GAMBIER, Ohio - The University of Pennsylvania men's and women's swimming and diving programs got off to a good start on the opening day of competition at the Total Performance Invitational, hosted by Kenyon College. Two 'B' cut times from the men and two new pool records at the James A. Steen Aquatic Center highlighted action for the Quakers.
The night began with a nail-biter finish for the women in the 200-yd medley relay, as Libby Jardeleza, Linda Zhang, Wendy Yang and Rochelle Dong touched the wall second at 1:41.99, while Kenyon finished just milliseconds ahead.
Freshman Grace Ferry would continue the strong start to her career in the next event, the 1650-yd freestyle, as the rookie finished second with a time of 16:50.32. Madison Visco ranked third at 16:56.92, followed directly by Ryan Alexander, Erin Kiely, and Kaitlin Stearns in fourth, fifth and sixth.
The night wound up for the women with a win in the 800-yd freestyle relay, as the foursome of Mary Whiting, Ellie Grimes, Meredith Newman and Virginia Burns set a new pool record with a time of 7:18.18, over two seconds in front of Kenyon. At the end of day one the women's side leads the field with a score of 327, ahead of the Lords in second at 241.
For the men, the 200-yd medley relay would see a 1-2 Quaker sweep, as the team of CJ Schaffer, Colin McHugh, Jimmy Jameson and Thomas Dillinger set a new pool record coming in first at 1:27.54. Mark Blinstrub, Wes Thomas, Michael Wen and Zach Fisher finished under a second behind at 1:28.29 for a second-place finish for the Red and Blue.
Alex Peterson and Taylor Uselis both swam fast enough to make the NCAA 'B' cut in the 1650-yd freestyle, as Peterson touched the wall second with a time of 15:05.52, while Uselis ranked fourth at 15:24.91.
The Quakers wrapped up the night with yet another 1-2 sweep in the relays, this time the 800-yd freestyle. Mark Andrew, Dillinger, Christopher Nicholson and Kevin Su finished first with a time of 6:28.40, followed by Blinstrub, Austin Ryan, Jackson O'Dowd and Wen in second at 6:32.82. The men sit in first after the first three events with a 282 point total, followed by Kenyon in second at 222.
Action resumes tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 2 at 9:30 a.m. with preliminary races. Finals will take place beginning at 5:30 p.m. Follow live stats here with live video streaming here.