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At the 1977 Women's Ivy League Swimming Championships in Philadelphia, Harvard's aquawomen showed up at poolside with shirts entitled "It's Not The Meet, It's The Motion." A year ago, though, it was the meet, not the motion, that counted. Eight Ivy squads showed up in Philly and a good time was had by all.
At the 1978 Women's Ivy League Swimming Championships currently being held in Harvard's futuristic Blodgett Pool, the Crimson aquawomen showed up. Unfortunately, only four other Ivy squads managed to do the same, and the year when "It's Not The Meet, It's The Motion" t-shirts would have been more than apropos, they were nowhere to be seen.
Instead, the story of this year's championship meet is not the meet at all, but the sundry travails the squads encountered en route to it. In other words, the motion.
For openers, Brown, Cornell and Barnard motioned to stay home altogether. The former sent a team to the sister tourney, the Women's Ivy League Basketball Championships at the IAB, but kept its swimmers afloat in Providence.
The latter doesn't have much of a team to begin with, and as for Cornell, the decision not to brave Mother Nature became easy when Big Red officials learned that the swimmers were to be driven here by the same bus driver who drove the squad back to Ithaca following last year's championships. On that journey, the bus went off the highway and overturned into a ditch.
The fact that the aforementioned schools had less than no chance of winning the championship also probably contributed to their reluctance to ski to Cambridge. Princeton and Yale, the meet's co-favorites, faced no such problem. "We felt we had to come," said Princeton mentor Janie Tyler. "It's just that once we did, we had to walk to the Hyatt from Central Square with our luggage because no taxis would pick us up." It wasn't so much the walk through the snowdrifts that bothered the Tigers but the fact they had to carry their luggage. They're not used to that.
As for Yale, the Elis boarded an Amtrak on Saturday morning, along with Penn, which had arrived in New Haven the night before. "If they were going to hold the meet," claimed Yale coach Eve Atkinson, "then we were going to be there. If other people could make it, then so could we."
Had Atkinson known that her team would be locked in a train car the whole trip, she might have thought otherwise. As one of the swimmers stated, "Do you know what that's like when you have to go to the bathroom?"
Quaker mentor Kath Lawlor let neither the snow nor the lack of a restroom bother her. "We're sophisticated travelers," she claimed. "We don't let the elements bother us. We're like pioneers blazing a trail." Or, translated, anything's better than spending a weekend in Philadelphia.
Anything wouldn't have been better than spending a weekend in Hanover, New Hamphire, though. At least this weekend, as the Dartmouths were staging their annual Winter Carnival, so you can imagine the despair of the Big Green's women swimmers as they were bused southward Saturday morning. It was even more despairing once they arrived in Boston. According to coach Susan Lutkus, "It took us as long to get from the bus station to the pool as it had from Hanover to Boston."
Despite the traveling hassles, though, there were some benefits to be derived from the whole affair. As the Crimson's Jane Fayer said while toweling off last night, "The good thing is we get to eat out tonight at 33 Dunster Street," where depending upon one's tastes, "It's Not The Meet, It's The Motion."
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