For the Harvard women's swim team, Saturday's Greater Boston Championships at MIT brought some needed relief from the high-pressure schedule the women have faced recently. Approaching the meet in a casual manner, the women calmly kicked their way to a fourth-place finish in the seven-team field.
A powerful Boston College team ran away with first-place in the meet, scoring 598 points. Harvard totaled 355 points, just 14 points behind third-place Tufts.
Coach Stephanie Walsh said yesterday she let her swimmers choose the events they wanted to swim instead of requiring them to compete in their strongest events.
"With so many pressure meets this month, I wanted to reduce the tense atmosphere and let the girls have some fun," she said.
Her philosophy may not have produced a strong team finish for the Harvard swimmers, but it did result in many personal-best times for the aqua-women. Walsh said the reduction in pressure helped the women loosen up and as a result they swam "quite well."
Sharon Beckman, with a time of 2:11.63 in the 200-yard freestyle, scored the only first-place finish for Harvard.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Leslie Landefeld, Nancy Danoff, Sue Abkowitz, and Jane Fayer raced to a quick third-place finish with a time of 2:05.2.
Mary Ellen Mangano turned in one of the strongest individual performances of the day, clocking a 27.8 in her leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay. Walsh said that performance may have earned Mangano a spot on the relay team.
Freestyler Fayer contributed a second-place 1:07.16 finish in the 100-yard individual medley, and a fourth-place 30.05 in the 50-yard butterfly, while backstroker Danoff found success in the breast-stroke, finishing second with a time of 36.25.
After a two day break the pressure will return Tuesday night a 7 p.m. when Harvard hosts Boston College at the IAB.