Crimson Shines Brightly After Finals

The Harvard men’s swimming and diving team dominated the board, winning 14 of 16 events in Friday’s meet against Brown.

The Crimson, which had not hit the water in three weeks (5-1, 3-1 Ivy), grabbed the lead early in the day and ended with a 194–104 victory against the Bears (3-3, 2-2 Ivy).

“It was a little challenging because exams and reading period certainly takes its toll,” sophomore Geoff Rathgeber said. “I think we maintained our focus for most of it and we were all excited to get back in the water and race.”

Nine different swimmers and one diver contributed to the 14 Harvard wins in 12 individual events and both relays.

The Crimson got a good start off the blocks, winning the first event with a team comprised of senior co-captain David Cromwell, classmate Mark Knepley, Rathgeber, and freshman Bill Jones, that won the 200-yard medley relay.

All four members of the first-place relay team registered at least one additional win over the course of the meet.

Cromwell went on to lead a very close finish in the 50-yard freestyle, with the top five finishers all touching the wall within one second of each other. He led the pack with a time of 21.07, followed by Jones in third with 21.65 and sophomore James Bailey in fifth with 21.87.

Cromwell finished out the day on a similar high note, winning the last individual race of the contest, the 400-yard individual medley. Sophomore Sam Wollner touched the wall after that to take second place.

Rathgeber also grabbed two wins. In only the fourth event of the meet, the 100-yard backstroke, he led a one-two finish, followed by Quinn.

Rathgeber rounded out the meet with a second one-two finish in the 100-yard butterfly, where he was followed by senior Stephen Norberg.

Knepley was the last of the group to register two individual wins during the meet. Immediately following his winning relay race, Knepley took first in the 200-yard freestyle with Jones taking third.

“Knepley had a great meet,” Cromwell said. “We expect to see really big things from him in the next couple weeks.”

Knepley then went on to edge out Rathgeber in the 100-yard freestyle by .02 seconds.

Knepley, along with Jones, helped his team to its second relay win of the night with a victory in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Quinn and freshman David Guernsey swam the other two legs.

But the freshman who made the biggest splash in the pool was long distance swimmer Eric Lynch, who won both the 100- and 500-yard freestyle events. Lynch won the 100-yard event by an incredible 10 seconds, and the 500- by more than 8 seconds.

The last Harvard competitor to register multiple wins was diver Danil Rybalko, who took first in both the one-meter and three-meter diving events. Rybalko didn’t face much competition though, as he won the one-meter by 61.95 points and the three-meter by an even greater 83.10 points.

The Crimson won two other events Friday. Wollner led a sweep of the top two spots in the 200-yard butterfly, with senior co-captain Bill Cocks touching the wall second.

Junior Nick Cirella won the first dual meet race of his career in leading a second one-two finish in the 200-yard breaststroke, followed by classmate Brian Fiske.

“It was an opportunity for people to branch out and do some different events,” Cromwell said. “It really opened up the way for other people to get a chance in the spot light too. Cirella got his first dual meet victory. We were all really happy for him.”

Harvard did not reach the wall first in either the 100-yard breaststroke or the 200-yard backstroke. In the 100, junior Joc Christiana was the highest Crimson finisher in third, and in the 200, freshman Tim Parent was the top finisher, taking the third-place spot as well.

Even though he didn’t win a race or finish in the top three in an event, freshman Patrick Detzner arguably received the greatest honor of the day. Every year the team selects one freshman to swim every event in one meet, called the iron man. The challenge is given to the freshman who best typifies what it means to be a Harvard swimmer, and this year Detzner received the honor.

“It took us a long time to figure out who it was going to be,” Rathgeber said. “[Detzner] did a great job and put his heart and soul in it and never gave up. He had a great performance and we are really proud of him.”

The Crimson will now host the biggest dual meet of the season, against Princeton and Yale, on February fourth at Blodgett Pool.

“It’s just a normal week of practice and we are just going to have to swim under normal conditions,” Rathgeber said. “But expect big things from us.”

—Staff writer Abigail M. Baird can be reached at ambaird@fas.harvard.edu.

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