Freshman Jane Fayer unleashed her speed in the anchor leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay and gave the Harvard women's swim team a 69-62 victory over Tufts last night in Medford.
With the score knotted at 62-62 going into the final event (the freestyle relay), the outcome of the contest depended on the performance of four girls: Leslie Landefeld, Sharon Beckman, Maura Costin, and Fayer.
After Costin had finished the third leg of the relay, the Harvard women were behind by half a body length. Fayer exploded off the starting block, however, and grabbed the lead within 25 yards. She held on past the turn to bring home the victory with a 25.4 effort, her best 50-yard time of the season.
"I didn't take a breath for the first 20 yards," Fayer said after the race. "I didn't breathe until I caught the Tufts girl."
Fayer said she was determined to simply "haul" right from the start to make up the distance.
Both Fayer and Costin were winners in four events, each coasting to individual triumphs before swimming in the final relay. Neither Fayer nor Costin has lost an individual event this season.
The surprise of the evening came from freshman Sue Abkowitz. Abkowitz, who has been diving for just ten days, turned in a strong performance from the one-meter board to steal a second place finish in both the required and optional events.
The women produced a strong team effort, capturing wins in nine of the 13 swimming events. Crimson coach Stephanie Walsh said after the meet, "The girls came in a little overconfident, but they quickly found out how strong Tufts was; and they rose to the occasion, turning in a really good performance."
Costin, a versatile swimmer, ran away with all her individual events. Her 1:06.1 winning time in the 100-yard individual medley was five seconds ahead of the next finisher's time.
In the 500-yard freestyle, Costin finished with a time of 5:29.4, an incredible 41 seconds ahead of the number two finisher. Her 1:04.6 winning time in the 100-yard butterfly was six seconds better than the second-place swimmer's time in that event.
For the second time in two meets, the Harvard women have had to salvage a meet victory with a win in the final relay. Assistant coach Paula Newman said after the match that she expects every meet this year to be "close, like the last two."
"We're swimming the best we can right now," but she added that because of the "strengths and weaknesses" the team has in different events, the Harvard women do not pile up one-sided victories.
The women, currently sporting a 3-1 record, receive a much needed rest over the Christmas holidays. Their season resumes January 15 against Dartmouth at the IAB.
Walsh said after the meet, "The girls have a long schedule coming up after the Christmas break. We have meets almost three times a week throughout February."