W. Swimming Struggles At U.S. Open

The Harvard women’s swimming team faced international and national competitors as well as Ivy rivals Princeton and Brown at the U.S. Open Championships this weekend at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow, New York.

Staged in a short-course meter format, Harvard (2-1, 2-1 Ivy) walked away from the three-day invitational with a 14th-place finish among 18 competing women’s universities, trailing 10th-place Brown and just outpacing 15th-place Princeton.

The Crimson’s most impressive performances came from freshman Jelena Kristic and co-captain Janna McDougall, while Harvard’s relays were the driving force behind their top-16 finish.

Kristic, a national qualifier in the breaststroke, finished 18th in the preliminaries of the 100-meter breast in 1:12.53. Her bonus final swim of 1:13.28 was good enough for 24th place.

Kristic was the only Harvard swimmer to finish in the top 24 in any individual event.

“I was pleasantly surprised with my swims,” Kristic said. “I didn’t expect to swim that fast, but this was a great meet with a very high level of competition.”

Co-captain Janna McDougall had a busy weekend. McDougall had solid performances in all of her individual events. McDougall was 30th in the 50-meter freestyle (26.62), 39th in the 100-meter backstroke (1:04.94), 44th in the 100-meter butterfly (1:04.05) and 52nd in the 100-meter freestyle (58.31).

“There was not a lot of pressure coming into this meet, so as a team and as individuals we got a chance to work on racing strategy, swimming under control, and being even and strong in the water,” McDougall said.

Sophomore Kate Nadeau had a solid swim in the 200-meter butterfly, just missing qualification for the bonus consolation final with a time of 2:18.31.

The Crimson’s relays racked in the team points.

The 400-meter medley relay team of Emily Stapleton, Kristic, Nadeau and McDougall finished 18th in a time of 4:22.20.

Harvard’s freestyle team of McDougall, Nadeau, junior Jane Humphries and freshman Molly Ward, competing at the same distance, sprinting to a 13th-place finish in 3:54.05. The team was aided by a strong lead-off leg by McDougall (57.64) and an equally impressive anchor leg by Ward (58.21).

“It is always important to swim up against some tough competition,” co-captain Caitee Lee said. “It will only make us stronger.”

The Crimson will look to draw on its new-found strength this Sunday, as it faces Ivy competitors Pennsylvania and Columbia in a double-dual meet.