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The most exciting swimming meet of the season begins at 4 p.m. today in the IAB, when the varsity gets its revenge against powerful Army, winner of its last two meetings with the Crimson.
Last year, Harvard upset the Cadets in the medley relay and split the individual events, only to lose the freestyle races and the decisive final relay. Army won 49-46. But Army lost its magnificent sprinter, Tony Clay, and speedsters Jerry Merges and Steve Bliss, at graduation. Together, those three accounted for 24 points.
And this year, Harvard has sprinters of its own. Sophomores Bill Shrout, Phil Chase, and Steve Coy, along with junior Jim Seubold (who took second to Clay in the 100 at Army) give the Crimson the edge in the sprints and the final relay.
The strategy will therefore be reversed this year. And, if the sprinters do well, the outcome will probably depend on how well Harvard can split up Army in the individual events.
The Cadets' strongest event will probably be the backstroke. Kerry O'Hara won the backstroke last year in 2:05.3, a time that Harvard's John Holland and Al Lincoln will find hard to beat.
In the individual medley, Army's Dick Kline and sophomore star Charles Gantner are both strong. As a freshman, Gantner are both strong. As a freshman, Gantner barely lost to Bill Shrout when Shrout set a University record of 2:03.5. Another sophomore, Tom Williams, is a favorite in the 500 freestyle.
Army Captain Frank Pratt, unfortunately for him, faces Harvard's invincible Neville Hayes in the butterfly. Against any team but Harvard, he and Gantner could probably expect a sweep. As it is, they should push Hayes to a good clocking, but not defeat.
Bob Corris should take the breaststroke against Army's John Landgraf, who will have to fight Bruce Fowler for second. The dive, though John Friedman looked against Springfield, is an unknown quantity.
The direction the meet will take can probably be told going into the dive, after two freestyle events and the medleys. If Harvard has less than 12 points, the team is in trouble. If it has more than 15, this could be a rout.
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