It seems that for generations teams have been getting good, have been winning a lot of victories, and have been getting over confident as a result. Last March the Crimson swimming team, generally regarded as the underdog, left Yale's supposedly invincible squad very definitely in its wake. The Yale meet wasn-t even decided by the outcome of the relay, the last event. The Harvard splashers took the lead and never relinquished it.
At present there is every reason for the Crimson squad to be overconfident. The Yale "News" quotes Bob Kiphuth, Yale coach, as saying that Harvard has the best swim squad in the East this year. The metropolitan newspapers frequently flash large headlines acclaiming Harvard as possibly the strongest team in the country. Whether these and other optimistic predictions are based on fact can be proved only in the tank for the next few Saturdays.
Ulen Is Careful
But there's one man who doesn't expect to be taken in by wild dreams of success. Coach Hal Ulen is taking particular pains this year to keep the Crimson heads below the swelling point. Not that every Yale meet swimmer isn't justified in running around muttering "We beat Yale" to himself. It isn't every day that Harvard is able to break a string of 163 victories. But Ulen is watching out for over-confidence. He's got a team just now that's tops, and you can be pretty sure that he's going to break his neck to keep it that way.
Captain Charlie Hutter, of course, is the big gun of the team's scoring battery. Opposing teams this year will have the disturbing thought that Charlie may swim in any freestyle race from the 50 to the 440 and relays, and be practically certain to win it. That is, if he hasn't swum in two or three events already that evening. But it is doubted whether Ulen will ever again see the necessity of swimming Hutter in three events in one meet.
Charlie may break records this winter. Charlie is already National A.A.U. 220 champion, and has one of the best competitive temperaments around here. Charlie may do anything!
The big gap in this year's squad is supposed to be in the breast-stroke, all be cause Greg Jameson, last year's record-cracking butterflyer, went and graduated. But Ulen got together with Dario "Fritz" Borizzi, captain of his Freshman team and powerful free-styler, and they decided that Fritz would be a mystery man in the Breast-stroke.
No Mystery Man, He
Fritz isn't a mystery man any longer; in fact, he hasn't been ever since the first time trials were held. Down at the pool, they all know he's good. He beat Jameson in the Alumni meet December 16. Of course, Jamie was out of condition, but the time for the breast was 1:07, which is not to be sneered at when the season's just beginning and the swimmer has just changed over to breast-stroke.
If you don't watch Fritz you may see him cavorting off the high board. His versatility is phenomenal.
Which brings us to the subject of the dive, and Rusty Greenhood. The latter has chalked up a nice 113.4 early-season point total in the Alumni meet. He probably won't be touched in competition this year; that is, if the judges can figure out some of the fancy curleycues he's been doing off the high board. Lothrop Forbush will be right behind him, and George Dana, sophomore diver, is expected to turn out to be a star. Bob Snyder looked pretty well in the Alumni meet, too.
Graham Cummin's easy stroke will undoubtedly get him home ahead of almost all his opponents this year in the back-stroke. There will be a snag down at Princeton in Al Van de Weghe. Nevertheless, Graham's time trials have caused Coach Ulen to look at his stopwatch with a glum expression on his face, and then scan the pool balcony for possible Yale scouts. Dick Tregaskis is working hard daily, and Freshman Coach Peterson and Ulen are trying to persuade a little more speed out of him. Harry Southwick and Jack Kennedy are up from last year's Freshmen, and at present it's hard to say how far they'll go.
Superior Sprinters All
Jim Munroe shares top honors in breast-stroke with Berizzi and his regular, long-coasting stroke will make him hard to keep up with in the 200. Phil Walker has been fast in practice and in the Alumni meet in which he took a third, while Jack Waldron, who has just learnt the butterfly this year, is expected to show some speed.
Gil Bettman, who would be one of the first four breast-strokers, has been snatched away by probation; also lost are Curwen and Stowell, free-stylers.
Bill Kendall, Don Barker, Don McKay, Ray Benedict, Freddie Griffin, and Captain Hutter comprise one of the fastest groups of sprinters in the country. Frank Coleman and Bob Murphy will take care of the distance work, while Eric Cutler, who created a sensation last year when as a Freshman he came dangerously near five minutes in the 440, is out with an arm injury.
Kendall is just as fast as he's reputed to be, and will enjoy himself during the next three years taking cracks at some of the records hung up by Hutter.
Coach Ulen has an extraordinary group of speed demons around him this year, and he's fidgeting about their getting trained to a peak too soon, getting stale, and getting over-confident. But down in New Haven, there's a man who's named Kiphuth who's fidgeting a lot harder.