The Harvard women's swim team got its season off to an informal start Saturday, meeting ten other squads at the Wellesley relays. No team scores were kept. The event is held to give the various coaches a chance to test their charges under competitive conditions before the formal season actually begins.
The event included only relay races, so that a large number of swimmers could participate. Crimson mentor Stephanie Walsh arrived with a 29-woman squad, the largest contingent at the meet, but was able to enter each swimmer in at least one of the nine races.
Walsh said yesterday she was very pleased with the results, especially the Crimson's showing in the breaststroke. The team was expected to be weak in this area, but the quartet of Beth Maher, Mary Ellen Mangano, Diana Borden and freshman Hope Lampert splashed to a surprising second-place finish.
Harvard notched third-place finishes in two other races, and Laura Downey turned in particularly fine performances in both the individual medley and the freestyle relay. The junior paddler took last year off after setting seven school records the season before.
Taking A Dive
Diving was the ninth event of the day. Freshman Peri Ozkum and sophomore Emily Rothrock bounded off the board for the Crimson well enough to take third-place honors.
The Wellesley relays also afforded Walsh an opportunity to size up some of the squads that Harvard will have to deal with in the regular season.
Her attention must have been focused on the swimmers from B.C., who dominated the meet by sweeping to victory in five of the nine relays. Harvard will open the season against the Eagles after Thanksgiving.
While Harvard used everyone, and many of the Crimson swimmers started in unfamiliar events, the squad from Chestnut Hill went with its best line-up. "I did not give away any secrets," Walsh said. "They gave away all they had. They showed us what they had in the sprints."
The Eagles figure to be superior to the Crimson in these shorter events, but the regular-season match will include 100-meter and 200-meter events in each of the four strokes, rather than the 50-meter and 100-meter races that are usually featured. Harvard should shine at the longer distances.
Four days after Walsh's charges face B.C., they will match strokes with the B.U. Terriers.
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