Tigers Can't Swim: Aquamen Shock Princeton
It was billed as the clash of the titans--superpowers Harvard and Princeton in swimming--a meet that could be decided by the final relay. Instead, it turned out to be a Super Bowl XVIII-style whitewash as the Harvard men's swimming team prevailed, 77-36, Saturday at Blodgett Pool.
"Princeton had expected to walk all over us," said senior Mike Miao, who added that the victory will serve to "show the rest of the league how good we are." The Tigers came into the contest boasting a number-tow-Eastern ranking and a perfect 5-0 slate, planning to bury the number-six ranked, not-so-perfect, five-time and reigning Eastern champions. The upset win gave the aquamen a three-match winning streak and continued to heal the wounds of the Crimson's perfectly horrendous 0-2 start against Navy and Columbia.
In thrashing its allegedly high and mighty opponents. Harvard resorted to teamwork and sheer determination. As a result, the outcome of the meet became apparent as soon as senior Captain Courtney Roberts beat Tiger freshman Dan Vetch in the 500-yd. freestyle. That gave Harvard a commanding lead with three events remaining.
"It's a sign of our team and the young, enthusiastic talent we have that, on a given day, we can beat any team in the league," an exuberant Coach Joe Bernal said following the meet. Indeed, it was the contagious level of intensity, felt by everyone in the arena, which propelled the Crimson to the upset.
As usual the aquamen combined a group of talented veterans with a slew of inspired underclassmen in order to clinch the victory. Leading the way were Roberts and Miao Roberts posted a time of 9:22:09, his best of the year, to capture the 1000-yd. freestyle, almost 33 seconds faster than the Eastern qualifying time for that event. Mial placed first in the 200- and 100-yd. freestyle and later teamed up with junior Bob Hrachak and yardlings James Kornish and Carr Phillips to ice the Crimson victory in the meet's final event, the 400-yd. freestyle.
Kornish and Phillips are two of the main reasons the Crimson has reestablished itself as a power to be reckoned with. In one of the day's most exciting races, the 200-yd. individual medley, the lead changed hands several times between Kornish and Princeton freshman Jim Tuchler before Kornish cked out a 0-3 second victory with a time of 1.54.34. Phillip, meanwhile, turned in team opened performances as he seating carly pace for Miao's win and finally carned a first place finish in the 400-yd. relay.
"We are working very hard to develop depth, and we need that depth for the Easterns," Bernal explained. "I had promised the team that they would he swimming fast [at this point in the season] so we could come out as a class team."
The Crimson's domination continued into the diving events where freshman Fernando Longo surprised everyone with a first place in the one meter diving. Senior Karl Illig took the three meter diving with a dive which carned a nine from two judges and a nine-and-a half from another.
In other events Hrabchak clinched the 50-yd. freestyle and junior William McClockey outdistanced ternate Peter Egan in the 200-yd. butterfly.