Swim and dive teams fall at Columbia in final dual meet

The swim teams both fell in New York over the weekend to Columbia.

In their final dual meet of the season, the men’s and women’s swim and dive teams fell to host Columbia University last Sunday in the 17 events. The women, who turned out five first place finishes, were beaten by the Lions 167-124 while the men took seven firsts for a final score of 170.5-129.5.

At the event, several individuals claimed Dartmouth and pool records.

Most notably, Brett Gillis ’16 smashed the oldest record in the Dartmouth men’s swim and dive record book  in the 3-meter dive set by Mike Brown ’70 with a score of 377.55. Brown’s record sat on the board at 358.7 for what would have been 44 years this Valentine’s Day.

“Brett absolutely killed it,” co-captain Andrew North ’14 said. “I’ve never seen a diving performance that good since I’ve been here.”

The second-place diver from Columbia, junior Micah Rembrandt, sat 61.65 points back from the Big Green frontrunner.

“I’ve been going at this record all season,” Gillis said. “This was our last meet before Ivies, so I knew I had to get it. In the past I’ve had trouble with consistency, but at this meet it all worked out.”

Gillis said he has crossed paths with the previous record holder more than once, but most recently the two met during the diving training trip in Hawaii where Brown is a coach at the University of Hawaii.

“When I met him again in Hawaii, he was joking and saying that I had to go out and take his record,” Gillis said. “I guess I’ll have to give him a call.”

The diving team, comprised of only eight male and female athletes in total, consistently pulls team points on both the men’s and women’s sides. Ryan Shelley ’15 took second place in the 1-meter dive with 295.13 points, while Kendall MacRae ’15 took second with 250.13 points and first with 235.13 points in the 3-meter and 1-meter dives, respectively.

Male and female swimmers faced different challenges and saw different results from the Lions’ split strategies across their men’s and women’s team.

The women at Columbia, co-captain Christine Kerr ’14 said, take the dual meet season more seriously than many other Ivy competitors, competing in fast suits and training in a different order than the Big Green does.

“They’re undefeated in the Ivy League, but they’ll still probably get third at Ivies,” she said. “They are clearly the best dual meet swimmers. Our coach just told us to swim our own races.”

Several Dartmouth women held their own against the suit-equipped Lions, including Charlotte Kamai ’16, who won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 51.65.

“I always say that once you beat someone wearing a fast suit, you own them,” Kerr said.

Kamai was also a part of the 400-yard freestyle relay team that closed out the meet by taking down Columbia’s own pool record from 2013. The Big Green suited up for the event, Kerr said, to show the Lions what the swimmers could do.

“The last relay was probably the highlight of the meet,” Kerr said. “Dartmouth was miles ahead of everyone. They wanted that win, the came and took it. They crushed it.”

Kamai anchored the relay team which was made up of lead off swimmer Kendese Nangle ’16, Mary Van Metre ’14 and Siobhan Hengemuhle ’15. The four Big Green swimmers pulled out a 3:26.51 when Kamai touched 9.03 seconds before the second place team.

The men’s team went up against an altogether different challenge, North said, because the Columbia men’s team trains hard through the dual meet season to taper down for the Ivy League Championships, which will take place the last weekend in February.

Nejc Zupan ’14 still broke two pool records in both the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 55.06 and 200-yard breaststroke with a 1:59.95.

Jun Oh ’16 continued his string of distance wins by taking first in both the 1,000-yard and 500-yard freestyle but was joined in the latter by two Dartmouth swimmers who showed their ability to focus, North said.

“The alternates who won’t be swimming at the Ivies really showed some serious mental fortitude,” he said. “James Thompson [‘17] and Joby Bernstein [‘17] took second and fourth in the 500 for their last meet, out touching some Columbia guys. It really shows the depth of the team.”

Both the men and women began tapering this Monday to prepare for their biggest meets of the season. The women will head off to the Ivy Championships at Brown University, which start on Feb. 20, and the men will travel to Harvard for the Ivy Championships the next weekend.

“There’s not really time to be sentimental because the most important thing by far is still ahead of me,” North said. “Only then will I have time to sit with my thoughts.”

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