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The Harvard women's swim team, led by Co-Captains Stacie Duncan and Stephanie Wriede and freshman Deborah Kory, took first place in last weekend's Pittsburgh Invitational in Pittsburgh, Penn. While outlasting a strong field of nine, the Crimson compiled an impressive 929 points and beat second-place University of Miami (FL) by almost 200 points.
Wriede, who has already qualified for the Olympic trials in the 200 breast-stroke, broke the meet, pool and team records with her 2:15.39 time in the same event. More importantly the time was fast enough to qualify her for the NCAA meet in March. There are distinct advantages to making the cut this early in the season, as the necessary time dropped nearly two seconds off of last year's 2:18.00, narrowing the number of qualifiers.
"Steph had a strong showing across the board," eighth-year year coach Maura Costin-Scalise said. "She definitely will have one of the top 10 fastest times in the country."
In the six events Wriede swam, she managed two firsts, three seconds and a fourth.
Not to be outdone, freshman Kory was the only swimmer to win two races, taking first-place in the 400 and 200 individual medleys. Both of her times were good enough to set meet records and her 4:22.38 time in the 400 IM established a new Harvard mark.
Kory took home three first-place finishes including the 800 free relay with juniors Lynn Kelley and Eva Romas and Wriede, two seconds and a third.
Duncan swam extremely fast, as well, winning the 1650 freestyle and taking second in the 400 IM and the 500 free.
"Stacie was just off of the school records in a number of her races," Costin-Scalise said.
Freshman Laura Koerckel, sophomores Jen Chertow, Allison Estes and Heather Gibbons, Romas and senior Ruthie Tannenbaum all turned in fast times on the weekend.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the weekend was just how fast the entire team swam. The Crimson defeated a top-20 team in Miami by a wide margin, and swam very quickly.
"We did extremely well," Costin-Scalise said. "We had hoped to swim fast but we surpassed all of my expectations for this point in the season."
The team's next meet will be on January 4th against Dartmouth, followed by Ivy power Yale a week later. Looking ahead, Harvard will taper for its conference meet, Easterns, held at Blodgett in February.
"We are looking to take back the Ivy title," Wriede said. "Princeton has won it the last two years, but we will not shave for them. We think we can make a run for it on two days rest."
The team gained a world of confidence with this weekend's victory; the freshman, which comprise nearly half of the team, performed very well under pressure.
"The cohesiveness and spirit was unbelievable," Wriede said. "After this weekend everyone is psyched to train because we're going to do very well.
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