The Harvard men’s swimming and diving team opened its season in dominant fashion at Cornell on Saturday, racing past both Dartmouth and the Big Red by a score of 207-93.
The Crimson (1-0, 1-0 Ivy) includes 29 returning swimmers and eight All-Ivy competitors. The team swept its first eight events to claim its 41st consecutive win over the Big Green (1-1, 1-1) and fifth over Cornell (0-2, 0-2).
“We came out with a lot of energy and maintained really good attitude throughout the meet,” co-captain Greg Roop said. “We were a little tired going in because we had a tough week of training, but I think the guys responded really well.”
The day began with the diving events, in which sophomore Mike Mosca—the 2012 Ivy League Champion on the one-meter—took the one-meter and three-meter events by 55 and 27 points, respectively. Over the summer, Mosca and his partner placed sixth in the three-meter synchronized diving competition at Olympic trials.
Harvard’s freshman swimmers impressed. Three rookies won races for the Crimson, which took 11 of 14 races with Dartmouth picking up the remaining three.
“The entire freshman class stepped up today and showed us what they were about,” Roop said. “Pretty much across the board, they were fantastic. It was a great meet for them, and we were really happy to see them perform so well.”
The Class of 2016 includes four All-Americans and five swimmers who competed at Olympic trials this summer alongside eight other Harvard veterans. The recruits, ranked No. 6 in the nation by CollegeSwimming.com coming into the season, lived up to expectations.
Christian Carbone won the 200 fly with a time of 1:50.58 and placed third in the 200 breaststroke. Jacob Luna won the 100 fly in 50.63 and Christian Yeager and Ty Rocca went one-two in the 200 back, where Yeager won in 1:52.37.
The freshmen also contributed in their first collegiate relays. In the first race of the day, Luna joined junior Jack Pretto, sophomore Chuck Katis, and junior Chris Satterthwaite to take the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:32.82. The Crimson’s B team took fourth in the relay.
Harvard repeated in the second relay, with the A team winning in 3:05.96 and the B team coming in fourth.
According to Roop, the team focused on the mental aspects of racing coming into the meet.
“We have been working on our racing mentality all year,” Roop said. “It doesn’t really matter how you feel or what the circumstances are, what matters is racing as best as you can with what you have.”
Harvard’s focus paid off, as three upperclassmen each picked up a pair of victories. In addition to Mosca’s wins in the diving events, Satterthwaite swept the 100 and 200 frees with times of 46.05 and 1:41.46, and sophomore Mike Gaudani tallied wins in the 500 free and the 1000 free with times of 4:35.62 and 9:24.94, respectively.
Also picking up individual wins for the Crimson were Pretto in the 100 back, which he swam in 51.12, and Katis in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 55.30.
The Crimson athletes said they were confident going into the matchup given its historical dominance of both teams, but Harvard coach Tim Murphy emphasized the importance of the performance in addition to the result.
“When we were coming into the meet, the coach pulled us aside to talk about how we did last year,” Carbone said. “Dartmouth beat us swim-wise, but the divers pulled through, and we ended up winning the meet anyways. This meet we were really looking on going all out every single race.”
Dartmouth junior Zupan Nejc won the 200 IM and 200 back, and the Big Green gained its third and final victory in the 50-yard free, when senior Zack Doherty beat out Cornell senior Chris Meyers by .17. Second place was the closest the Big Red would come all day, as the team was shut out of both the swimming and the diving events and lost to both Harvard and Dartmouth. Cornell divers Phillip Truong and Jon Zollo went two-three in the three-meter dive.
In the past four years, the Crimson has one perfect conference record and three 6-1 finishes. The team is looking to repeat its success this year and believes that it has the talent.
“We feel like we have made great strides so far this season,” Roop said. “We have some tough meets ahead of us, but we are ready to rise to the occasion. I think we are in a good position to have a chance at the Ivy League championship.”