Men's Swimming Ready for Ivy Champs
After an undefeated dual meet season, the Harvard men’s swimming and diving team looks to secure its place at the top of Ancient Eight swimming with a win at this weekend’s Ivy League Championships.
“The team goal is always to win the Ivies,” sophomore Chuck Katis said. “This is the strongest team we’ve ever had.”
Given the Crimson’s performance this season, the team has earned the right to be confident. The 18th ranked Harvard squad is 9-0 (7-0 Ivy) in dual meets this season and has been dominant in the Ivy League. The Crimson is seeking to take home its 23rd Ivy Championship.
“I’m not going in worried about anybody, I’m excited about my team,” Murphy said.
Harvard’s main competition will come from Princeton who pushed them close in a meet earlier in the season on Feb. 2. The Crimson and the Tigers have taken home the last forty Ivy League championships, splitting them twenty apiece.
Princeton has been more successful of late, winning the last four and six of the last seven titles. However, the superlative Tiger Class of 2012 has graduated and in their wake Harvard has been the team to beat in the Ivy League thus far. Princeton has dropped dual meets against both the Crimson and Columbia this season.
“Of course Princeton is our main rival,” Katis said. “We have a lot of big races against them.”
When they met earlier in the season, Harvard became the first Ivy school to defeat the Tigers in its home pool, prevailing by a score of 200-153.
Despite the loss earlier in the season, the four-time reigning Ivy League champions will certainly be a threat in the water.
“We’re not really worried about anybody,” Murphy said. “We just take care of ourselves.”
A large part of the Crimson’s success this year has been the impressive performances from Katis. At the UGA fall invite on Nov. 30 this season, Katis set Harvard records in the 100m and 200m breaststroke with times of 52.49 and 1:52.08 respectively. Both times set NCAA ‘A’ standards and qualified him for the 2013 NCAA National Championship.
Katis impressed as a freshman, receiving second team All-Ivy honors in several events and added a pair of All-American honorable mentions as a member of the Crimson’s 400 free relay and 800 free relay teams.
He went on to put in three top-50 performances at the 2012 Olympic team trials over the summer. His performance this season has since been formidable, particularly with regard to the two aforementioned Harvard records.
“He has a tremendous work ethic and he just keeps plugging away,” Murphy said. “He’s very consistent, he’s very motivated, and he’s very disciplined so it’s a nice combination.”
While Katis was keen to emphasize the team aspect of the upcoming meet, on an individual note the Ivy League championships may bring back bittersweet memories. He finished second in both the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke races and will be going out this year trying to go one better.