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Aquamen: A Crimson Tide

By Jill L. Brenner

When the Harvard men's swim team reflects back on the 1994-1995 season, one word will immediately come to mind: Princeton.

Although the Crimson is stereotypically expected to have its most important meet against that Ivy League school in New Haven, it's simply not the case in many sports.

The Harvard men's swim team proved just this point. Forget Yale--the Crimson-Tiger rivalry is rapidly becoming the confrontation to talk about.

Aside from the Tiger-factor, the Crimson (9-2, 8-1 EISL) steamrolled through the Eastern conference, defeating opponents by incredibly large margins of victory.

For example, take the Crimson's 225-53 dismantling of Columbia in its first meet of the season on November 18. Or if that doesn't prove the Crimson's dominance, what about its 188-45 victory over Brown on January 7?

In the end, the two EITA losses to its Princeton, New Jersey rival overshadow these whoopings over the likes of Army, Cornell, Penn and Yale.

In its February 4 meet against Princeton and Yale, the Crimson received its first disappointment of the season. The meet proved that there was no need for hype over a Harvard-Yale match-up.

Although many individual swimmers performed well, the team result was below the team's normal standards. The team lost by a close score of 131.5-115.5.

After two final Ivy wins over Cornell and Penn, the Crimson was once again haunted by the Tigers. This time, the defeat took place at the most crucial event of the season--the Eastern Championships, which took place March 3-5 at the Tigers' home pool.

The Tigers dominated the event, taking the title by a 115-point margin over the Crimson, who finished second. The loss marks the first time in five years that the Crimson did not take home the EITA title.

Aside from the disappointment associated with the Crimson's run-ins with the Tigers, the season had many high points.

The Crimson's most spectacular team victory came at the beginning of December, when the squad defeated both Michigan and Florida to take the Harvard Invitational. Michigan was the top-ranked team in the country at the time, while Florida was 13th.

Individually, the Crimson was led by ultra-talented freshman Brian Younger who won three events at the Eastern championships--the 500 freestyle, 1000 freestyle and 1650 freestyle--and set Eastern records in both the 1000 and 1650 events.

Younger qualified for the NCAA championships, where he swam personal bests in the 500 and 1650 freestyle. His eighty-place finish in the 1650 was high enough to earn all-America honors.

Another note performance at Eastern was 400 freestyle relay: seniors Jan Esway and Dave Heilman, freshman Matt Cornue and sophomore Karl Scheer set both school and Eastern records with a 2:58.60 time.

Captain Tim Carver and senior Rich Beukema also joined Younger at the NCAA 7Tournament. Carver competed in the 100 and 200 backstroke while Beukema competed in the diving competition.

Although the Crimson is disappointed with its loss at the Eastern Championships, it performed well throughout the season and exhibited its multitude of talented swimmers in its almost-constant thrashing of Eastern competition.

And if anything, the Crimson's season the taught each and every Crimson fan to keep an eye on a growing Harvard-Princeton swimming rivalry.

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