It was the match-up everyone expected when the Harvard men's swimming team met its counterpart from Columbia, but it was 12 months too late. One year did not change the results, as the aquamen overcame opposition both in and out of the Blodgett Pool waters to hag the Lions yesterday, 57-55.
Last season, the Columbia squad laden with seniors was rumored to be ready for a run at the defending Eastern champs, but fell far short in a 90-22 shellacking.
This year, with Harvard still tired from its Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League (EISL) opener against a weak Navy team, and the Lions psyched up and shaved down, the meet was the nail-biter that had been promised.
But even the 73-38 torpedoing of the Midshipmen was not enough to help the self-proclaimed "boys from New York City" beat the Crimson. The doubleheader left Harvard's EISL record unblemished at 2-0 and upped the Crimson's winning streak to 24--currently the longest in NCAA swimming.
Coach Joe Bernal said after yesterday's contest that before the weekend slate, he was confident his charges would be prepared for Columbia, but feared "a lackadaisical outlook" that could let an underdog like Navy shock the aquamen.
"The toughest thing is to be on top and have people taking potshots at you," said Bernal, adding that the Middies "came up here and anything they did against us was a plus."
But Navy did not have the firepower, as Harvard grabbed 10 of 13 first-place finishes Saturday.
All exhaustion aside, the biggest obstacle Harvard faced yesterday was the Columbia squad itself--most shaved slick and three zealots with bared skulls--led by 800-meter freestyle American record holder Tony Corbisiero and prepared to give Harvard the meet it expected in New York in 1981.
"We definitely went for the win," said Columbia Coach Don Galluzzi. "I do not respect the teams who come in here and refuse to try and compete with Harvard."
But the aquamen--unshaved and unrested--made it clear from the opening event that they had very different intentions. The 400-meter relay set the tone for the day's contest, with Columbia grabbing the lead after the butterfly leg only to have senior Captain Ted Chappell surge past Lion sophomore Nick Monroe in the freestyle anchor to nail the Crimson victory in 3:29.80.
The rest of the meet followed a similar pattern, with Columbia falling short and Harvard grabbing seven of 13 first-place finishes.
After splitting wins--Corbisiero in the 1650 free and Chappell in the 200 free--the Crimson jumped in front with a strong one two finish in the 50 free by the sprint corps. Missing the leadership of junior rocket Mike Miao--University record holder in the 100 free--and facing shaved opponents in an event decided by hundredths of seconds, senior Jim Carbone and sophomore Bob Hrabchak bested Columbia's Mike McCool in 21.45 and .21.66. respectively
Unable to match Harvard's depth, the Lions got back into the meet on a technicality in the 500 free. An unusual disqualification of all the Harvard swimmers entered in the middle distance event let the Lions sweep.
But Carbone clinched the Crimson win, scoring the deciding 57th point with a third place finish in the 200 breaststroke.