W. Swimmers Lack Numbers, Depth
Costin Scalise Leaves Rebuilding Team
Record: 7-4, 4-3 Ivy
Easterns Finish: Fourth
Coach: Maura Costin Scalise
Key Players: Senior Kara Miller; Juniors Jennifer Steffen and Stephanie Lawrence; Freshman Alexis Todor
Hampered by both a small roster and a difficult schedule, the Harvard women's swimming and diving team needed to dig deep this year in order to keep its head above water.
After losing last season's co-captains--Sarah Durkin and Laura Koerkel--to graduation, the Crimson's ranks were left depleted. With a small recruiting class, the team was left at its smallest level in recent years.
Many times throughout the season, Harvard was forced to compete against much larger teams. Yet these seemingly insurmountable circumstances did not phase the team's determination.
"The fact that we could come so close to teams that were twice our size shows our individual might," said junior Jennifer Steffen, one of next year's co-captains.
One of the many things this team does have going for it is youth, as it touts nine freshman on a roster of 21. Though this lessens the overall experience of the team it raises expectations for a strong team in the future.
This year was seen by many as a rebuilding year. Harvard hoped to solidify a core group of dedicated and well-conditioned swimmers, then wait for next year's large recruiting class to fill out the team.
Although the Crimson did not send any members to the NCAA Championships, it remained in the top half of the Ivy League and the Eastern Women's Swimming League. Finishing the season in fourth place at Easterns, the Crimson earned the respect of many bigger and more dominating teams.
The Crimson started the season out strong with a scrimmage win over Northeastern and a regular-season win over Columbia. Harvard followed the two wins with a heart-breaking 153-146 loss to Brown, the eventual winner of both the Ivy League and Eastern Women's Swimming Championships.
After falling to a national-caliber Virginia squad, Harvard turned it on, winning consecutive meets over Villanova, Florida Sate, Boston University and Dartmouth.
The Crimson split its remaining meets, posting wins over Pennsylvania and Cornell, but falling to Yale and Princeton.
At Easterns, Harvard did not win any individual events, but it did have a number of impressive showings at the meet. Senior Kara Miller captured second place in the one-meter diving event and garnered third place in the three-meter.
Miller's achievement was recognized as she was honored as a First Team All-Ivy selection in both the one- and three-meter diving events.
Freshman Alexis Todor gained Second Team All-Ivy honors after placing second in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:19.68. Todor was also Harvard's top scorer with 42 points at the meet.
Even though the team did not finish gloriously, this year will be considered special for another reason. Coach Maura Costin Scalise '80 decided to retire after 13 years as head coach.
In her long and memorable career, Costin Scalise posted an incredible record of 105 wins with only 20 loses. Also to her credit, Harvard won seven Ivy League titles and four Eastern Championships under her tutelage.
Replacing Costin Scalise is her assistant coach Stephanie Wriede '92. Wriede, who swam at Harvard and made it to the NCAA Championships, should have little problem slipping in at the head coach position.
"[The two coaches] have different techniques, but the spirit under Maura will not be forgotten for many years," Steffen said.
Hopefully for the Crimson, the team that Costin Scalise took farther than anyone before her, can continue to blossom under her hand-picked successor.