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The varsity swimming team will face Yale this afternoon in a meet which even the Yale Publicity office would be hard-pressed to bill as "close."
Coach Bob Kiphuth will be bringing to town probably the best Bulldog team in many years, and certainly the best team in the country this season. It boasts one Olympic swimmer, several near-Olympic swimmers, a host of high school all-Americans, several national and world records, and depth to the total of 59 squad members.
In opposition, the Crimson will throw up Captain Chouteau Dyer, who has an even chance of finishing anywhere from first to third in the sprints, and a pair of divers, who should be able to edge the Elis.
Otherwise, the picture is grim, and the Bulldogs figure to continue frustrating Crimson swimming ambitions. For the past seven years Harvard has gone through Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League competition undefeated until the Yale meet, and for the past seven years the Elis have spoiled the perfect record. Yale has not lost a dual meet since 1945, and has not lost to the Crimson since 1938. The total score in the series stands Yale 27, Harvard 3.
It is difficult to see, barring accidents, miracles, or a strange compassion on the part of Kiphuth, how the varsity can hope to score more than 25 points, leaving the Elis with at least 61. And if things go really badly, it is entirely conceivable that the Crimson might be shut out in every event but the dive.
The varsity meet is scheduled to get under way at 4:30 p.m. in the I.A.B. pool, preceded by the freshman meet which starts at 3. The fact that the meet is at home offers the Crimson one of its few consolations, for Kiphuth reportedly is worried that the different markings on the bottom of the Harvard Pool might upset some of his sophomore swimmers.
Comparative scores are virtually useless in establishing the relative strengths of the teams, for neither coach likes to run up a big count against hapless opponents. But on comparative times, in a sport where tenths of a second are vital, Yale is hours ahead of the varsity.
The Elis are traditionally powerful in the sprints, and this year's team is so potent that it has been breaking world, national, and intercollegiate freestyle relay records virtually at will. Last Saturday against Princeton a 400-yard relay team composed of Rex Aubrey, Dave Armstrong, Roger Anderson, and Tim Jecko did a fantastic 3:16.1 to set a world mark in the event. This not only leaves the Crimson relay record straggling some ten seconds behind, but bodes ill for Dyer in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle races.
These sprints must be termed a tossup, and should provide the main excitement of the meet, perhaps even a world record. Against Brown last week, Dyer turned in a 49.4 second 100, which is better than any Eli clocking this season, and only 0.5 seconds off the world record.
But unofficially, the Elis have several men who have equalled or bettered this time. On the record-breaking relay mentioned above, the unofficial 100 yard splits credited Jecko with a 48.4, Anderson with a 48.6, and Armstrong with a 48.9.
Ironically, the worst split on the relay was recorded by Aubrey, supposedly the Elis leading sprinter and holder of the present Yale record at 49.0. It seems likely, however, that Kiphuth will throw his ace, and perhaps Armstrong, against Dyer, for he makes a practice of loading the events in which he expects tough competition. John Lind or Ron Mischner will have the dubious pleasure of swimming in the same race.
The 50 yard freestyle should see pretty much the same personnel and should be equally exciting. Aubrey turned in a 22.1 to tie for first place in the nationals last year, and must be slightly favored over Dyer whose Harvard record is 22.3, and over Armstrong, who did a 22.4 earlier this season. Roger Clifton or Lind will probably be the other Crimson entrant.
Diving represents the varsity's best chance to score, for Frank Gorman and Greg Stone have lost more often to each other than to outside competitors this year. Although the Elis' Doug Stark-weather topped Stone in last year's meet, Stone revenged himself in the Easterns, and the varsity performers should do even better off their own board.
In the middle-distance freestyle, however, the varsity is in danger of being lapped. Anderson tied a Yale record in the 220 with a 2:05.5 clocking last Wednesday, and reportedly has gotten down to a phenomenal 2:02.7 in practice. Jecko, a member of the Olympic 800-meter relay team, is just behind him, but will probably be saved for other events.
In that case, either Ray Ellison or Joe Robinson, both 3 to 4 seconds faster than the 2:15.5 posted by the varsity's Pete Macky and Dick Seaton, will probably swim.
The 440 should be much the same, with Seaton finishing some 20 seconds behind the Elis, and Tom Cochran even further behind.
If the freestyle looks dismal, the breastroke events offer no consolation to the Crimson. In the 200 yard butterfly, Jecko broke an intercollegiate record last month with a 2:10.8 clocking, and should run away with the race.
The real battle will be between the Elis' captain Bill Clinton and the varsity's John Hammond for second place. Hammond is one of the best butterfly men in the country for 100 yards, and he is fast improving in the longer distance, but his 2:23.9 time must shrink considerably to beat Clinton's 2:19.0. Jim Stanley (2:30.6) or Bob Jaffe will be the other Crimson entry.
In the orthodox breastroke, Sigo Falk and Stanley, both "surface" swimmers, will have trouble keeping up with Yale's "underwater" artists. Both Crimson men have done 2:31, but the Elis' Howie Koletsky and Bill Fleming are five seconds faster. Yale's ace, Deed Hardin (2:24), is on scholastic pro and cannot compete
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