New swimmers, divers push teams

Staff Writer
Thursday, November 17, 2011

In every sense of the word, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are the underdogs of the Ivies — they have the smallest roster in the Ivy League and lack permanent training facilities.

But with 23 incoming first-years and a new assistant coach, Temujin Gold, the teams are ready to improve on last year’s last place Ivy finish, Head Coach Peter Brown said.

Peter Brown said he has picked up the pace at practice, packing more into the two-hour workout and adding new exercises to dry-land training.

“Especially heading into the new pool, we need to set higher standards, raise the bar,” he said. “We got to get the program to another level.”

Gold, who previously coached at Texas A&M University, is a valuable addition to the team, Peter Brown said.

“(Gold) gets us to work hard, and he expects a lot out of us,” said co-captain  Jamie Firth ’12. “But he’s fun in the way that he does it.”

Peter Brown said he hopes that by putting in the extra work all the swimmers can achieve personal-best times while simultaneously improving their standing among the Ivies.

Firth said the team is not as concerned about scores this year.

“We’re going into each meet trying to focus on the little things, like winning races at the finish or making little improvements and focusing on what we as a team can do,” she said.

In the upcoming season, Tommy Glenn ’14 and Briana Borgolini ’14 — who have both met Olympic Trials qualifying times, or cuts — will be expected to make significant contributions to the teams, Peter Brown said. The incoming first-years will also bring a lot to the pool, said co-captain James Hunter ’12.

“They’re really dedicated, motivated,” Hunter said. “They’ve been a lot of fun and a really good addition to the team.”

Meanwhile, the diving team added four first-years to their ranks who “are going to bring in a lot of points, especially the girls,” said diver Rebecca Tassell ’12. With this boost to the diving team, Diving Coach L. Channing Kimball said she hopes to send some divers to the NCAA Zone meet. Jonathan Feldman ’12  was the only diver who went last year.

Kimball said she has added more trampoline and dry-board work during practices and began showing the teams more videos to push them to do harder dives to earn more points at dual meets.

In their first conference meet Saturday, the swimming and diving teams compete against Dartmouth, the team Tassell called one of the squads’ major opponents.

Tassell also said the team looks forward to the end-of-season completion of the swimming facilities. Currently, the diving team must travel to the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth three times a week in order to practice three-meter dives. But the new facility will have both one-meter and three-meter diving boards, saving time and transportation costs.

Hunter said it will be good for the teams to have a place to call their home, something he hopes will improve team dynamics and attract more recruits.

“The Bubble was only supposed to last for two years,” Firth said. “It’s been up for four. So it’s really starting to deteriorate, and the new pool is going to be so nice.”

Though Peter Brown said he thinks the teams will welcome the new facilities, “it’s important to not get too caught up in the notion that just having a new facility is going to solve a lot of issues for you,” he said. “You still got to be smart about what you do. You still got to work hard.”

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