Penn Women's Swimming Ends Season With Historic Success

Philadelphia - The University of Pennsylvania Women’s Swim team ended the season in fifth place at this year’s Ivy League Championships. It was the team’s best finish in program history, as the Quakers ended the meet with a total of 937.50 points. The top Red and Blue finisher in the meet was freshman Megan Carlin, with a third-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke, an event in which she was a star throughout the entire season. The rookie also earned third-place finishes also came in the 200-yard freestyle relay andthe 200-yard medley relay.

Head Coach Mike Schnur expressed his pride in the girls as they ended the season on such a great note. “We had a great weekend. The women swam to their potential and were in a great battle for the top three or four spots in the competition. Individually, we broke seven school records, including three relay marks, which are great for team depth." The team’s finish at the Ivy League Championships reflected a season filled with dedication and heart as the girls ended the season with a 7-4 mark, including a four-meet winning streak heading into championships.

The Quakers opened the season at home in a dual meet against Princeton and Cornell. The Red and Blue easily defeated the Big Red, 201-97, but fell to Ivy League rival Princeton, 205-95. Leading the team were Megan Carlin and Cammie Villarreal. Each had a first and second-place finish to end the night. Villarreal opened the meet with a second-place finish in the 1000-yard freestyle and then captured the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:06.50. Carlin showed her strength in her first collegiate competition, finishing first in the 100-yard breaststroke and second in the 200-yard breaststroke event.

In their second meet of the season, the Quakers easily defeated cross-town rival La Salle, 157-80. Villarreal again came through for her team, picking upa pair of wins in the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke events. Penn showed its speed as the Red and Blue earned five wins in the freestyle events. Maureen Schriver claimed the 1000-yard freestyle event (10:43.00), Stephanie Colson won the 50-yard freestyle (24.83), Kathryn Stores was victorious in the 100-yard freestyle (54.06) and Margot Newcomer won the 500-yard freestyle (5:09.53).

In their last home meet of the fall semester, the Quakers edged out Columbia, 157-143, in a meet that came down to the last event. Strong efforts were seen from all, as both relay teams took first place and both Villarreal and Carlin each took first place in two events. Carlin’s importance to the team was evident once again as she finished first in both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events. The Quakers were also able to go first and second in both the 200 fly and the 200 IM. The meet came down to the 200-yard free relay, where the Penn women were able to touch the pad first in a time of 1:36.71.

The semester break took the Quakers to Miami, Fla., where the Penn finished fourth out of eight teams in the 2005 Florida International Invitational. Carlin continued to shine for the Red and Blue as she captured the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:06.65.

In their first meet of the second semester, the Quakers suffered a close loss to Ivy League competitor Brown at Sheerr Pool, but not without a fight. The Red and the Blue were able to capture first place in five events, three of which they also captured the second finishing position. The Quakers dominated the 200-yard freestyle as they finished one-two-three. Stores led the group, taking first place in a time of 1:55.03. Following closely were Jessica Aiello and Newcomer who finished with the times of 1:55.93 and 1:56.05, respectively. Penn also experienced success in the distance events, taking the top two spots in both the 1000-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle. Carlin again finished the day with a first-place finish as she captured the 200-yard breaststroke in a time of 2:25.77

The Quakers split their second dual meet of the season, falling to Yale, 199.5-99.5, and beating Dartmouth, 205-94. The Penn women's 400-yard fresstyle relay team of Laura Hotaling, Colson, Aiello and Stores captured the event with a time of 3:35.89. Carlin won the 100-yard breaststrokewith a finishing time of 1:05.91 and Villarreal and Schriver finished in first and second-place, respectively, in the 1,000-yard freestyle event.

The Red and Blue dominated their next meet of the season, beating Rider, 147-93. Leading the way was Schriver, who set a new pool record in the mile by almost a minute (17:22). Junior Erica Gentilucci set a new pool record in the 400-yard IM (4:39), as well as winning the 500-yard freestyle (5:11). Newcomer won the 200-yard free (1:57) and sophomore school record holder Colson won the 100-yard back in a season-best time of 1:00.8.

Penn dominated Navy in its next meet, with a final score of 175-124. The women captured nine first-place finishes and were able to take the top three spots in four of the day’s 14 swimming events. The Quakers took the top three spots in the 200-yard freestyle, the 200-yard butterfly and the 100-yard freestyle.

In their last meet of the season, the Quakers defeated Division II West Chester at Sheerr Pool, 179-120. They finished the day with seven first-place finishes. They were also able to sweep the 100-yard backstroke, the 200-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard butterfly. The women dominated the 100-yard backstroke as Gentilucci, Colson and freshman Sarah Bargmann took the top three spots. The Quakers then went on to control the 200-yard breaststroke as Carlin finished first, followed by Newcomer and Sydney Sher. Carlin also took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:06.49. Her victory had significance for the freshman because she never finished lower than first in the event during regular season competition. Finally, the Red and Blue were able to take the top three spots in the 100-yard butterfly with Stores leading the group in first place, followed by Kristen Kelley and Lauren Weinstein.

With a strong eighth-place finish at ECAC Championships, and a program best at the Ivy League Championships, the 2004-05 season will be looked on with fond memories. With talent and depth across the years the team looks to improve over the next season.

Written by Meghan Goddard, C’05