Swim : SU can’t make up for slow start in narrow loss
The Syracuse women’s swimming team had a lot of work to do.
A lackluster morning diving session in which the Orange’s lone diver, Kirsten Thomas, failed to place in the top three, had left the SU women trailing Boston 32-4 before any swimmer had a chance to get in the water.
Down to the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Orange had cut the deficit to 12, and a one-two finish would seal the comeback.
But the Terriers did just enough to hold their lead and defeat Syracuse, taking second in that final relay to win 122-119. It was the Orange’s second straight loss.
On the men’s side, the swimmers won eight of 11 races in an impressive 130-111 victory.
SU head coach Lou Walker was quick not to blame the divers for the women’s loss but said being behind by that many points so early is tough to overcome.
‘It’s a tough thing because we swam very well, the whole package,’ Walker said. ‘What we have to stress to the girls is that we were very dominant in the water today.’
The women’s diving team was without senior Tory McKenna, who is out with a shoulder injury that required surgery.
Diving coach Tom Skuce said though both the men’s and women’s divers put SU behind early, he was pleased with the divers’ performances because they were trying new dives they had never done before.
‘This takes four, five, six meets of experience to perfect and they will come along,’ Skuce said. ‘We’re developing them. When you’re developing a diver, you have the challenge of trying to learn a new trick. It’s much different than any other sport.’
Skuce said he was especially happy with freshman Corey Psoinos’ dives. Psoinos placed third in the three-meter competition, where three of his six dives were new.
‘I thought they all did a great job,’ Skuce said. ‘Unfortunately, they didn’t cut in and make enough points for the team.’
The swimmers did all they could to erase the early deficit. The women won eight of 11 events, including both relay races. The Orange women placed second in every race they did not win.
Freshman Natalie Mazzetta led the Orange with three wins. Mazzetta has now won every event she has swum this year. She didn’t swim the 1,000-yard freestyle, an event she has dominated all season. Walker instead placed her in the 200-yard freestyle because Mazzetta’s times matched up better with BU’s Eve Kinsella.
Mazzetta and Kinsella raced neck-in-neck the entire way and Mazzetta (1:52.51) edged Kinsella (1:52.93) in a finish that was too close to call with the naked eye.
For the men, Alex Taraskin dominated both the 1,000-yard freestyle (9:44.81) and the 500-yard freestyle (4:41.71).
Walker said the strong performance for the men was exactly what the team needed after last week’s loss to Big East powerhouse Pittsburgh and before the team travels to North Carolina for the Nike Cup Nov. 15.
‘Obviously, what you want to do after a loss is have a positive frame of mind, to bounce back, race well and have good times,’ Walker said. ‘To swim well today sets that couple of weeks of preparation up beautifully.’
Walker said this week the teams will cut back on their workload, giving the athletes time to rest in hopes of swimming season-best times at the Nike Cup.
Mazzetta said the women were upset with the close loss but will use it as a motivation to work harder as the season continues.
‘We all swam really well,’ she said. ‘That’s a big bummer, and I think we’re all pretty upset about it, but we tried hard. But you just have to try harder and keep going out there and be competitive.’
Walker said it was important to let the women know they swam well after the loss and to continue training the way the team has been.
‘We want the swimmers to know we did what we’re doing training-wise and we got it done in the pool today,’ Walker said. ‘The point differential was just kind of lopsided on the diving end.’
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