Surprise, surprise. "You never know what can happen in this league," Harvard men's swim coach Joe Bernal was saying before yesterday's meet with Navy. "You never know who might shave, just to be spoilers," the successful second-year mentor added, evoking chilling memories of the Midshipmen's inspired season-opening upset of the Crimson two years ago.
Not yesterday, Jack. Yesterday the Crimson armada was sheer ruthless efficiency. Clean precision. The Dallas Cowboys. Death by the machine.
Bernal's army of aquamen dumped the sailors, 68-45, but it wasn't that close. The Cantabs toyed with Navy--not a poor swim team by any standards--by letting them stay as close as 22-21 after five events (and taking first in the sixth), to go ahead, by 59-29.
As usual, Harvard's best performance yesterday in Annapolis came from sophomore whiz Bobby Hackett. After Navy had swamped the Crimson's medley relay to jump out to a 7-0 lead, Hackett stepped up to the blocks for his specialty, the 1000-yd. freestyle. As the swimmers left the blocks, one jumped the gun, but--unable to hear the recall shots--they continued into the first turn. When one of the lap counters made a valiant attempt to stop Hackett, he cut the Olympian's foot open in the process. The meet stopped while Hackett was taped up by the trainers. Hackett then proceeded to reel off a smoking 9:05 in the race (certainly the fastest time in the nation so far this season), lopping a mere 30 seconds off the Navy pool record, and leading a sweep that tied the meet at eight.
After that, the well-conditioned mermen, powered by double-winners Steve Schramm, Malcolm Cooper, and Mike Coglin, jumped out to a lead that they never relinquished. Schramm, unquestionably one of the East's finest divers, won both the compulsory and the optional diving events. His impressive totals of 178.95 and 299.55, respectively, placed him just ahead of steady teammate Jamie Greacen.
Co-captain Cooper's winning times, 21.24 in the 50-yd. freestyle and 46.79 for 100 yards, were simply incredible for this time of year. Equally spectacular were the performances of Yardlings Ron Raikula and Tim Maximoff who followed last week's flashy debut at Blodgett with victories in the 200 back (1:54) and 500 freestyle (4:43), respectively.
Finally, the still-improving, tremendously versatile sophomore Coglin, part of the foundation of the Harvard program this season and last, throttled home with blistering times to win both the 200 free (1:42) and the 200 butterfly (1:55.8).
Nothing Wrong with That
If one thing was evident from yesterday's strong showing at Annapolis, it was the Marine-like shape the visitors were in. Bernal, no longer burdened by the stigma of being a rookie coach, has been administering the dryland exercise programs that he is renowned for with full force this year. Morning nautilus workouts, stretching, isokinetics, and between 200 and 500 situps a day have left the team in near-perfect physical condition. It showed vs. the Navy.