W. Swimmers Rout Dartmouth, Cornell

The Harvard women’s swimming and diving team welcomed the season with style on Saturday, winning 14 of 16 events and setting two pool records en route to a 219-81 dismantling of Dartmouth and a 235-65 trouncing of Cornell—both traditional Ancient Eight bottom-dwellers—at Teagle Hall in Ithaca, N.Y.

Despite the fact that the team tested out swimmers in races different from those in which they usually compete, Harvard still dominated early, claiming victory in the first eight races.

“We all did pretty well, even though Cornell and Dartmouth are not the strongest teams,” sophomore Jane Evans said.

Head-to-head, the Big Green topped the Big Red 187-113.

The only two events Harvard did not win—the 100-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle—saw Crimson swimmers take second place.

Freshman Lee Ann Chang made her collegiate debut one to remember. After teaming up with tri-captain Erica DeBenedetto and juniors Allison Bates and Molly Ward to win the 200-yard medley relay, Chang captured the 100-yard breaststroke in a pool-record time of 1:05.82.

Displaying her versatility, she would also best her competitors in the 100-yard butterfly, covering the distance in 56.83.

Two other freshmen, Emily Wilson and Laurin Weisenthal, were likewise victorious in their first collegiate races, taking the 200-yard freestyle and 1,000-yard freestyle, respectively.

Finishing the 1,000-meters in only 10:20.66, Weisenthal touched the wall almost 12 seconds before her closest challenger.

“I was just really excited that I could contribute,” Weisenthal said. “I am looking forward to helping the team out this year in any way I can.”

Wilson also joined sophomore Erin Mulkey, senior Kate Nadeau and Ward on the winning 400-yard freestyle relay that was nearly eight seconds quicker than second-place Dartmouth. By the time Mulkey had raced in that relay, she had already taken the 50-yard freestyle in 24.43.

The youth movement extended further, with freshman Kelly Blondin claiming the 200-yard breaststroke.

“We have a very strong freshman class,” Evans said.

Blondin and her twin sister Kelly had a busy meet, swimming in five events between them.

Evans, a seasoned veteran compared to the verdant freshmen, had a solid day at the pool. She first won the 200-yard butterfly in 2:05.06, a pool record, and then led a 1-2-3-4 Harvard finish in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:07.79.

The Crimson made a smaller splash in the diving competition. But small splashes are better in diving.

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