The Harvard men's swimming team finished up a grueling stretch of meets with a respectable fourth-place showing in the three-day Harvard Invitational held this weekend at Blodgett Pool.
Kansas University grabbed the top spot in the contest by earning 877 points, finishing 97 points ahead of runner-up Georgia. The Crimson finished the competition with 312 points, 60 behind third-place Arkansas.
"This was a great meet to have at this time of the year," Harvard Coach Joe Bernal said. "Most of these teams don't face each other during the rest of the year and it gives everybody a chance to see how they stand early in the season."
Harvard clearly had different expectations than the other five teams entered in the Invitational. While the other squads all shaved and tapered their training for the meet, the Crimson elected to remain unshaven until later in the season, when it gears up for both its dual meet with Princeton and the Eastern Championships.
The decision not to shave put the host team at an immediate disadvan- tage, but may have been wise in the longrun--the meet concluded a nineday span in whichHarvard had races on seven of those days. TheCrimson showed signs of fatigue from the constantcompetition, and any attempt to gear up for ashaved meet would have been inconsequential.
In this light, Bernal was pleased with histeam's showing, especially considering thestrength of the competition.
"Everybody executed this weekend exactly theway I asked them to," Bernal said. "This was asolid test to see whether this team would weakenunder heavy pressure, and the acid test showed methat they are tough. They have what it takes to bea genuine contender."
Several of the Harvard swimmers posted strongearly season times, especially a corp of freshmenthat make up half the Crimson squad. KevinWilliams showed exceptional promise, taking sixthplace in both the 200 and 500-yd. freestyle races.Freshman Tom Peterson also had a fine weekend,scoring in three individual events.
Other bright spots for the Crimson came fromCo-Captain Keith Kaplan, who scored in both the 50and 100 freestyles. Sophomore Paul Watson andfreshman Chris Kovacs earned points in thebackstroke races, with Watson posting asixth-place showing in the 100 backstroke.
In diving, senior Pat Healy placed in the topsix on both the one-and three-meter boards.Sophomores Jonathan Manson, Al Wolf and JoseZumpano kept the Crimson afloat in thebreaststroke competition, each taking points inboth the 100 and 200 breaststroke races.
Both Bernal and his two captains, Kaplan andDavid Berkoff, pointed out the swims of severalother team members, including freshman SumnerAnderson and junior Michael Lin.
"Not shaving for this meet was the right choicebecause we weren't ready either mentally orphysically," Berkoff said. "We have a young teamand are still adjusting, but it was important tokeep the main focus on Easterns and then NCAAs."
Having made it through the storm of meets thatmarked the squad's early season, Harvard can nowprepare for Saturday's showdown against Army inWest Point, N.Y. The dual meet is the Crimson'slast before Christmas vacation, when it willtravel for 10 days to Honolulu for its annualtraining trip.
And considering the number of meets Harvard hasbeen involved in for the past two weeks, itdeserves some time on the beach