In its most important meet of the season, the Harvard women’s swimming and diving team faced off against fourth-place Yale and Princeton, which entered the contest tied with the Crimson for first place in the Ivy League.
Harvard topped the Tigers for the first time since 2006, besting Princeton, 190-110, and Yale, 235-65, to take the Ivy League dual meet title at Blodgett Pool over the weekend.
“It was really high energy. I think a lot of people were really excited for the meet,” senior Meghan Leddy said. “It’s a big rivalry between us and Princeton and Yale. It’s always been one of the biggest meets of the year.
The Crimson (7-2, 7-0 Ivy) took charge of the meet during the first event—the 200-yard medley relay. The relay team of juniors Caroline Weaver and Mackenzie Luick and freshmen Ana Anaya and Sarah Sumner stopped the clock at 1:42.39, touching out the Tigers (5-1, 5-1) by .3 seconds to win the event and set a new school record.
“We were out towards the front going into the last 50, but...Sumner really brought it home for us,” Luick said. “Across the board in all the events, we had really great finishes, but to be able to start the meet with a finish like that is incredible.”
From that point on, Harvard never looked back, taking first place in 10 of the 16 events over the two-day meet.
“We were the underdogs of this meet,” Sumner said. “It was very exciting. The relay just got us pumped up and ready to go for the rest of the meet.”
Freshman Kelsey Hojan-Clark made her mark on the distance events, claiming victory in both the 1000- and 500-freestyle races, stopping the clock at 9:51.32 and 4:49.82, respectively. The Crimson took a one-two finish in both events. Freshman Courtney Otto touched second in the 1000 with a time of 9:57.72. In the 500, senior Catherine Zagroba finished right after Hojan-Clark in 4:50.41.
Zagroba earned one of Harvard’s first-place finishes in the 200 freestyle (1:48.59). Freshman Faith Martin and sophomore Sara Li were right behind, with times of 1:49.01 and 1:50.38, respectively, for a one-two-three finish.
“We went out there with a really positive attitude and really wanted to put everything on the line for the last dual meet,” Luick said.
Princeton took the victories in the 50- and 100-freestyle events, leaving Sumner with second-place finishes in both events.
The Tigers also beat out Harvard in the 100 backstroke, adding first and second place points to their total. Weaver earned third place for the Crimson with a time of 56.23, but came back in the 200 backstroke to touch out Princeton by .07 seconds to win the event (1:57.60).
The butterfly events were also split by the Tigers and Harvard. The Crimson grabbed another one-two-three finish in the 200 butterfly with performances by sophomore Danielle Schulkin (1:59.60), senior Hilary Roberts (2:00.00), and Otto (2:00.37). Princeton snagged a first-place finish in the 100 butterfly by .14 seconds over Anaya, who stopped the clock at 54.85. Shulkin finished close behind for a third-place finish in 55.04.
“The times were very, very fast, even though we weren’t fully rested for the meet,” Shulkin said. “It was great to be able to defend our turf.”
Yale showed that it was top dog in the diving events, taking first place in both. Senior Leslie Rea finished her last dual meet with 261.05 points in the one-meter dive and 261 points in the three-meter dive, finishing second in both.
Harvard raked in three one-two finishes in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and in the 200 Individual Medley. Luick added to her school record performance with two first-place finishes in the breaststroke events. Her 1:03.01 finish in the 100 was followed closely by freshman Stephanie Ferrell, who notched a time of 1:03.59. The Crimson also took fourth, fifth, and sixth in that event. Martin took the second place slot in the 200 breaststroke, finishing in 2:15.68. Evans and Leddy clocked in at 2:02.70 and 2:04.12, respectively, in the 200 IM for Harvard’s penultimate one-two finish.
“We had really good positive energy the whole way through,” Luick said. “I think it was a great way to wrap up our dual meet season going into Ivy championships.”
The meet came to a close with the 400-freestyle relay. The A team, consisting of Martin, Li, Lightbourne, and Sumner, sailed ahead of the others, finishing in 3:23.52. The real race was between the Crimson’s B team and the Tigers’ A team. The group of Gregoire, Clute, Anaya, and Zagroba touched out Princeton’s top relay team by .1 second with a time of 3:27.82.
“None of us tapered—we’re still focused on the main events, which are Ivy and ECAC championships.” Luick said. “It’s an incredible victory, but they’ll be back, gunning for us.”
—Staff writer Chelsea E. Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com.