An inspired Penn squash dealt the Harvard women's swimming team a crushing defeat 80-59, Saturday in Philadelphia.
The Quakers, led by a powerful sprinting contingent, jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
"It was a matter of the way the two teams matched up," first-year Harvard Coach Maura Costin said. "Penn's a great sprinting team and that's where we're weaker--much shallower." The rout, however, did not stop with the sprints.
Harvard returned to Cambridge with only three individual victors. Freshman Molly Clark captured the 100 and 200-mter breast stroke, sophomore Susan Harris notched a victory in the 1000-meter freestyle, and senior standout Jennifer Goldberg captured both diving events.
Harvard ended its dual-meet season with an 8-4 record, a big improvement over last year's 4-7 record. Harvard (4-2 Ivy) finished in a second-place lie in the Ivy League with Yale--two games behind undefeated Brown.
The loss to Penn was an upset.
Earlier victories by Harvard over Yale and Princeton, two teams that handily disposed of the Quakers, brought the Cantaba into Philadelphia as the consensus favorite.
The Penn women, however, were not about to take defeat floating on their backs. Costin remarked that a local newspaper quoted a group of Penn swimmers labelling the Harvard most "the biggest of the season."
"They were just ready to beat us," Diana Watts said.
The Penn swimmers were shaved, tapered and rested while the Harvard team was in the middle of a longer term taper aimed at the Eastern Championships at Blodgett pool Thursday.
"This meet was more important for them, while we're getting ready for the Easterns," said Harris.
The Easterns will give the Crimson a chance to avenge its embarrassing defeat in Philadelphia.
Costin told the team she wanted it to finish in the top five this year, after an eighth-place showing last season.
"It (the Easterns) will feature some of the fastest times on the East coast," Costin said. "We're really gearing up for that Eastern meet."