Young Swimmers Rock Ithaca Pool
Freshmen and sophomores dominate Cornell, Dartmouth
Cornell and Dartmouth weren’t ready for an underclassmen onslaught Saturday.
While their teammates were at Blodgett in an intra-squad scrimmage, the freshmen and sophomores of the Harvard women’s swimming and diving teams were in Ithaca, N.Y., defeating the Big Red, 166-129, and the Big Green, 203-92.
“We’ve always prided ourselves on the depth on our team,” junior Katherine Pickard said. “So it was awesome.”
Freshman Brittany Powell made a statement early in winning the one-meter and three-meter diving events. Typically, the diving events are held at the same time as the swimming events, but the Cornell pool didn’t have a separate diving well.
This meant that the diving events preceded both the men’s and women’s swimming events and that Powell and the other divers performed in front of their swimming teammates.
“Brittany’s a wonderful diver,” said junior Christine Kaufman, the lone upperclassman at the meet.
According to Pickard, the team elected to send Kaufman as a leader for the young Crimson squad. The junior made a statement of her own with her victories in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle.
“[Christine] was kind of our captain for the meet,” said Harvard assistant coach Matt Davidson. “She set the tempo for the girls…The biggest part of our success was Christine’s Kaufman—her swimming and her leadership. She set the tempo in and out of the pool. She’s absolutely unbelievable.”
Following Kaufman in the 200 freestyle were freshmen Christine Hughes and Camille Hendrix. The event was not the team’s only sweep of the day, as freshman Mackenzie Luick and sophomores Helen Pitchik and Alicia Lightbourne repeated the feat in the 100 breaststroke, and freshman Ellie Johnson, sophomore Monica Burgos, and freshman Kelly Robinson swept the top spots in the 50 freestyle.
Meanwhile, sophomores Catherine Zagroba and Meghan Leddy took first and second in the 1,000 freestyle, a feat matched by Hendrix and Johnson in the 100 free.
“That was a very high energy race,” Leddy said. “I could see Catherine out the hole. I couldn’t see the Cornell girl until my teammates were pointing. It was definitely a painful way to see it, but it got the atmosphere going. Honestly just seeing everyone cheering helped because I was in the lane next to the wall.”
“In the 1000, she touched the girl from Cornell by a tenth of a second,” said Harvard assistant coach Matt Davidson.
“That’s a ten-minute and 26-second race, and she was tough enough to put her head down and get it done. It was the first individual event. It set the tone. It speaks to her toughness and versatility,” he added.
Leddy also took first in the 200 backstroke.
“Meghan is our top 200 backstroker,” Davidson said. “But her times are very strong in her distance events. Meghan would be the top distance swimmer for a lot of schools.”