The Harvard women's swimming and diving teams (3-1, 3-1 Ivy) went separate ways for the biggest weekend of invitational competitions in the country.
The swimmers headed to the University of Notre Dame Invitational and finished fourth after three days of competition with 1,088 points. Notre Dame finished first, followed by Denison, and Michigan State.
The Crimson diving corps, made up of only three women, traveled south to the University of Texas at Austin Invitational. The squad finished 14th in Texas at what some billed as "the most competitive meet in the country this weekend."
Considering that Harvard's divers and swimmers were competing without each other's help, each squad's finish was particularly strong.
Captain Pia Chock lead the Crimson effort in Indiana with wins in the 100-yard freestyle (51.60) and the 100-yard butterfly (56.43). Chock added a third place finish in the 50-yard freestyle (24.17) and also anchored Harvard's string of fourth place relay finishes.
Chock has been the fuel to the Crimson's fire this season. She set a team record earlier in the year and has been the team's leading point scorer at every competition thus far.
Even Chock's exhibition in the 500-yard freestyle at Notre Dame would have a claimed another victory for the Crimson.
Junior sprinter Janna McDougall continued making waves for Harvard. With strong performances in her leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay and in the 100-yard butterfly,
McDougall demonstrated versatility and consistency within those races.
"This was a good opportunity to race some non-Ivy League schools," McDougall said. "It's time for us to realize that we can compete against Division I scholarship schools. This meet was important for the morale of the team."
Freshmen Kate Nadeau and Katie Wilbur followed Chock and McDougall's lead with strong swims in their respective events.
In the 200 fly, all five of the team's seniors qualified for finals and four were in the Championship heat. Nadeau battled to a 2nd place finish in 2:05.
Wilbur provided damaging middle distance prowess with a strong morning swim in the 200-yard backstroke (2:06.28) and a solid evening swim in the 400-yard individual medley. She finished eighth and fourth respectively.
"I think our team did a good job of racing," senior Lillian Brown said. "Even though many of us were tired and broken down, it was good to swim a trials and finals meet. This was good practice for the Ivy Championships, where it is really important to be top 8 or top 16 in the morning."
The Crimson feels it improved on its performance from two weeks ago against Brown.
"Whereas at Brown we got touched out a lot, at Notre Dame, everyone was working hard to beat the other girl into the wall," sophomore Sue Brunka said. "I think that the fact that the team maintained good race strategy will really pay off at HYP and Ivies."
In Austin, Crimson divers handled the pressure of competition against some of the nation's best.
Senior Camilla McLean and freshmen Rene Paradise topped off the
weekend with top-16 performances on the 1-meter and 3-meter springboards.
Captain Ali Shipley made her season debut in the platform competition, finishing seventeenth.
Harvard's next challenge comes this Sunday as the Crimson squares off against Penn at Blodgett Pool at 1pm.