The University of Pennsylvania men’s swimming and diving team’s season can be broken down into three mini seasons. In each of those stretches, Penn was at or above a .500 winning percentage. Thanks to those successful runs, the Quakers finished the season with eight wins.
The Quakers opened the 2005-06 campaign by sweeping Rider and Lehigh on Nov. 12 at Sheerr Pool. Penn downed the Mountain Hawks 154.00-89.00 and the Broncs 132.00-111.00. Freshman John Gillette took first place in the 50-yard freestyle (21.56). Senior Kevin Scott finished third (22.03). Captain Pat Maloney won the 200-yard butterfly (1:55.39), while teammate Alex Keeney came in third (1:58.05) and Alex Silvester was fifth (2:00.42).
The following weekend, Penn went to battle with its first EISL opponents, taking on Princeton and Cornell. When the meet finished, the Quakers were dealt their first two losses of the season. Yuchi Zhang highlighted the night for the Red and Blue, placing first in the 200-yard breastroke at 2:07.20.
Before enjoying Thanksgiving break, the Quakers hosted La Salle. Penn took down the Explorers 140.00-98.00. In the process, the men’s team of Teddy Rainaud, Jon Kaufman, Brian Gartner and Scott won the 200-yard medley with a time of 1:36.78. Devon Carr (9:52.97) finished first in the 1,000-yard freestyle. Teammates Jason McGrath (9:55.89) and Neville Mitchell (10:22.62) finished second and third.
Penn remained home to host Columbia on Dec. 10 to close out the fall semester. However, the Quakers would have to wait until January for their first EISL win, losing to the Lions 197.5-102.5. Mitchell (53.74) picked up the Red and Blue’s first victory of the day in the 100-yard backstroke. Penn would go on to win the next two events. Zhang (59.06) won the 100-yard backstroke followed by a Maloney (1:54.38) victory in the 200-yard butterfly. Mitchell (1:55.18) picked up his second victory of the day in the 200-yard backstroke. However, that would be the Quakers’ final win of the day; Columbia won the final six events to win the meet.
The Quakers headed to Boca Raton, Fla. over winter break to train at Florida Atlantic University for 11 days. At the end of the week, Penn took part in a four-team meet and went 2-1. The Red and Blue registered wins over Transylvania (182.00-23.00) and College of Charleston (173.50-29.50). Patrick Gallagher (1:46.14) picked up Penn’s first win of the day in the 200-yard freestyle. The Quakers’ best showing came in the 200-yard backstroke as they took the top four spots. Zhang (2:09.58) took the top spot, followed by Kaufman (2:18.79), Silvester (2:19.73) and Chaz Maul (2:30.39).
The Away Stretch
Although it should be called the home stretch, five of Penn’s final six meets were on the road. The Quakers’ final run started with a loss at Brown, 137.50-105.50. The Red and Blue returned to New England the following weekend to take on Dartmouth and Yale in Hanover, N.H. Penn made the most of its trip, beating the Big Green 137-106 and the Elis 159-84.
In the first event of the day, the team of Mitchell, Kaufman, Maloney and Scott finished second in the 400-yard medley relay with a time of 3:31.03. In the one meter diving, Tyler Markman secured first place with 266.92 points. Carr (1:54.56) picked up the Quakers first win in the 200-yard butterfly. Maloney (1:54.96) finished just behind his teammate. The Red and Blue’s final victory came in the 400-yard freestlye relay. Carr, Scott, Gillette and Gallagher took the day’s final event with a time of 3:10.98.
Penn hit the road again for a third-consecutive weekend, this time at EISL opponent Navy. Despite losing 140.5-100.5, the Quakers won five events, led by Matthew Blaszko’s wins in the 800 and 400-meter freestyle.
The Red and Blue finally returned home on Feb. 3 for its only home meet of the spring semester. Penn enjoyed a return to the friendly confines of Sheerr Pool by beating West Chester 145.00-77.00. The men started the night off by taking 15 points in the 400-yard medley relay as the team of Rainaud, Zhang, Maloney and Pat Gallagher took first place with a time of 3:30.11 and Chris Weitekamp, Kaufman, Brian Gartner and Tim Howett took second at 3:32.30. Overall, the Quakers won 10 events on the evening.
Penn had one final tune-up before the EISL Championships as they headed to Cambridge, Mass. to take on Harvard. The Crimson simply dominated Penn en route to a 211.00-88.00 victory.
The EISL Championships
After day one, the Quakers were in eighth place. Although Penn could not make a move in the standings on the second day, many individual performances shined through. In the 100-yard butterfly, Maloney was a consolation finalist. He took 11th place at a time of 49.92.
In the next two events, the Red and Blue had their best finishes of the night. Gallagher (141.84) placed eighth in the 200-yard freestyle, coming within a second of his personal best. Next up was Kaufman, who also placed eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke at 57.85 and came within five-tenths of a second of his personal best. Zhang was a consolation finalist in the 100 breaststroke; he finished in 10th place clocking in at 57.35.
In the final day of competition, the Red and Blue chalked up four consolation finalists. In the 200-yard backstroke, Rainaud (1:50.84) was a consolation finalist, finishing 11th. Pat Gallagher (45.23) was also a consolation finalist in the 100-yard freestyle. Maloney and Carr added two more consolation finishes in the 200-yard butterfly. Maloney (1:48.77) placed ninth and Carr (1:50.30) was 13th. Blaszko had Penn’s only top-eight performance. He finished seventh in the 200-yard breaststroke, at 2:05.70.
At the conclusion of the three-day event, Penn finished in eight place with 638.5 points.