Texas Aquawomen Take Nationals Harvard Strong in Weak AIAW Meet
The University of Texas at Austin swam to its second straight AIAW national championship yesterday before a noisy crowd in its home pool, while far behind in the standings Harvard vague its finest performance in four years of national championship swimming.
The Longhorns, paced by Olympian Jill Sterkel's two American records, more than doubled the score of second-place Southern Illinois But the victory was marred by the absence of a slew of traditional swimming powers from the meet Hundreds of AIAW affiliated schools, including a majority of the top ten finishers in last year's Nationals broke ranks this year and defected to the newly formed and more glamorous women's NCAA.
Harvard, Princeton and Brown, who decided with the rest of the Ivy League to remain with the AIAW, capitalized on the depleted field to make their best showing ever in national competition Bruin Elaine Palmer became the Ivy's first national champion as she grabbed both the 100 and 200 backstroke events, while Tiger sensation Betsy Land finished second in the 200 freestyle.
The Crimson's Debbie Zimic because the first Harvard woman swimmer to score points in a Division I national meet by powering her way to a 4.31 4 11th-place finish in the 400 individual medley.
No other Crimson swimmers qualified for the finals in any event, but Zimic, Anita Rival, Jeanne Hoyd and Shetty Calvert were one place and 2 seconds away in the 800 freestyle relay.
The meet wrapped up a season which saw Harvard lose only twice in the Ivy League (to perennial nemeses Brown and Princeton), and finish second to Boston University in the Greater Boston Championships. Every member of this year's national-qualifying squad will swim for the Crimson next year.