Women's Swimming Raises the Bar in 2002-03

Quakers broke 10 record at Ivy Championships.

May 16, 2003

The 2002-03 season for University of Pennsylvania women's swimming team can only be described in one word - outstanding. The Quakers accomplished a feat that had eluded them since becoming a varsity program at Penn as a convincing, 144-91, win over Philadelphia rival La Salle gave the team recorded its 10th win of the season. Along the way, the Red and Blue saw record after record fall as the team set new ones every time it entered the water throughout the season.

Penn returned 10 school record holders, two All-Ivy selections, nine Ivy finalists and one Ivy champion and welcomed 12 freshmen and two transfers to the 2003 team all of whom made an immediate impact on the program.

At the team's first meet of the season against William & Mary and Richmond, the Red and Blue dominated both opponents, grabbing first or second-place in 12 of the day's 16 events. The highlight of the meet was junior transfer Anne Tudryn (Springfield, Mass.), who in her first event as a member of the Penn squad, broke the program record in the 200 Breast with a time of 2:19.71 and took first-place in the event.

Penn split its Ivy League opener with Princeton and Cornell, falling to the Tigers but dominating the Big Red.

The Quakers' season opener at Sheerr Pool the following weekend saw them pull out wins over Harvard and Columbia. This was also the second-consecutive meet where a new Penn record was set. Junior Kathleen Holthaus (Glenview, Ill.) set a record in the 1,000 Free with a time of 10:04.53 breaking her own mark which she set last year.

After breaking for the holidays and the team's annual trip to Florida, which saw the combined men's and women's team earn a second-place finish at the Florida Atlantic University Holiday Invite, the women's team returned to the business of winning in their own neck of the woods.

First up were convincing victories over Army and Navy which geared the squad up for a battle with conference rival Brown. However, the Bears' depth and strength halted the Quakers' win streak but it did not discourage them from their goal of a 10-win season.

Penn's next tri-meet saw the team split with Dartmouth and Yale, improving its record to 8-3 overall on the season. There were exactly two meets (and two wins) left on the schedule between the Red and Blue and their goal. The team hadn't squared off against Rider in at least four years and had been on a two-year win streak against La Salle.

Rider would be the last home meet of the season and the Quakers wanted to send their seniors out of Sheerr Pool with a win. Penn managed to edge the Broncos, 134-100, and began to prepare for closing the deal on its amazing season. Less than a week later, the Red and Blue traveled across town to take on La Salle.

The Explorers didn't have a chance against the depth and strength of the Penn team and were outswam, 144-91. The win catapulted the Quakers to their first 10-win season since the program became a varsity sport in 1974.

It seemed as if all lanes pointed to victory with the Red and Blue next setting their sights on vying for an Ivy League title. The team trained hard for the three weeks leading up to the championships and it showed from the moment they entered the pool.

Holthaus, who established three Penn records in three of her events, led the Quakers in their quest for Ivy glory. She won a silver medal in the 1000 Free with a time of 10:00.27, breaking the Penn record she set last year.

Sophomore Kathryn Stores (Pennington, N.J.) earned a silver medal in the 100 Free with a time of 50.70. The time also broke her own Penn record, which she had established last season.

Junior Jennifer Block (Bridgewater, N.J.) finished with a time of 1:04.53 in the 100 Breast and broke the program's record in the event. In the 200 Breast, she finished fourth with a time of 2:20.38, also setting a new record.

Junior Rachel Zappalorti (Hamden, Conn.) set a new record in the 200 Fly with a time of 2:04.44 in the preliminary round and went on to finish 11th in the finals.

Freshman Erica Gentilucci (Elkton, Md.) set a new record in the 200 IM with a time of 2:07.49 after finishing 15th in the event.

Rookie Laura Hotaling (Albany, N.Y.) took seventh in the 50 Free and set a new record with a time of 23.59.

In relay action, the team of Hotaling, senior Jessica Anders (Elkins Park, Pa.), junior Nicole Wake (Weston, Mass.) and sophomore Stores finished fourth in the 200 Free Relay with a time of 1:34.28, a new program record. Penn (Stores, Anders, junior transfer Megan Daney, Hotaling) finished fifth in the 400 Free Relay, establishing a new school record of 3:28.76.

Despite finishing fifth overall in the event, the Red and Blue's 200 Medley Relay team (Daney, Block, freshman Robyn Harm, Hotaling) broke the record set last season with a time of 1:46.57.

In all, a whopping 10 program records were established or broken at the 2003 Ivy Championships and the Quakers earned a sixth-place finish at the event. For their winning ways, Holthaus and Stores were named Second-Team All-Ivy League. As a team, the Red and Blue also recorded its best finish ever at the Ivy Championships, collecting 366 points.

The program's seniors finally had the season they had dreamed about for four years. They also aided in the building of a winning legacy for Penn women's swimming and laid the groundwork for even greater things to be accomplished in the future.