Swimming and diving teams fail to part Big Red sea

Men’s team comes within a second of topping Cornell in Ithaca, women set 400 free relay pool record

Sports Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The swimming and diving teams made the long trek to Ithaca, N.Y., over the weekend to take on Ivy rival Cornell in the frozen north. Despite putting forth a valiant effort, the men and women lost narrowly to the Big Red, falling by scores of 152-148 and 166-134, respectively.

Men’s captain Brian Barr ’15 said his squad was “a little disappointed” with the outcome. “We swam fast, but they were just ready to go. We were too late to the party.”

Between the men’s and women’s teams, Brown claimed victories in only 13 of the 32 events. Still, the Bears amassed a number of second- and third-place finishes, which buoyed their scores. This depth-based approach transformed the meet into a more closely fought competition, particularly on the men’s side.

Tommy Glenn ’14 was the top racer for the men’s team, scoring 29 points across four different events — roughly 20 percent of Brown’s total score. Glenn took home titles in the 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. His 100-yard fly time set a new pool record.

On the diving platform, Jonathon Schlafer ’17 may have only finished third in the 3-meter event, but his score qualified him for the NCAA Zone Diving competition.

“Zones is the next step before nationals,” Barr said. “It’s a big deal.”

The Bears found further success in the 500-yard freestyle event. Cory Mayfield ’16, Kevin Mertz ’17 and Kai Wombacher ’16 finished 1-2-3 in that race, bolstering Bruno’s score by 16 points. This windfall, which came late in the meet, brought the Bears within striking distance of Cornell.

Mayfield, Mertz and Wombacher were not the only underclassmen to shine at the meet. Thomas Mercurio ’16 did his part for the team by winning the 200-yard breaststroke — a performance that Barr described as “one of the best swims I’ve ever seen.” Racing against Cornell sophomore Victor Luo, one of the Big Red’s most distinguished athletes, Mercurio gritted out the win by 0.01 seconds.

Mercurio’s electric performance kept the Bears within arm’s reach of the Big Red, who still clung to the lead in overall points. In the end, the outcome of the meet was decided by a single event: the 400-yard freestyle relay. Both Cornell and Brown entered three teams — designated “A,” “B” and “C” — in the event. In order to win the meet, the Bears needed both first and second place.

Brown’s “B” relay delivered a first-place finish, but the Bears’ “A” relay missed second place by a mere 0.36 seconds. This result left Bruno four points short of Cornell’s 152 total points at the close of the meet.

The story on the women’s side was largely the same: Several strong individual performances could not quite close the scoring gap between Brown and Cornell.

But this outcome was not unduly disappointing for the team, said co-captain Kate Dillione ’15.

“We just wanted to race really well and get some confidence going into the end of the season, and I think we accomplished that,” she said. “We know we’re going to get (Cornell) at the end of the season, because we were not well rested but we were still really competitive with them.”

Briana Borgolini ’14, one of the team’s most consistent contributors, blew her opponents out of the water in both the 100-yard and the 200-yard breaststroke, setting a pool record in the former event. Dillione was also a double event winner, claiming first place in the 200 free and the 400 free relay.

The 400 free relay was an especially exciting spectacle, as the Bears laid waste to the field. Bruno’s foursome finished a full six seconds clear of Cornell’s second-place squad. Dillione, who swam the second leg for the Bears, recorded the fastest 100-yard split of any competitor in the race. The victory was made all the sweeter by the fact that the Bears’ time established a new pool record for the event.

“We were just going out with a bang,” Dillione said. “We were pretty confident we could beat them, so it was fun to just blow them out and break their pool record.”

Brown returns to the pool Saturday, hosting Yale in the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center. Barr said this meet against the Bulldogs could be “a toss-up.”

“It’s the last meet for each of us,” he said. “We only care about Ivy Champs at this point in the season, so the Yale meet is kind of hard to predict.”

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