Swimming and diving fall to Columbia, keep eyes on championships

Lions add to Bears’ losing streaks, narrowly edging men’s squad, blowing out floundering women’s team

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, January 26, 2015

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams fell to Columbia this week, extending their winless Ivy streaks dating back to the Brown Invite in early December. The  men (2-4, 1-4 Ivy) were downed by Columbia (6-2, 3-2) in a close 168-124 loss, while their counterparts on the women’s team (3-4, 1-4) dropped a more decisive 215-85 decision to the  Lions (1-4, 1-4).

“The results of this meet do not do our team justice,” said co-captain Kate Dillione ’15. “There were many factors that contributed to the meet’s outcome, so the important thing going into championships is to focus on the little things and refine everything,” she said.

“We’re perfecting our race strategies and mentalities, which is crucial,” she added.

Despite the two losses, several members of the men’s and women’s teams swam impressively. On the men’s side, first-years and seniors alike notched points for the Bears.

“The individuals that thought about their team and put the team interests first really pushed it to beat the Columbia guys,” said co-captain Brian Barr ’15. “Shout-out to freshman Riley Springman winning an event and freshman Grant Casey winning an event.”

In the men’s swimming events, the 200-yard medley relay team of Willy Lee ’18, Christopher Meyers ’16, Jeffrey Strausser ’15 and Daniel Klotz ’17 earned the first points of the day. Rookie Grant Casey ’18 took first place in the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 9 minutes, 30.76 seconds, two seconds ahead of Columbia’s second-place finisher. Teammate Cory Mayfield ’16 grabbed the third-place spot to add to Bruno’s point total.

Backstroke specialist Lee represented the class of 2018 when he earned a third-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke and a second-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke. Fellow first-year Riley Springman ’18 followed Lee’s dominance with a second-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly. Klotz contributed a third-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle and Bill Rosenberg ’15 finished third in the 1-meter dive.

“Our successes in the pool stem from a lot of hard work in the pool and the weight room, as well as a killer attitude,” Dillione said. “We were all really mentally tough at this meet, and that was super important.”

Jack Nee ’17 swam to a second-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle, with teammate Strausser finishing just .06 seconds behind him in third place. Later in the day, breaststroker Connor Lohman ’17 placed second in the 200-yard breaststroke, while Mayfield and Kevin Mertz ’17 earned second and third in the 500-yard freestyle, respectively. The Lions disqualified themselves in the 100-yard butterfly, leading to a Brown sweep in the event, as Strausser, Brendan Woo ’18  and Alexander Treil ’16 took first, second and third, respectively. The Bears finished strong, continuing their late show of dominance with wins in the 200-yard individual medley and 400-yard freestyle relay. The team has pushed itself tirelessly in practice and has found the demanding regimen to be paying off.

“Columbia has always been a strong team, but we went in there with big heads, and we came out with strong wins,” Barr said. “We didn’t walk away with the win, but we walked away from the meet having learned what we needed to. … I think it was a step in the right direction.”

The women earned only two first-place finishes during the meet­: from Dillione in the 200-yard freestyle and from the 400-yard freestyle relay team of Dillione, Korbyn Simpson ’18, Sarah Cronin ’18 and Reia Tong ’16. In the 200 freestyle, Dillione edged out her Columbia rival by .05 seconds to secure the top spot, while the relay squad won its event by a commanding 6.41 seconds. The Bears also earned points in the 3-meter and 1-meter dives, as Rachel Speakman ’16 finished in second place in both events. Second-place finishes also came from Elly Vitek ’17 in the 1000-yard freestyle and co-captain Gina Matsumoto ’16 in the 200 butterfly. Rookie Olivia Katcher ’18 swam to a close second place in the 500-yard freestyle, outpacing the third-place finisher by a mere .03 seconds. Tong added to Bruno’s points with a second-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle.

“Our mental approach was to race and to compete,” Dillione said. “We’re in a tough training block as we head into the championship season, so it was important to just give it our all.”

Dillione and Tong showcased their freestyle speed as they finished in second and third place, respectively, in the 100 freestyle. The relatively young quartet of Tong, Jenna Zagoren ’18, Aja Grande ’18 and Caroline Vexler ’17 rounded out Bruno’s performances with a third-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay.

The Bears will compete at home Saturday, hoping to pick up a win against Cornell (men 4-4, 2-4 and women 5-3, 3-3) on Senior Day.

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