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A Record-Setting Weekend

By Abigail M. Baird, Contributing Writer

A lot of times, when an athlete’s talent is hyped up for so long before she competes, her actual ability after taking the field or jumping into the pool is a letdown in comparison. But junior swimmer Noelle Bassi is not one of those athletes.

Bassi transferred to Harvard after her freshman year at Tennessee but was unable to compete during her sophomore year because of her transfer. When athletes are switching athletic programs, they are required to sit out a season before resuming intercollegiate competition. So Bassi spent her sophomore year training with the Crimson team but unable to compete.

But this weekend Bassi proved she is truly all she has been made out to be by her supporters. In the Crimson’s dual meet against Kansas and Houston this weekend, Bassi reigned supreme as the biggest point-winner of the night.

The Jayhawks’ swimming and diving program is one with scholarships, unlike Harvard’s, and it tends to attract higher-level athletes because of the money it can offer its swimmers. The Crimson was very unsure about its chances entering the meet and having watched Kansas swim. All except Bassi, that is, who was confident in Harvard.

“I didn’t think so, but a lot of people didn’t think we would win,” Bassi said. “We knew that if we wanted to win, we were going to have to step up.”

And step up was exactly what Bassi did, as she ended up winning all four events in which she competed: 200-yard butterfly, 200-yard IM, 400-yard IM and the 500-yard freestyle. The Crimson ended up taking first place in eight events total, and so Bassi brought in half of its first-place points.

“I’m really happy about how I’m swimming and how the team’s swimming,” Bassi said. “It’s on track to be a great season.”

But Bassi did more than just win her events—she broke the pool record in the 400-yard IM. The event is not even her specialty, but rather one she has begun training in more recently. But more importantly, she became the first Harvard woman ever to break two minutes in the 200-yard butterfly with her time of 1:59.79.

When asked about her record breaking effort, Bassi seemed very unaffected by it all. She said that while breaking the record this early in the season is exciting, it is not her best time in the event and she knows that she can do better in the future. Right now, Bassi’s main goal is helping her team to succeed as best she can.

“It wasn’t really about the record,” Bassi said. “I was just excited because we won another event.”

But without Bassi’s phenomenal showing at the meet, the Crimson probably wouldn’t have had the great victory it did over Kansas.


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Women's Swimming