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The Crimson's undefeated swimming team faces its most severe test of the season to date, as it tackles unbeaten Princeton at 9 p.m. tonight in the I.A.B. More than one pool record will almost certainly be shattered, and either team could come out on top in what promises to be the most explosive swimming clash since last year's Yale meet.
Tickets will be available at the door. A capacity crowd of more than 1600 is expected, but standing room places will be sold if necessary.
The lineups are tougher to figure out than a double crostic. Both squads have a number of swimmers capable of near-record performances in any of several events. Tonight's winner depends largely on how well the coaches manipulate their talent.
In the backstroke, Princeton has the best one-two punch in the East, and probably the nation, with Jed Graef and Tom Welch. Graef, only a sophomore, has already posted the second fastest 200 time in the world, a sizzling 2:00.1. Welch has not yet matched Crimson captain Bob Kaufmann's pool record of 2:03.2, but his season best of 2:03.8 makes him a threat to top it tonight.
While Kaufmann will probably settle for some safe first place points in the freestyle, the Crimson will enter junior John Pringle (2:08.0) in the backstroke and individual medley. Pringle has never been pushed in the backstroke, and the coaches think he could give Welch a good race. He is a clear-cut favorite to win the individual medley.
Princeton's big weakness is the freestyle. The Crimson can probably take first place in all the freestyle events, but Graef is a possible threat in both the 220 and the 4-40. Zentgraf's best time in the 220 is 2:05.1 against Navy; Graef has swum 2:05.2, also against the Middies. Either could easily break the pool mark of 2:05.0, set last year by Yale star Bill Chase.
Harvard probably doesn't have a chance in the medley relay. The Princeton entry of Welch, Gardiner Green, Hilliard, and Rick Williams has already posted a time of 3:44.8. The pool mark of 3:43.9, set by Harvard, last year's EISL champs, is within easy reach.
The Crimson can count on firsts in the 50 (Dennis Hunter, 22.7, or Bob Kaufmann, 22.0), in the individual medley (Pringle, 2:08), in the 100 (Zentgraf, Hunter, or Kaufmann) and probably the freestyle relay.
As for the rest of the meet, your guess is as good as anybody's. The butterfly could go either way, Freddy Ellizalde holds the University record of 2:06.4, though he has not matched it this year. The Tigers have Jim Griffith, with a recorded time of 2:07.2, and Gutman, who has done 2:09.9.
Freshman Teams to Clash
At 7:30 the Yardlings will take on the Tiger cubs. An Eastern Interscholastic butterfly champion, a New Trier veteran freestyler, and outstanding men in both other events combine to give the Princeton freshmen a 3:54.3 medley relay team, just about as fast as the Crimson varsity has produced this year.
It's not exactly going to be a dull night.
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