They scored 1609.5 points, captured 11 out of 21 first-place finishes, and claimed their fourth Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving title in a row. They swam in three days of grueling competition for six hours a day. And somehow they made it look easy.
No one has won the EISL Championships as many times as the Harvard men's swimming and diving team. Even though ten teams compete in this meet--the eight Ivy League schools plus Army and Navy--Harvard and Princeton have tossed the title back and forth for the last 16 years.
But at some point Harvard got tired of playing catch. It now boasts seven of the last eight championship titles and this weekend's victory makes it four in a row.
"Overall it was the best Easterns I've been a part of," said co-captain Greg Wriede. "Coming together as a team, it was by far the best performance we've had."
Beating out second-place Princeton--which finished with 1200.50--by more than 400 points, the Crimson set a new record for the all-time highest team score with 1609.5 points. That broke Harvard's 1994 mark of 867.5.
Even under the meet's old scoring system--which counted the top 16 places instead of the current 24--the Crimson would still have broken that record by 98.5.
The Crimson only trailed at one point during the meet, and that was after the first race, which Navy won.
"This is the first time we've really completely set ourselves apart from the rest of the teams," said junior Tim Martin. "Always in the past people recognized it was battle between Princeton and ourselves for first, but this year we were really far ahead and three teams were battling it out for second."
Wriede stepped up this year to win the
In the 200-yard backstroke Wriede battled itout with rival Chuck Barnes of Princeton, beatinghim in the preliminaries on Saturday morning buteventually taking second in the finals. Despitefinishing behind Barnes, Wriede's time of 1:46.60in the preliminary heat was a personal best andwith the current rankings, all of his efforts lookstrong enough to guarantee him a spot in the NCAAChampionships March 12th.
Notching yet another prestigious achievement atthe meet, Wriede outperformed Barnes by a singlepoint to earn the Harold Ulan Award for careerscoring champion, which recognizes the senior withthe most cumulative points over four years.
Along with Barnes and Wriede, Martin was arecipient of the meet's Phil Moriarty Award, whichhonors the meet's top point scorer. Since itsinception in 1976, 10 Harvard swimmers havereceived this award, and Martin--who also won itin 1998--is the only swimmer ever to bag it twice.
Martin swam away from the field, taking firstin both the 1650-yard freestyle and the 1000-yardfreestyle, as well as second place behind Oren inthe 500-yard freestyle.
Unlike many of his competitors, Martin did nothave the advantage of tapering or shaving andawaits NCAAs to fully peak.
"I was really excited about the performancesbecause in all three events the team swam reallywell and I was part of a sweep," said Martin.
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