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Worried more about achieving Eastern and NCAA cut-off times than about the quality of the competition it will encounter, Harvard's swimming team departs Friday for its semi-annual February southern jaunt.
The aquamen seem assured of boosting their season's record to 10-0 over the weekend. Friday evening they invade Baltimore to meet NCAA Division III powerhouse Johns Hopkins, before journeying to the City of Brotherly Love for the yearly laugher against a hapless University of Pennsylvania squad Saturday.
Johns Hopkins, the two-time Division III defending national champion, actually has a very respectable team, but cannot hope to keep pace with the awesome Crimson armada.
Hopkins, led by second-year coach Tim Welsh, features a strong breaststroke crew, led by Bill Smiddy and John Blank, and possesses several formidable freestylers and individual medleyists, the strongest of whom is Stanley Morgan.
UPenn is a different story. The Quakers--better known in recent years for their team member who delighted crowds around the league (and on the Johnny Carson Show) with his domino show than for the quality of their swimming performances--will provide little competition.
Recognizing that his squad will roll over both opponents this weekend, Harvard coach Joe Bernal has decided to allow two of his biggest stars, sophomore freestyler Bobby Hackett and freshman backstroker Ron Raikula, to remain in Cambridge.
The two will undertake grueling two-a-day practices in preparation for Easterns and NCAAs.
"Those who haven't made Eastern cut-offs so far must treat these meets as some of their last chances to do so," team co-captain Malcolm Cooper said yesterday. "That alone should provide enough incentive to spark some good performances."
Even for those fortunate enough not to have to worry about meeting championship time standards, this weekend's meets provide some final opportunities to sharpen skills for the upcoming effort to unseat Princeton as Eastern Champions two weeks hence.
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