PHILADELPHIA - The men's swimming team travels to Ohio this weekend seeking a third straight title at Kenyon College's Total Performance Invitational. The three-day, multi-team event features a format similar to what the Quakers will see at the Ivy League Championships in March. Action from the Kenyon Aquatic Center will get started on Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, prelims will start the day at 9:30 a.m., with finals set for 5:30 p.m. each evening. Kenyon offers streaming video of each day's events.
Besides Penn and the host Kenyon Lords, four other schools will take part in this weekend's invite. Carnegie-Mellon, Davidson and Grove City are all holdovers from last year's event, while Lake Erie College will make its first appearance at the Total Performance Invitational.
Racing at a pool where times are known to go low, the Quakers didn't disappoint last year. The Red and Blue won a total of 13 events - 11 races plus both competitions on the 1- and 3-meter boards - on their way to compiling 1,572 points, easily eclipsing second place Kenyon who closed with 1,216 points. Returnees Rhoads Worster (200 Backstroke, 200 Butterfly) and Eric Vanden Noort (500 Freestyle, 1650 Freestyle) each won two championship finals a year ago, with Dillon McHugh taking home a title in the 100 Backstroke. In addition, the 800 Freestyle Relay team that included Worster, Sam Ruddy and Alex Porter set the tone for what was to come with a pool record of 6:39.90 on opening night.
This year's squad enters the weekend with an identical 2-2 start to the season as they had in 2011, but are receiving a wider range of performances to achieve the results. Whereas last year's team had the safety net provided by the graduated Brendan McHugh to fall back on, this year's team is relying heavily on its talented freshmen and sophomore classes.
Freshman Kyle Yu has filled in admirably thus far in the breaststroke, winning twice each in the 100 and 200 events, while Chris Swanson and Bradley Wachenfeld have dominated the distance freestyle events in the early going. Brendan Crystal has also impressed with a pair of wins to date in the 200 IM. Sophomores such as Dillon McHugh, Porter, Ruddy and Konner Scott have picked up where they left off as freshmen and are performing well in many of the middle distance races at the start of the season.
This weekend's race will close out the men's schedule until after the New Year. The 2013 portion of the schedule will begin with the team's final home meet of the season, a Jan. 12 meeting with Dartmouth and Yale at Sheerr Pool.
Check back with PennAthletics.com for full results and recaps from each night of competition this weekend.