Men's Swimming Finds Strength in Youth

The University of Pennsylvania men’s swimming and diving team ended the 2004-05 season with a string of victories, a sixth-place finish at the EISL championships and a 5-6 record on the season.

Individual victories came throughout the season from many of the veteran members, while the freshman class proved they were out to give the competition a run for their money as they added many first-place nods to the Quakers tally.

The Quakers opened their season at home in a dual meet against Ivy League rivals Cornell and Princeton. The men fell to Princeton, 180-62, and to Cornell, 155-87. The day was filled with close races in almost every event. Leading the team with a first-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly was sophomore Joe Griffith, who finished in a time of 1:52.04. Other strong finishes were seen throughout the meet as well. Freshman Devon Carr competed in his first meet at Sheerr Pool and came away with third place in the 1000-yard freestyle, with a time of 9:43.75. Also bringing in points for the Quakers were freshman Yuchi Zhang, and sophomore Alex Silvester, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Just three days later, the Quakers bounced back and recorded their first win of the season, beating cross-town rival La Salle, 131-112. Freshman Patrick Gallagher captured wins in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle events to lead the Red and Blue. Kevin Scott continued the winning for Penn with his victory in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.76 and Zhang closed out the men's individual events with a win in the 200-yard backstroke event, finishing in 2:09.17. A pair of men's relays teams also earned victories as Penn won the 400-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard medley relay.

The Red and Blue ended the first half of the season with a loss to Columbia, 174-124, before semester break. A Quakertouched the timing pad first in two individual events and one relay event. Pat Maloney was victorious in the 200-yard IM, finishing with a time of 1:58.96 and earning nine team points. The Red and Blue finished one-two in the event as Zhang touched next in a time of 2:01.28. Zhang earned an event win in the 200-yard breaststroke, finishing in 2:07.53. The Quakers also took first in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

The Penn men's swimming team captured its first tournament title of the year, winning the Florida International Invitational on Jan. 2, with a score of 568. The Quakers earned the win on the strength of 16 top-three finishes in individual events and a relay victory in the 200-yard freestyle.

With their first home meet of the New Year, the Quaker men fell to Brown in a close meet, 124-117. The 200-yard butterfly was a standout event for the Red and the Blue as they took the top three spots. Leading the men was freshman Devon Carr, who took first with a time of 1:52.70. Carr was followed by Pat Maloney and Joe Griffith who took second and third, respectively. The distance events were also extremely successful for the Quakers as they finished second, third and fourth in both the 1000 and 500-yard freestyle events. Zhang took first place in the 200-yard breaststroke while Tyler Markman captured first place in both the one and three-meter diving events, with Nick Corsano following in second place in the one-meter dive.

The men split their next Ivy League meet, topping Dartmouth, 198-102, and falling to Yale, 181-107. The men's 200-yard medley relay team of Teddy Rainaud, Jon Kaufman, Brian Gartner and Kevin Scott won the event with a time of 1:34.50. Kaufman took the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 58.85 seconds, outlasting teammates Alex Silvester (59.40) and Yuchi Zhang (59.69). Scott captured the 50-yard freestyle event with a time of 21.36 seconds. Zhang also won an individual event, capturing the 200-yard breaststroke (2:09.33), followed by teammates Kaufman in second (2:12.19) and MatthewBlaszko in third (2:12.35).

The Quaker men then posted an impressive win over Rider University, taking the meet 133-108. On the men's side, eight pool records were broken out of 13 swimming events. The men’s meet came down to the last two events, with a solid first-place (59.2) finish from freshman breaststroker Yuchi Zhang in the 100-yard breaststroke. Other strong performances came from freshmen as well, as Devon Carr broke Coppola Pool records in the 200-fly (1:53.1) and 500-free (4:43), as well as winning the 50-free in a solid 21.7. Fellow freshman, Pat Gallagher, crushed the pool record in the mile (16:20), finished second in the 100 (47.6) and helped win the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Penn’s team then easily defeated number six ranked Navy (according to the Division I Mid-Major Poll found on collegeswimming.com) with a final score of 130-113. The Quakers captured seven first-place finishes and were able to take the top three spots in two events, the 200-yard butterfly and the 200-yard breaststroke. Maloney led the fly group, which took the top three spots in the 200-yard butterfly. Maloney finished the 200-fly with a time of 1:54.51, followed by Joe Griffith and Jason McGrath who finished with times of 1:55.94 and 1:56.15, respectively. In the 500-yard freestyle it was the Penn freshmen who got the chance to shine as Gallagher took first in 4:39.70 and Carr took third with a time of 4:44.73. The men then dominated the 200-yard breaststroke as Zhang, Blaszko and Kaufman took the top three spots.

The Red and Blue then took on Division II West Chester, winning the meet, 174-126. The Quakers ended the day with eight first-place finishes, and were able to sweep the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events. The Quakers started the meet with a first-place finish in the 200-yard Medley Relay. Freshman Pat Gallagher then went on to take the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:43.63. In the 200-yard freestyle, it was another freshman leading the Quakers as Devon Carr finished in first with a time of 1:43.11, followed by Stephen Heyer in second place. Carr also captured first place in the 500-yard freestyle. The Red and Blue dominated the both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events. In the 100-yard event Jon Kaufman, Zhang and Alex Silvester finished in first, second and third, respectively. In the 200-yard event, Zhang finished in first, followed by Kaufman and Matthew Blaszko, respectively.

Penn team suffered a tough loss to League rival Harvard, 200-99, on Feb. 12 at Sheerr Pool. Leading the way for the Quakers was senior Lowell Lamb, who ended the day with a first-place finish in the 400-yard IM and a second-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke. In the 400-yard IM Lamb was followed by Alex Keeney who took third place.

With dual meet season behind them, the Quakers focused their energy on the end-of-season events and it paid off. Penn finished in 13th out of 24 teams at the ECAC Championships with the Quakers’ top finishes coming in the 200-yard butterfly, where the men finished in fifth and sixth place. Senior Brian Funk finished with a time of 1:54.04 in fifth, followed by J.T. Heffernan in sixth place with a time of 1:54.37.

The Red and Blue finished the season with a sixth-place finish at the EISL Championships with 711.5 points. Two Quakers advanced to the championship finals of their respective events. Pat Maloney finished third in the 200-yard butterfly in a time of 1:48.22 and Yuchi Zhang placed fifth in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:05.59.

With many top finishes throughout the season coming from the younger team members, the Quakers look to build on this season’s strong finish and go into the 2005-06 with a strong foundation.

Written by Meghan Goddard, C’05