Last year's Crimson swimming team broke eight records, equalled one, went undefeated until the Yale meet, and forced the Elis unbeaten in 127 consecutive swims--to win by the skin of their suits. In fact, the Crimson won the swimming; it just lost the dive.
This year the Crimson has the divers and may show tremendous depth in the sprints--the heart of any swimming meet. But it is going to have to go some still to beat Yale.
"We're not a unit yet," said coach Half Ulen, "and it will be hard, frankly, to match last year's record. It's up to the boys. But they've produced before," he added.
Leading the output is a gentleman who drives through the water like a snowplow, Captain Jim Jorgensen. He became the fastest 220 freestyler in the East his sophomore year. Against Yale last March as a junior, the rangy Jorgensen broke his own Crimson record in the 220, set one in the 440 (which he was swimming for the first time), and despite the gruelling length of this event, came back in the immediately following relay with an amazing 53-second leg for the final 100 yards.
Ulen's other big gun is not so large in size, but he is so loose in the water that he excels at the butterfly, breaststroke, and individual medley. Dave Hawkins, who won three events against Yale last year, has scored more points and broken more records than any other Crimson swimmer in the past three years.
After Jorgensen and Hawkins, Ulen is concerned with developing potential. He lost both of last year's varsity divers team by graduation, but they had not come through against Yale, costing the meet. To replace them, diving coach Charley Batterman has the two who dove for the freshmen last year: Greg Stone and Duane Murner. The talented Stone was practically undefeated last year; the hard-working Murner came just about as close to him as anyone could get. "It will take a darn good diver to beat them," Batterman said. But this year the Yale meet is at New Haven, where the Blue divers have the advantage of familiarity with the board.
Ulen lost three swimmers from his last team, however, who will not be so easily replaced as his divers. 1955 captain Ted Whatley could be depended upon to score in the 220. At present, his only apparent successor is Fletcher Davis, a sophomore who didn't get much of a chance to prove himself as a freshman because of a skiing-accident concussion. Perhaps he will stay off skis this winter, but he still has much work to do, judging by what he was able to produce last year.
Another vacancy is that left by Al Rapperport, a hard-working backstroker who cut his 200 time from 2:25 to 2:19.2 last year and beat Yale. His potential successor is Griff Winthrop, a sophomore who will have to make an equal improvement.
While Ulen has also lost Jack Edwards, a 50-second 100 man, Crimson sprinting may not feel the loss too severely. Three juniors--Chouteau Dyer, Jon Lind, and Pete Macky--formed three quarters of a free style relay team that placed fourth in the country at the N.C.A.A. meet last spring.
Behind them are Gus Johnson, an experienced senior; juniors Rog Clifton and Stu Ogden; and sophomores Ron Mischner and Tom Cochran.
Finally, Sigo Falk, his brother Dave, and Bill Hoadley provide breaststroke ability that may free Hawkins for duty elsewhere.
The key man among these potentials may prove to be Macky. His versatility, as evidenced by his medley ability, may enable him to throw the balance to the Crimson, who with Hawkins, can shift his events to meet opposing strength.
And opposing strength will be in evidence before the Yale meet this year. Dartmouth is well stocked with fast sophomores, and the meet is at Hanover.