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Olympic Silver Medalist Will Join Class of 1981


An Olympic silver medalist and world record-holding swimmer will enter Harvard as a freshman next fall.

Robert W. Hackett II '81 said yesterday he decided to apply to Harvard last month, three months after the deadline, when his long-time coach was appointed head swim coach at Harvard.

Joseph W. Bernal said yesterday he will still coach only Hackett during the summer but will treat him as any other team member during the academic year.

Bernal has coached Hackett since he was eight years old but said he did not recognize his Olympic potential until three years ago.

Hackett won the silver medal for the 1500 meter freestyle last July, finishing at 15:03.9, a ten-second improvement over his previous best. He also holds the world record in the 800 meter freestyle.

Hackett applied to Harvard in April and was admitted shorly thereafter. Those admissions officers who read his folder were away last night and were unavailable for comment.

Jaws in the Charles

He said he looks forward to the size and diversity of Harvard and actually "never liked being a big fish in a small pond."

Marcia H. Connolly '58, associate director of admissions, said yesterday that policy is flexible and "we've never stuck to the deadline as an absolute."

Hackett may prove to be a "mixed blessing" for the swim team because although he will boost the team's overall performance and set outstanding records at Harvard he may also "frustrate the incentive" of other swimmers, Duncan S. Pyle '78, co-captain of next year's swim team said yesterday.

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