Swim and dive teams drop final dual meet in New York City
In the final meet of the dual meet season, the Big Green men and women’s swim and dive teams were defeated by Columbia University. The men won six events while the women won four, The men’s team lost by a total score of 172-127 and the women’s team lost 189-111.“The Columbia men were pretty good, but we still kept the meet really close,” head coach Jim Wilson said. “About two-thirds of the way through we were only five points back. And for the women’s team, it seemed like almost every time we lost, it involved the other team wearing tech suits which we didn’t wear to compete.”In the 200-yard freestyle, Misha Tovmashenko ’18 gave the Big Green its inaugural first place finish of the meet (1:40.72), followed by Tony Shen ’18 in third (1:43.42). James Verhagen ’16, currently one of the strongest backstrokers in the League, won the 100-yard backstroke (50.68) by almost a full second and, a few events later, took the 200-yard backstroke (1:51.37), finishing almost four full seconds ahead of the nearest swimmer.Tovmashenko would go on to win another event later in the day, the 100-yard freestyle (46.67), out-touching his second-place competitor by less than two-tenths of a second. Though the Big Green was unable to produce a top-three swimmer in the men’s 100-yard breaststroke, David Harmon ’17 placed first in the 200-yard butterfly (1:54.65) by just one one-hundredth of a second, keeping the Big Green in the competition. Logan Briggs ’16 finished in second in the 500-yard freestyle (4:45.78), while Shen touched right after him in third (4:46.17).Wrapping up the meet, the men’s 200-yard freestyle relay team comprised of Aaron Athanas ’16, Brandon Boval ’18, Tovmashenko and Henry Patrick ’19 finished in second place (1:24.13), devastatingly close to the first place finisher, Columbia’s A team, that finished just half a second ahead of the Big Green’s A team.“As a team we were pretty happy with the result,” Briggs said. “We did better than last year, and we had some good swims. I think we’re all very excited for Ivies as well.”For the divers, Brett Gillis ’16 started the meet by securing second place in the 3-meter dive to Columbia’s sophomore top diver, Jayden Pantel, who now has 22 consecutive first place finishes in the event.The two would later meet again in the 1-meter dive with Gillis finishing on top this time. Gillis was victorious by less than one full point, 331.50 points to Pantel’s 330.53 points. With diving events split by Gillis and Pantel, both individuals contributed 13 points to their respective team totals. Finding similar success in the 1-meter dive, women’s Allison Green ’19 finished in first place (262.20).Gillis said he has known Pantel since the two competed together in Saskatchewan, Canada at a young age.“[Pantel has] been doing really well lately, and he definitely got me on the 3-meter, but the 1-meter went really well for me,” Gillis said. “I just relaxed a little and did a lot better.”The women’s side found success early in distance swimmers Haley Winter ’18 and Olivia Samson ’16 in the 1000-yard freestyle with Winter taking first (10:36.15) and Samson finishing second (10:36.15). Winter pulled out the win after falling behind early and swimming an incredible second half. The Big Green women’s team would receive another first place ten events later in the 500-yard freestyle with another one-two finish by Annclaire MacArt ’18 in first (4:57.86) and Amber Zimmerman ’19 finishing second (5:01.90). Megan Crook ’19 continued her strong rookie season with another victory to her name in the 100-yard IM (58.99). She was also the only swimmer in the event to finish under the one minute mark.Ending the weekend, the women took second and third in the 200-yard freestyle relay, with the A team finishing in 1:37.05 and the B relay touching soon after (1:38.10).“It was a tough meet, but we’re really excited for Ivies,” women’s swim captain Charlotte Kamai ’16 said. “I know, as a team, we talked a lot about our personal goals and our team goals for the meet.”The Big Green swim and dive teams are now preparing for the Ivy League Championships as they begin to taper and focus on swimming their best times. As a team, they plan on having as many swimmers as possible make NCAA cut times to be invited to the NCAA championships. Notable swimmers to look out for to swim their best times to make the cuts include Verhagen, Tovmashenko, Athanas and Harmon.Briggs said he is also looking forward to ending his career in the 400-yard IM and making the NCAA B cut time for consideration to be invited to the NCAA Championships. With his eye on the gold ever since he took the silver in the 1-meter dive in his sophomore year, senior Gillis is looking to put it all together for his last Ivy League Championship.The Big Green teams will separate to compete in the championship meet. The women will head to Princeton, New Jersey Feb. 18 to 20, and the men will wait one more week before going to Providence, Rhode Island from Feb. 25 to 27.