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The Harvard women's swim team racked up 99 points against a hapless Tufts team Saturday morning, beating the Jumbos three times over with three points to spare. Tufts scored 32.
Oh, that's nice; let's talk about Coach Stephanie Walsh's hat. You see, Saturday was Hat Day at the IAB and each member of the squad entered wearing a hat. It was hardly an attempt to psyche the opposition but it did prove to be the highlight of an otherwise predictable meet.
Let's get down to specifies. Probably the outstanding performer of the meet was Sue Goodkin. She never entered the pool, but her Playboy '77 outfit, complete with bunny ears and tail, caught the attention of most of the spectators.
Walsh sported the Janis Joplin flower child look with a large droopy chapeau. After the meet, Walsh talked about Hat Day: "It preoccupies them. The kids relaxed today and they did well."
Did well? They kicked butt. Harvard did not lose an event all day. And in eight of the 15 events, the Crimson beat Tufts to the touch for the first two places.
The Crimson opened the meet with a one-two sweep in the 200-yd. medley relay. The third-place Tufts relay team was 15 seconds behind the winning Harvard combination and the crowd knew this was not going to be a repeat of last year's meet, which came down to the final relay.
Tufts would have been wise to send a volunteer to the Sheraton Commander to fetch the Tufts shuttle bus and spirit them back to Medford.
Perhaps the compulsory one-meter diving was the closest event. With the score 41-11, the outcome of the meet was not in doubt, but Harvard's Peri Ozkum and Tuft's Lisa Kaufman engaged in the only real duel of the day.
For each of the six dives, Kaufman preceded Ozkum to the board, picking up 5.5s and 6.0s only to be matched by her Crimson adversary. Kaufman seemed to have captured the event with a high-arching back dive, but Ozkum snared a 7.0 and first place with an inward dive from the layout position.
Coach Walso praised Paula Bagger, with firsts in the 100-yd. breaststroke and individual medley, and Sharon Beckman, who took the 100-yd. butterfly in a strong 1:09.66, for their performances at the meet.
Freshman Gina Stuart also swam well, gaining a rare double in the 500-yd. freestyle and the 100-yd. backstroke. Walsh said she was pleased that she was able to give more people a chance to compete in varsity competition. "Not just the starters are improving," she noted.
The hats will come off tomorrow as the swimmers travel to the University of Massachusetts. The Minutemen appear to be strongest in the butterfly and the short freestyle. Maura Costin, who swims those two events for the Crimson, said Saturday, "We should be able to get them in depth."
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