Nancy Sato Dives for Harvard Team; First to Break Athletic Sex Barriers
Radcliffe sophomore Nancy Sato broke the sex barrier for Harvard's athletic teams last Saturday, by diving in the J.V. swim meet against Williston Academy.
Sato was one of three individual winners for the Crimson in their 68-27 thrashing by Williston. She scored 205 points in the one-meter dive to top her nearest competitor by more than 80 points. Harvard diving coach John Walker said that Sato was "more mentally and physically mature and more experienced than her opposition."
Sato has worked out regularly with the Harvard swim team since the end of the field hockey season--Several Radcliffe divers take lessons from the Harvard staff, but she is the first and only female team member.
"Although my first allegiance is to Radcliffe, I am learning a lot more here. I am getting more instruction," Sato said. Radcliffe coach Alice McCabe said she is happy with the arrangement. Sato also swims for the Radcliffe swim team.
There are many problems that could arise with a female competing on an all male team, but Walker said that no negative sentiments have been expressed.
"I like having girls around. This is a sport in which men and women have worked out together for a long time and it is part of the sport," the Harvard diving coach added.
Head swimming coach Don Gambrill said "nobody on our team minds her working with the team. We're only interested in ability, and if a woman can compete on an equal level with men, there is no reason for her not to be on the team."
Sato said that she was "scared, but not terribly excited" about her first meet with the Harvard team. She now feels comfortable with her coach and co-divers, she said.
Sato's only complaint is the lack of space in the IAB for women's lockers. She dresses for meets in a bathroom, and keeps her clothes in the swimming office.
Sato has been diving periodically since she was ill, but she said that last year was the first time she took her diving seriously. She placed fourth in the New England post-season women's tournament last winter.
Despite the beliefs of her coaches that she possesses tremendous potential, Sato is wary of making predictions. "I take each day as it comes," she said.
"There are a lot of things I want to do, but I don't know if I'm capable of them. I'm just trying to learn and it's fun," she added.