At the end of the 2012-2013 season, the Harvard men’s swimming and diving team was hungry for more.
After finishing 9-0 in dual meets, with seven of those wins coming against Ivy opponents, the Crimson fell just short of an Ivy League Championship, finishing second to Princeton, then the four-time defending champions.
But this season, Harvard (8-2, 7-0 Ivy) finally reached the top.
The regular season was similar, with an unbeaten record in the Ivy League and the regular season dual meet title. The difference, however, came in the final stretch, as the team was finally able to end Princeton’s five-year streak and claim the Ivy League Championship title.
With a new coach at the helm, the team knew some things would be different. Before this season, Tim Murphy had led the Crimson for 15 years and coached the team to a 122-11 dual meet record.
But just prior to the start of the year, Murphy announced he would be leaving Harvard for Penn State.
Former assistant coach Kevin Tyrrell stepped up as the interim coach for the year and has since been officially named the head coach for the 2014-2015 season.
“We kind of set a new plan with the captains, senior leadership and the coaches, and worked out a plan for the upcoming year,” co-captain Chris Satterthwaite said. “We reorganized what the team’s priorities were and what the goals were. We worked on prioritizing process-oriented goals rather than outcome-oriented goals, and I think that really helped us achieve what we wanted to do.”
The Crimson faced its first challenge of the season at the end of November against Columbia. Although Harvard did win the meet 170-130, it was a close contest for much of the day.
“Columbia tested us,” Tyrrell said. “[It] was important for our guys to overcome difficulties in the middle of a meet.”
The team’s next competition was also an important milestone, as the Crimson went south to the Texas Invite. This meet gave the team a chance to measure up against top-tier national competition outside of the Ivy League.
“We went to Texas and had a phenomenal invite where a lot of guys had great times on very little rest,” Satterthwaite said. “That was kind of evident that our training was paying off and our plan had been working.”
But the biggest breakthrough of the regular season was the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet, in which Harvard defeated Princeton, its biggest competition for the regular season and Ivy League titles, as well as the Bulldogs.
Over the course of the meet, the Crimson set six pool records and won 11 of 19 events.
Though the team still had one more meet before Ivy League Championships, the HYP meet gave Harvard momentum as it headed into the championship portion of the season.