It’s time to take out the brooms as the Harvard men’s swimming and diving team joined the women’s team as Ivy League Champions. In front of a home crowd at Blodgett Pool, claimed the title as top of the Ancient Eight.
Coming off last weekend’s title-winning victory at Brown for the women’s team, the pressure was on for the men’s team. Having already captured the dual meet title, the Crimson knew it had a strong chance at claiming the crown.
“Seeing [the women] win was definitely exciting and definitely helps motivate us a little bit to win the meet,” co-captain Oliver Lee said.
And so Harvard rose to the occasion. Spoiling Princeton’s five-year conference title-winning streak, the Crimson was able to compete in front of family and friends as it claimed its 23rd Ivy League Championship, and first since 2008. The Crimson finished with 1495 points, while the Tigers trailed in second, 82 points behind the leaders.
“It was awesome to win at home with the fans there in our home pool,” Lee said. “It was so much more fun and so exciting, especially having lost by five points our freshman year. It was nice redemption.”
Harvard started off strong, gaining 56 points in the first event of the first day of competition as the 200 freestyle relay composed of junior Griffin Schumacher, senior Oliver Lee, senior Danny Crigler, and senior Chris Satterthwaite touched the wall first with a time of 1:18.30, setting the first of seven pool records over the weekend.
Finishing day one of competition, Harvard held a 105-point lead over Princeton, their main competition in contention for the title, with Penn and Yale hanging on in the third and fourth place slots.
Saturday’s races allowed the Crimson to show off its depth. Though there weren’t as many medals claimed by Harvard on day two, strong performances from all over the team, and from Satterthwaite in particular, allowed the Crimson to maintain an 82-point lead over the Tigers.
“Every person on our team did their part to ensure we won the championship,” freshman Eric Ronda said.
On the final day of competition, the Crimson added four event victories to their tally to solidify their claim to the title. Junior Mike Mosca continued to dominate the diving board, as he topped the podium with a score of 409.50 in the 3-meter competition, while senior Joe Zarrella took third in the event. After having won the 1-meter event on the first day of competition, Mosca swept the two events for the second consecutive year at the championship meet. He became only the seventh diver in conference history to sweep both events in multiple title meets. He was named Diver of the Meet after earning a total of 64 points.
In his last meet at home at Blodgett, Satterthwaite dominated each of the three days, capping off a strong senior campaign. The co-captain consistently left swimmers in his wake, capturing individual titles in the 200 freestyle and the 100 freestyle. As the anchor leg, he also was a member of the victorious 200, 400, and 800 freestyle relays and the 400 medley relay.
Though Satterthwaite led the charge, the rookies of the team played a huge role in the team’s victory. Freshman Jack Manchester claimed the win in the 200 backstroke as he swam to a new meet and pool record with his NCAA ‘B’ cut time. Classmate Ronda earned points for the team as he took second in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 breaststroke. Though he was unable to overtake Dartmouth senior Nejc Zupan, the freshman had his fastest swim of the season and broke the pool record by almost two seconds.
“Our freshman swam really well,” Lee said. “[They] really just stepped up big and swam really well which is great.”
In a parallel of superlatives, the meet started with a relay win and ended on the same note. With a pool record and more than a one second lead over their closest competitor, Schumacher, Lee, Manchester, and Satterthwaite sealed the meet victory in the 400 freestyle relay.
Though the swimmers were proud of their individual accomplishments, they knew the most important thing was to reclaim the Ivy title, which had eluded them for the past six years.
“Our goal was to win the meet, and we did it.” Ronda said.
—Staff writer Theresa C. Hebert can be reached at email@example.com.