Women Swim to Fourth at Division II Nationals
They swept through Eastern Georgia not knowing what kind of resistance they would meet. But Saturday night, after three days of free-for-alling and freestyling, they galloped out of Gainesville with Liz Kelly high in the saddle, having torched a few records on the way.
"Gone with the Wind" this was not. "Born Free" might be more appropriate, as the women's swim team established itself as the premier Division II freestylers in the nation, on the way to a fourth-place finish at the National AIAW Swimming and Diving Championships for small colleges over the weekend.
This was the Liz Kelly Show from start to finish as the Harvard freshman took three individual firsts and a fifth, and helped the three freestyle relays to a second and two thirds.
Saturday night the six Harvard swimmers put on a thrilling performance that carried them from sixth to fourth place, just edging out East Stroudsberg State College, 179-175, in the final 400-yd. freestyle relay. Clarion State won the meet with 297 points, followed by Manhattanville (212) and host Brenau (201).
The 1650-yd. freestyle was the opening race Saturday evening. Kelly trailed WPI's Suzanne Coll for the first 500 yards, but grabbed the lead by swimming at a steady 1:03 100-yd. pace.
She finished first with a new team and New England record of 17:33.53, also setting new standards in the 1000 on the way (10:34.85). "I went out a bit slowly," Kelly said yesterday, "but I was tired by Saturday."
She was not too tired to come right back and take a fifth in the 100-yd. freestyle, finishing in 54.64. Jane Fayer added valuable points with an eighth place time of 54.75.
Laurie Downey got on the scoreboard with an eighth in the 50-yd. backstroke (29.28) and a ninth in the 100-yd. individual medley (1:02.79), adding to her two seconds in the meet.
The Crimson entered the 400-yd. freestyle relay in fifth place behind East Stroudsberg. "We really wanted it bad," Kelly said.
The team of Downey, Kelly, Sherry Lubbers and Fayer was touched out by Brenau, 3:38.95-3:39.15, despite a blistering 53.8 leg by Fayer, but East Shroudsberg could only manage a sixth. When it was all over, Walsh said, "I am just overwhelmed."