A powerful sextet propelled the Harvard women's swim team to a seventh-place ranking yesterday after the first day of competition in the National AIAW Swimming and Diving Championships in Gainsville, Ga.
Coach Stephanie Walsh and six of her finest stormed the Division II meet (for small colleges with under 3,000 women) and shattered records while racking up an impressive 53 points.
Super-stroker Liz Kelly led the Crimson charge with a new Division II national record in the 500-yd. freestyle. Kelly kicked her way to a 5:03.08 clocking to take first place and write a new entry in the record books.
Turn on the Jets
After staying even with the pack for the first 200 yards, Kelly turned on the jets for the final 300 to run away with the win. "I thought she'd die in that final stretch, but she really held out and just pulled away," Walsh said last night.
In the 200-yd. backstroke, junior Laurie Downey cruised to a second-place finish with a time of 2:13.23, two seconds behind the winning backstroker. Downey's time bettered her previous season-best clocking in the event, bettering her time from the Ivy Championships by 0.5 seconds.
The Crimson women also fared well in the glamour event for Thursday, the 800-yd, freestyle relay, as a first-rate foursome rallied to a third-place finish. Kelly and Downey joined Jane Fayer and Sherry Lubbers to turn in a 7:59.84 clocking, eight seconds better than the quartet's time at the Ivy Championships.
"We achieved our goal of breaking the eight-minute mark," Walsh said last night, noting that all four swimmers produced their fastest splits of the season.
With Kelly leading off at 1:56.14, Lubbers following at 2:02.78, Downey racing to a 1:59.87 split, and Fayer finishing off in 2:02.05, Harvard established a new team and a new New England record for the 800-yd event.
Despite Kelly's blistering first leg, which sets a new national record for 200 yards, the Crimson finished second behind a new national record performance by Clarion State College, whose relay finished at 7:55.55.
After the first day, Harvard trailed the meet-leading Pennsylvanians of Clarion by 78 points. Manhattanville kicked into second place with 81 points, 50 behind the leaders. The four teams between Manhattanville and Harvard were all bunched closely
With much more swimming left today and tomorrow, Harvard stands to better their placing for the meet. Gina Stuart and Katie Kelley, also part of the Crimson's national team, bolster the efforts of the Harvard foursome which produced yesterday's fireworks
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