Sophomores Shine in 207-91 Victory

Another weekend, another win for the Harvard women’s swimming and diving team.

The Crimson (4-0, 4-0 Ivy) dominated Penn (1-3, 1-3), 207-91, in dual meet action Saturday at Blodgett Pool.

Once again led by sophomores Kate Mills and Katherine Pickard, Harvard took 13 of the 15 contested events and swept the top three places in eight of them.

“I thought we swam very well for where we are in our training,” Crimson coach Stephanie Morawski said. “They did a great job and were able to keep the focus on their swimming.”

Harvard got things started with a 1-2 finish in the 200-yard medley relay and never looked back.

Sophomore Christine Kaufmann took the meet’s first individual event in style.

After touching the wall first in the 1000-yard freestyle, Kaufmann continued on to the 1650-yard mark as an exhibition event.

She clocked in at 16:36.85 for the mile, a lifetime best.

“She broke 16:40, which is a pretty big barrier in the event,” Clarke said. “It was an impressive swim because she’s been training really hard, and it’s really exciting to see her have this breakthrough right now.”

Clarke, freshman Catherine Zagroba, and junior Katie Faulkner also competed in the grueling event.

“We haven’t had that many opportunities to swim the mile, and it is an event at Ivies,” Morawski said. “I thought all four of them did a great job.”

Harvard was dominant in the freestyle all afternoon, sweeping all five events.

Mills won at both the 100-yard and 200-yard distances, recording times of 52.75 and 1:49.92, respectively.

Freshman Kristi Korsberg was first in the 500-yard freestyle, while Pickard led freshman Monica Burgos and sophomore Laura Murray in the sweep of the 50-yard event.

Pickard’s second individual win came in the 200-yard breaststroke, an unusual event for the sophomore. She clocked in at 2:25.33, followed by freshmen Victoria Pratt and Alicia Lightbourne.

The Crimson’s lineup was full of surprises, as many swimmers stepped outside their comfort zones to compete in unfamiliar events against a weaker opponent.

“It can’t just be about the times you go, it has to be about racing,” Morawski said. “When it’s a completely different event, you have nothing to lose.”

Harvard also recorded sweeps of the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard individual medley. Sophomore Katy Hinkle led the way in the backstroke, finishing in 59.81, and freshman Meghan Leddy won the IM in 2:07.76, nearly four seconds ahead of senior runner-up Linnea Sundberg.

The Quakers’ only wins on the afternoon came in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 1-meter diving event.

In the breaststroke, freshman Helen Pitchik finished strongly but couldn’t overcome a slow start, coming in second to Penn rookie Laura Klick. Lightbourne was third.

And despite missing out on the top spot in 1-meter diving, the Crimson took the next five positions. Sophomore Marissa Ash finished just a point out of first place, followed by sophomore Jenny Reese, freshman Leslie Rea, sophomore Anne Taylor and freshman Jessica Stanchfield.

Reese handily won the 3-meter diving competition, finishing 25 points ahead of Quaker Melissa Gardel.

Additional event winners for Harvard were freshman Hilary Roberts in the 200-yard butterfly, sophomore Kay Foley in the 200-yard backstroke, and junior Natalia Festa in the 100-yard butterfly.

The Crimson swam the day’s final event, the 200-yard freestyle relay, as an exhibition, but Harvard’s A team still touched the wall nearly two seconds ahead of Penn’s top entry.

Hinkle, Murray, junior Sophie Morgan and Pickard recorded a time of 1:37.65.

“Every time we have an opportunity to race, it’s an opportunity to perfect the strategy,” Morawski said. “At the end of the season, we want them to just be focused on the racing, so we need to perfect all those little things now.”

After a break for exams, the Crimson will next be in action Jan. 24 at home against Brown.

“I think it’s really encouraging that everyone swam so well when they’re under so much stress academically,” Clarke said. “When we have our bigger meets and we can focus more directly on swimming, I think we’ll have some pretty impressive swims.”

—Staff writer Kate Leist can be reached at