Harvard Beats the Field To Take Ivy Title

GENERAL MILLS
Hannah Chung

Sophomore Kate Mills was part of a dominant showing at the Ivy League Championships this weekend for the Crimson, contributing to successful outings both as part of relay teams and individually. Mills won the 200-yard freestyle, the first time a Harvard s

The No. 25 Harvard women’s swimming and diving team soaked its competition at the Nassau City Aquatics Center in New York this past weekend to win its ninth Ivy League Championship title.

The Crimson triumphed over the three-time reigning Ancient Eight victor, Princeton, by a decisive margin of 249.5 points. Overall, Harvard finished with 1583.5 points, six event championships, ten school records, and eleven NCAA Championship provisional qualifying times.

“I think that they came together as a team.” Crimson coach Stephanie Morawski said. “Not only did we secure wins, but we also had a lot of depth and took it one event a time. They did a really good job racing to make sure it went their way.”

Meanwhile, Harvard sent a smaller squad to the ECAC Championships at home at Blodgett Pool, [how they finished].

The Crimson started off the weekend strong on Thursday, showcasing its depth in the first individual swim of the weekend, the 500-yard freestyle. Harvard claimed four of the top-five places—all in NCAA provisional qualifying times—while simultaneously breaking the school record in the event three times, with junior co-captain Alexandra Clarke in second, sophomore Kate Mills in third, and sophomore Christine Kaufmann in fourth.

Harvard ended the first of the championship with a thirteen-point lead on Princeton, but knew it had to secure a prominent lead before the diving scores were added on Saturday.

“Princeton has a very strong diving force,” Morawski said. “We needed to overcome their diving and make sure we had a significant lead before the diving to be okay.”

Friday, the second day of the championship, the Crimson won four event titles and set or matched school records in five events. Clarke and Mills led the team with two Ivy titles and two school records each. Hinkle also added an Ivy championship and school record to her name.

The day began with a stellar morning session for Harvard, with 17 of the 18 swims of the day qualifying for the A final, and it ended with a shattered school record.

Clarke, sophomore Katherine Pickard, freshman Catherine Zagroba, and Mills dominated in the 800-yard freestyle relay to win the team’s first title in the event in 21 years, provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

“The [800-yard freestyle relay] was an absolutely phenomenal race,” Pickard said. “It came down to like a tenth of a second.”

Mills also made history in the 200-yard freestyle, becoming the first Crimson swimmer to win the event since 1992. Behind Mills, Zagroba came in third while sophomore Laura Murray placed fourth.

Harvard came up with another big win in the 1,000-yard freestyle, sweeping the top three places. Clarke led the pack, destroying her own school record by more than six seconds, followed closely by Kaufmann and Faulkner.

Harvard was leading the meet by more than 200 points on Saturday, the final day of the championships.

“We didn’t assume we were going to win the meet.” Pickard said. “We just swam every race and focused on ourselves and what we needed to get done.”

The Crimson displayed consistency, accumulating wins and points up until the end. Freshman Meghan Leddy won her first Ivy League title in the 200-yard backstroke, setting school and meet records.

In two races on the opposite end of the event spectrum, the 1650-yard freestyle and 50-yard freestyle, Harvard dominated, placing four in the top five for the distance event and three in the top six for the sprint, illustrating once again the enormous depth of its young squad.

“There is something very special about this team.” Morawski said. “They are very positive and work together. They mentor each other and support each other. On every little opportunity they rose up to the challenge. And all those little things together, add up and make the difference. It’s not just luck.”

ECAC CHAMPIONSHIPS

Despite sending its top swimmers to Ivies, the Crimson walked away from the ECAC Championships victorious as well.

Sophomore Holly Furman had a hand in four wins on the weekend, taking the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle while anchoring both medley relay teams.

Classmate Anne Taylor was named Diver of the Meet after sweeping the diving events, while freshman Jessica Stanchfield was runner-up in both.

Harvard entered Sunday’s competition just 1.5 points ahead of runner-up Rider. Aided by the return of Mills and Pickard, the Crimson was able to extend the margin to 23.5 points by the end of the meet.

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