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Wearing skin suits for the first time this season, the Harvard women's swim team sped to some incredible performances last night, but failed to pick up important second-and third-place points in crucial events and dropped a thriller to Boston College, 70-61, at the IAB.
Crimson coach Stephanie Walsh said the skin suits, which are lighter and more sheer than suits the women usually wear for meets, give the swimmers a "psychological lift because they feel much lighter."
Because the Crimson women were determined to upset the undefeated Seagles, they wanted every possible factor in their favor: thus the sheer suits.
They almost pulled it off. Winning nine of the 13 swimming events, the Harvard women turned in some record-breaking times, and some personal best times.
But the Harvard downfall came in the longer events. With the exception of the 1000-yd. freestyle, the women could not grab a 1-2 or 1-3 finish to make up the 12-point deficit that they faced at the meet's halfway point. This shortcoming cost them the meet.
On the positive side, powerhouses Jane Fayer and Maura Costin led the way. Both swimmers won three individual events and were part of the winning relay team--and Costin did that coming off an injury which has kept her out of competition for three weeks.
As usual, Costin won the 200-yd. individual medley (2:21.48) and the 200-yd. butterfly (2:21.03). But that's the easy part.
She also swam the 200-yd. breaststroke for the first time, won the race with a time of 2:44.01, and broke the old team record by 11 seconds. (Maura claims the breaststroke is her weakest event.)
Teammate Fayer was equally unbelievable. She cruised to wins in the 50 and 100-yd. freestyles, with times of 26.14 and 57.02, respectively, and then swam the 1000-yd. freestyle marathon.
Fayer said she had never raced in an event longer than 500 yards, but she went out like a sprinter in the first quarter of this 40 lap endurance contest and was so far ahead of everyone that she could have won with a dog-paddle in the last five laps. She finished easily in first with a time of 11:58.49.
The 400-yd. freestyle relay team of Fayer, Costin, Mary Ellen Mangano and Sharon Beckman raced to a first-place 3:59.72, breaking the old team record by one-half second.
Backstroker Leslie Landefeld and breaststroker Nancy Danoff continued their strong showings with personal best times in their events. Landefeld won the 50-back in 31.8, and Danoff just missed first by one-half second in the 50-breaststroke with a time of 35.5.
Looking ahead, the 4-4 women will pack their skin suits and head for Philadelphia this weekend to compete in the Ivy League Championships at the University of Pennsylvania.
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