The Harvard swimming team returns this afternoon from a month on the road, no longer unbeaten but still heavily favored to defeat visiting Cornell in a 2 p.m. Eastern League contest at the IAB.
The Big Red, only 2-3 in the league, is still a respectable opponent and if it catches the Crimson napping the meet could be uncomfortably close. Last year, in fact, Cornell scared Harvard at Ithaca before succumbing to a closing Crimson rally, 57-56.
This winter the Big Red has virtually the same team returning, but a dramatic improvement in the caliber of competition in the league has prevented it from making any gains on the other schools.
Harvard is the favorite despite the fact that Cornell has some top-notch individual performers, most notably diver Larry Moore who was second in the 10-meter dive at the NCAA's at Army last year. The medley relay of both schools will be fairly close and a Cornell win here could make the contest slightly more interesting.
The distance freestyles, however, will be one of many gaping holes Cornell will be unable to hide. Harvard's Rich Baughman, coming back strong after a month of illness, is working extremely hard in practice and should have an easy time in the 1000 and 500.
Too Much for Cornell
The Crimson's best swimmers will probably be too much for the Big Red. Captain Fred Mitchell is again favored in the 200-yd. free, Dave Brumwell should lead a Harvard sweep in the 200-yd. breastroke, while either Brumwell or Hess Yntema could take the 200-yd. individual medley easily. Tom Wolfe, the Harvard record holder, is another favorite in the 200-yd. backstroke.
The battles, if there are any, will be in the sprint freestyles and the butterfly. Tim Neville is favored in the 50-yd. free, but two Cornell swimmers should challenge. The Big Red's Chip Harrison has been consistently under 48.0 in the 100-yd. free and will probably face Mitchell, while Hess Yntema will meet his first viable competition in the 200-yd. fly in the person of Cornell's Meade, a 1:58 performer.
Head coach Don Gambril termed the contest a "dangerous meet." "They are not a team to belittle, and if we mess up they could win it. At the same time if things go right we should score 70 points."