Aquamen Top Lions; Remain East's Best
Harvard Stops Penn State
The last time the Harvard men's swimming team swam on consecutive days, some thing went horribly wrong. The Crimson bowed to Navy and Columbia last December, ending a three-year undefeated campaign.
This weekend, the aquamen had already spent Saturday drenching Cornell, 81-32. All the Crimson needed to do to reverse that 0-2 weekend was to win one more meet this time against number two-ranked Penn State (ranked first all year until last Monday), Just one more meet. And it would come down to the final two races.
With number-one (that's right, number one) Harvard leading, 52-45, going into the 200-yd, breaststroke, the Crimson needed a victory in one of the last two events to clinch the season's most significant win.
It looked like it would all hinge on the final relay when the Nittany Lions Rob Kramer opened up a 5-yd, lead on teammate Gerry Ross and Harvard freshman Lars Reierson. But in the final lap, Reierson charged ferociously past both opponents to give the aquamen the minimum 57 points required for the win, capping the Crimson's gradual return to Eastern swimming supremacy.
Actually, Harvard had catapulted itself into the number-one spot after a stunning 77-36 upset over Princeton a week ago.
But as Coach Joe Bernal explained, "I'd rather establish that fact in the pool, and that's exactly what we did today." Indeed, the meet saw the Crimson winning the crucial events in order to build leads and dispel any thoughts of a Lion comeback.
Earlier, senior Mike Miao and sophomores Tim Ford and Peter Egan had teamed up to give Harvard a 24-19 advantage. Ford and senior Captain Courtney Roberts dominated the 1650-yd, freestyle by placing first and second, respectively and Miao won the 50-yd, freestyle in 21.11.
Egan proved to be one of Harvard's many heroes of the day by capturing two crucial and close races, first in the 400-yd, individual medley and later in the 200-yd butterfly.
The contest featured the lengthening or two events at the Lions' request, the 1650-yd freestyle in place of the 100 and the 400-yd individual medley instead of the 200 Bernal's compliance with the request proved justified as the Crimson triumphed in both the events.
In addition, Roberts and yardling Dan Simkowitz helped widen the margin, turning in brilliant performances to take the 500-yd, freestyle and the 200-yd backstroke However, this marked a day when diving would betray the aquamen, as their opponents took the top two spots in both the one-and three-meter events.
Using these two victories, the Nittany Lions fought their way back into the meet before Reierson nailed the State coffin shut with his inspired swimming.
The victory bodes well for the Crimson in the Eastern Seaboards, because Harvard used a multitudinous cast of swimmers to raise its record to 5-2. As Bernal said, "Where the divers didn't come through [and we still won] showed me that we were well balanced. Somebody always came through."
On Saturday, Cornell entered Blodgett Pool with a celebrated freestyle team, one that Crimson Assistant Coach Ken Oberg called "the best in the league "The Big Red left the arena with two freestyle victories and the short end of an 81-32 score
The Crimson started the meet on the right foot by taking the first event, the 400-yd medley relay, in 3:33.89, thanks to the team of Captain Julian Bott. Reierson, juniors Bill McCloskey and Brian Grottkau. The win gave Harvard a 7-0 lead, and the Crimson never looked back.
Roberts and freshman Jim Kornish led the Cantabs the rest of the way. The captain has begun to take over at this critical point in the year and against Cornell he won the 1000-and 500-yd, freestyles convincingly. Kornish displayed tremendous flexibility by taking the 200-yd. individual medley, the 400-yd. freestyle relay, and by placing second in the 100-yd. freestyle.
In other events, Miao, Egan, and Reierson joined the "200 club" by taking the 200-yd freestyle, butterfly, and breaststroke, respectively.