmouth Invitational at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center in White River Junction, Vt. on Jan. 22 and 23.