The Crimson only qualified two swimmers for the Women’s NCAA Championships this year, but both swimmers were able to qualify in more than one event.
“That is one of the things that made me happy that I could perform so well against people that were so fast,” freshman Jackie Pangilinan said. “Usually I get intimidated, but it was so great to watch the finals and see the people swimming so fast. It was so amazing that you get inspired.”
Sophomore Noelle Bassi qualified for three events—a heavy load for an individual swimmer—but only swam in two, opting not to swim in her B-cut events. Pangilinan qualified for two events and swam in both.
On the last day of competition, Bassi and Pangilinan both competed in their best events and performed extremely well.
Pangilinan swam first in the 200-yard breaststroke, the better of her two breaststroke events, and finished with a time of 2:14.91, breaking a school record previously held by Crimson coach Stephanie Wriede-Morawski ’92. Her 16th-place finish was just enough to make the finals later that day.
“I was really happy,” Pangilinan said. “I swam my best time. I didn’t expect to make it back [to the finals] at all.”
Pangilinan went on to best her own record and improve her finish—2:13.98 in the finals, good for 15th.
Her performance was especially impressive because it was two seconds faster than her qualifying time of 2:15.37, previously her best time of the year. She was seeded 31st going into the event.
“I was ready to swim fast because I have been practicing hard and swimming fast,” Pangilinan said. “It was fun. I put the pressure aside.”
But Bassi was not about to be shown up and registered two great record-breaking performances of her own. In day three of competition, Bassi swam in her best event, the 200-yard butterfly. She finished in 12th place in the preliminaries with a time of 1:59.32 for a new school record.
In the finals, Bassi registered a faster time of 1:59.29 but dropped three spots in the finals to finish in 15th place.
“After Jackie swam well, I used the momentum and was aggressive in my race,” Bassi wrote in an e-mail. “In the morning, the goal was to win [the] heat, which I accomplished. When Jackie and I both made finals, we were ecstatic and channeled that energy into our races.”
Bassi now holds the top three times in the 200-yard butterfly in Harvard history.
It was Bassi’s second time competing in the 200-yard butterfly at the NCAA Championships. The first time was in 2003, when she was a freshman swimming for Tennessee. Then, she took an impressive 18th place in the prelims, just missing the chance to swim in the finals.
This weekend, Bassi also competed in the 500-yard freestyle. In the preliminaries, Bassi swam a time a 4:52.92 for a 47th-place finish. While she did not make the finals, she did improve on her ranking from her seeded position of 51st. Bassi qualified with her school-record breaking time of 4:50.78.
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