Coming off strong wins in dual meets against Brown and Penn the day before, the Harvard women’s swimming team easily handled non-conference foe Vermont in a Sunday showdown at Blodgett Pool. It was Senior Night, and the members of the Class of 2013 hit the pool for the last dual meet of their Crimson careers.
“We were all pretty tired,” freshman Kendall Crawford said. “We had a big meet on Saturday and have been training really, really hard, especially since we got back from Puerto Rico. But since it was also the senior meet, there was a lot of excitement… We wanted to make that day special for the seniors.”
After winning 15 of the 16 events on the day, Harvard came away with a dominant 232-68 victory over the Catamounts. The Crimson swept the podium in nine of the day’s events.
“I don’t think anyone was really intimidated by Vermont,” co-captain Brittany Powell said. “[They’re] a Division II team, so they’re not as competitive as our own league. Instead of focusing on the competition, we focused on ourselves and our own performances.”
In their last dual meet at Blodgett Pool, a quartet of seniors kicked off Harvard’s routing of Vermont with a first place finish in the first event of the day. Seniors Caroline Weaver, Mackenzie Luick, Ellie Johnson, and Carol Lin placed first in the women’s 200 medley relay with a time of 1:48.14. The Crimson swept the podium in the event, with a group of four sophomores coming in second and the freshmen team swimming to a strong third-place showing.
In the next event, freshmen Oriana Wang and Connie Hsu went 1-2 in the 1000 freestyle. With a time of 10:24.77, Wang narrowly edged out her classmate, who finished less than a second behind with a time of 10:26.39. Fellow first-year Daniela Suarez-Rebling finished in fourth in 10:32.38.
Junior co-captain Sara Li followed suit and put up another win for Harvard in the 200 freestyle. Li later posted a close second-place finish in the 200 breaststroke. The junior finished 0.2 seconds behind sophomore Faith Martin in the event, who won with a time of 2:23.06. Martin also picked up a victory in the 100 backstroke with a time of 57.59.
Freshman Kendall Crawford had a pair of strong showings, winning both of her individual events of the meet. Crawford started out with a win in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.07, then had a short one-event break before hitting the pool again for the 100 freestyle.
“I love watching the diving,” Crawford said. “Getting sandwiched between the diving [event] gave me a little break to just collect my thoughts, cool down, and get ready for the next race.”
Powell capped her Crimson career with strong showings in both of her diving events. The senior took third in the three meter, behind sophomore Amanda Largent and fellow senior Teagan Lehrmann. Then, in her final dual meet dive at Blodgett, Powell won the one meter. Freshman Emily Bonfig and Lehrmann took second and third, respectively.
“It was very emotional for the seven of us seniors,” Powell said. “We had done all of the ceremonial things, so I felt a little shaky on the three meter. By the time we were on one meter, my nerves were gone, and I probably had one of the best one meter performances of my career.”
Harvard currently stands undefeated in this season’s dual meets, having won their first six events of the season. The Crimson have a two week break before resuming action in their final dual meets of the year against Ivy foes Yale and Princeton.
“Being on the team for four years, I don’t think there’s ever been a team more focused on this last meet [against Yale and Princeton],” Powell said. “We are just so ready. I’m feeling great about the team’s mentality right now.”
Having completed most of its regular season schedule, Harvard is beginning to look down the line towards championship season, where the team will look to defend its Ivy League title and improve upon its second place finish at the ECAC Championship.
“We’ve been on a warpath all year for ‘operation repeat,’ to win Ivy’s again, and also to win ECAC’s,” Crawford said. “We want to win two championships in one weekend, and that’s been the goal all season. The way we’ve been training all year, we definitely have a great, great shot.”
—Staff writer Brenna R. Nelsen can be reached at email@example.com.