The Harvard men's swimming team warmed up for its winter break in Hawaii Friday night with a down-home barbecue of Dartmouth.
Harvard won 189-98, taking first and second place in 15 of 16 events and swimming many of its athletes merely for exhibition to avoid running up the score.
That's the type of cookout this is was: relaxing, enjoyable and eminently satsifying.
"We're coming off some hard races, and this was more of a chance for us to try different events," Tri-Captain Steve Root said. "People swam very well. They responded to the opportunity to swim something different."
Root certainly did. In addition to winning the 200 butterfly (1:53.67), Root, who normally swims distance events, won the 100 freestyle in 48.63.
Also swimming out of their element, sophomore Jan Esway (breastroke, freestyle, IM) and junior Richard Ou (breastroke specialist) took first and second in the 100 butterfly, with 52:66 and 52.71 respectively.
Swimming the 400 IM for the first time ever, freshman Mike Sullivan took second place with 4:16.62.
Perhaps the only Harvard athlete who didn't enjoy himself was freshman Scott Peterson, who had the unenviable task of swimming every single event, including relays, as the team's so-called "Ironman."
Each year, whether as a form of team initiation or (according to the party line) to demonstrate the team's fitness, Harvard selects one freshman to be the Ironman at a specific meet. This year, the meet was Dartmouth and the Ironman was Peterson, who put in a tasty performance considering what his body was up against.
Peterson beat out Dartmouth swimmers in the 100 backstroke, 200 butterfly, 200 backstroke, 200 breastroke, 500 freestyle and 400 individual medley. And, racing a 9:49.31, Peterson even forced Tri-Captain Ed Owen to swim a lifetime best in the 1000 free (9:48.90, second place).
Harvard's divers had a strong meet, with junior Craig Narveson and senior Dave Monahan recording season bests on the one meter board (289.20 points) and three meter board (251.48), respectively.
Freshman Jeff Marks set another lifetime-best mark Saturday, taking second in the 500 freestyle with a 4:41.00, a half-second off his previous best time.
Harvard is now 4-1 in Ivy League competition, and its next meet is more than a month away--February 6 in New Haven against Yale and Princeton.
The team's goal for the layoff is to maintain its intensity and to refine its racing style. Whereas the first half the season is primarily devoted to aerobic training, the second half is focused exclusively on winning big titles: the Ivies, the Easterns and NCAA individuals.
"Except for that one setback against Brown [a surprising loss in Providence] I think the team is far exceeding the expectations we had at the beginning of the season," Root said. "We hope to fine tune our racing for the tri-meet at Yale and the Easterns in February."