The Harvard women's swim team entered Blodgett Pool last night bespectacled in red sunglasses, proving that its future was so bright that it had to wear shades.
When the water settled after the second night of the Eastern Swimming and Diving Championship, the aquawomen led by 73 points, leaving their competitors and the 250 spectators blinded by the Crimson light.
Harvard will seek to secure its first Easterns title today at Blodgett. After 13 events, the hosts have garnered 475 points. Penn State continues to offer dogged competition, trailing with 402 points. Princeton and Brown retained their third and fourth place standings, respectively.
The Crimson were paced by outstanding performances from Jenny Meyer in the 200-yd. freestyle, and Mia Costello in the 100-yd. breaststroke. Harvard reaffirmed its domination in the relays, capturing the 200-yd. freestyle and the 400-yd. medley relays.
Costello had a somewhat productive day. Before her new EWSL 100-yd. trial time could dry off in the record books, she set a new best with a time of 1:04.11 in the finals. She also delivered a speedy split in the medley relay, breaking the EWSL record for that event along with Sheila Findley, Mary Quinn, and Linda Suhs.
Costello, the defending champion in the 100-yd. breaststroke, was challenged throughout the race by Brown's Carolyn Ryder. Ryder had defeated the sophomore in the dualmeet between the two schools earlier this year.
"We were both wondering who would win Easterns," Costello said of the rivalry. "I can't wait to see our times in the NCAA's." Both women have also qualified for Olympic trials.
The potency of the Harvard attack was never illustrated so well as in the 400-yd. individual medley. Highly-touted and first-seed Pam Franklin from Princeton broke out to an early lead, but that was soon usurped by Brown's Lisa Maximo. Meyer and teammate Nicole Engh remained inconspicuous in the third and fifth lanes. However, both delivered freestyle splits of less than a minute, giving Meyer the gold and Harvard a one-two finish.
The quarter of Nina Anderson, Jill Hutchinson, Quinn and Suhs opened the evening with a first in the 200-yd. freestyle relay. The crowd was hoping for a head-to-head rematch between Yale's Lisa O'Dell, Boston University's Sybil Smith and Suhs, the top three finishers in Thursday night's record-setting 50-yd. freestyle race.
That confrontation never happened, as Smith did not compete in the relay, and Suhs and O'Dell swam different legs. O'Dell, the winner of the 50-yd. freestyle, swam a daunting 0:23.18 split to open the relay, but Suhs responded in the anchor leg with a 0:23.06 for the victors. The two are expected to face each other tonight.
Suhs did eventually face Smith in the 100-yd. backstroke. B.U.'s standout joined in the record-breaking fad, smashing the EWSL mark with a time of 0:56.08. Findley placed third, while Suhs grabbed fifth.
The 200-yd. freestyle event witnessed the renewal of the rivalry between Penn State's Denise Sonntag and Harvard's Janice Sweetser. Sonntag defeated Sweetser in the 500-yd. freestyle Thursday, but Harvard's star edged the Nittany Lion for second place. Princeton's Darcie Eckert broke from the pack early, adding a gold in that event to Thursday's triumph in the 200-yd. individual medley.