At least superficially, swimming prospered at the women's end of Blodgett Pool this year. 1979-80 saw a dramatic reversal from the previous season's disastrous 1-8 record, as the team finished the year at 8-4.
The third place Ivy League standing was the squad's best ever, as was the first place in the Greater Boston Championships.
But the season also saw the regrettable loss of a coach. Even those who did not agree with her coaching style and philosophy found the departure of Stephanie Walsh "for personal reasons" difficult to accept.
The swimmers themselves will try to salvage whatever continuity exists. The year's freshmen, who composed the bulk of a talent-laden squad, proved a new breed of aquawomen. Harder working and more serious about their sport, most of them should return for at least a year. Several names stand prominently in the foreground of future expectations. Butterflyers Norma Barton and Kathleen McCloskey, sprinter Janie Smith, and distance freestyler Maureen Gildea come instantly to mind.
Barton must be considered the team's real star, capping the season with a sweep of the three butterfly events at the Ivy Championships. She set Harvard records in four events over the course of the year, and qualified for nationals in the 100 and 200 fly.
Gildea copped the Ivy 1000-yd. free title, and Smith won the 100 IM, providing two additional highlights.