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...While Improving Swimmers Splash to Fourth-Place Finish


PHILADELPHIA Pa.--They were not even close to Princeton or Yale, but Crimson coach Stephanie Walsh had every right to be proud of her swimmers. In the first Ivy League Women's Swimming and Diving Championships here at Sheerr Pool, the Harvard women took a solid hold on fourth place with a very strong tream performance.

To say that every swimmer swam her best might be an exaggeration--but only a slight one. In heat after heat, final after final, almost all the Crimson swimmer lowered their previous best times.

Of course, not everyone on the team has the talent of a Maura Costin or a Jane Fayer, but each swimmer, in her own way and to the best of her ability, contributed to the successful Harvard showing.

Costin provided the biggest story of the weekend. Swimming in five individual events, she won medal honors for each performance. Starting with a gold in the 200-yd. butterfly (2:16.6), the versatile Costin battled a sore shoulder that caused her great pain on Sunday and scored big for Harvard four more times.

With silvers in the 400-yd. individual medley (4:58.5) and the 100-yd. fly (1:02.3, her best time this year) and bronzes in the 200-yd. freestyle (2:03.7) and the 200-yd. individual medley (2:19.7), Costin racked up 66 points for Harvard--almost a fourth of the team's 259 total points.

That performance earned Costin the tournament award for individual highpoint score. After the meet, the judges incorrectly announced Mary Sykes of Princeton as the winner with 64 points, but Penn officials later promised to rectify the mistake.

The highlight of Jane Fayer's weekend was an extremely strong first-place finish in the 50-yd. freestyle with a time of 25.5 seconds. Fayer also won a silver in the 100-yd. freestyle (56.0) and took fourth in the 200-yd. freestyle (2:04.3). Her 50- and 100-yd. times are new team records, and all three times are new personal bests.

Leslie Landefeld, the Harvard backstroker, also enjoyed a fine weekend. In the 50-yd. backstroke, she sped to a personal best of 31.1 garnering fifth place. She also recorded her best times of the season in the 100- and 200-yd. backstroke events, with times of 1:09.8 and 2:36.9, respectively.

But perhaps the Harvard weekend's most incredible story was the swim of Debbie Van Ryn. Swimming the 500-yd. freestyle, Van Ryn clocked a 6:05.3, 23 seconds better than her previous best time.

Nancy Danoff, a consistently strong breaststroker, also lowered her best time in the 100-yd breaststroke with a ninth-place 1:20.0 finish.

The Crimson women set a new team record in the 200-yd. medley relay. A strong team of Landefeld, Danoff, Costin and Fayer combined for a fourth-place finish with a 2:01.59, breaking the 1974 record of 2:03.34.

Sue Abkowitz turned in a strong performance for the divers. Despite her limited experience, the freshman finished tenth from the one-meter board and eleventh from the three-meter board.

But Harvard's lack of depth kept the Crimson from competing seriously with power first-place Princeton and second-place Yale, who ran away from the rest of the field.

Princeton won 14 of the weekend's 22 events with performances of such stars as four-time winner Sykes, versatile Beth Mauer, breaststroker Dotty Sparks and backstroker Looper Bowers.

Yale's Carolyn Hyde, Nancy Cahill and Michell Robertson combined to garner nine individual medal finishes. (Like Princeton, the Elis consistently had from two to four swimmers among the top 12 point-scorers in each event.)

The Crimson's lack of depth prevented it from placing multiple-point scorers in many events and allowed Dartmouth to squeeze past Harvard to place third by just 43 points.

So as a team, perhaps the Harvard women did not do as well as they had hoped (they were shooting for third), but individually...Well, you couldn't really ask for more.

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