'Iron Man' Morrissey Stars in Win

Emma M. Millon

Freshman Patrick Morrissey competed in every event of the Crimson's 237-62 win over Penn as part of the "Iron Man" tradition, held during the final dual meet of every season.

On Saturday, Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” blared from the speakers at Blodgett Pool after freshman Patrick Morrissey anchored the closing 200-yard freestyle relay to complete the grueling individual task of swimming every event of the day’s contest.

Morrissey’s effort highlighted a dominating 237-62 victory for the Harvard men’s swimming and diving team (8-1, 7-1 EISL) over the University of Pennsylvania (5-6, 3-6) in which the Crimson won 16 of 17 events. The only loss came in an exhibition.

As Harvard dominated the meet at every turn, the team’s focus shifted almost entirely to Morrissey’s quest to complete his laborious task. The Iron Man tradition is passed down each year to one freshman, who must swim in each race at the last dual meet of the season.

“There is even speculation that [John F. Kennedy ’40] was an iron man in the past,” said senior Rassan Grant, who was victorious in the 200-yard breastroke with a time of 2:03.01.

Morrissey lived up to this presidential tradition and was able to maintain his composure thanks in large part to overwhelming support from both his teammates and the crowd.

“Everyone was behind me 100 percent,” Morrissey said. “I was able to feed off everyone’s energy. At the end, I was so happy. My adrenaline almost erased the pain for a little while.”

Morrissey’s grit seemed to inspire the entire Crimson squad to perform in the last dual meet of the year.

“The meet was very emotional for me,” said captain Kemi George, who won the 50-yard freestyle in convincing fashion with a time of 20.98. “It was my last dual meet as a senior, and I myself was also an Iron Man in my freshman year, so I could really relate.”

Harvard’s depth exhausted the Quakers all afternoon, as the Crimson’s swimmers and divers finished 1-2-3 in nine of the 17 events, and 1-2 in six others. Freshman John Hastrup had two distance victories in the 500-yard freestyle (4:36.59) and the 1650-yard freestyle (15:59.48), while fellow freshman Jonathan Loch won the 100-yard backstroke (51.88) and 200-yard backstroke (1:51.63).

Junior Cameron Moccari rounded out the Crimson double winners by taking both the 200-yard butterfly (1:52.15) and the 200-yard individual medley (1:55.73).

Sophomore David Cromwell continued his stellar season by posting a 200-yard freestyle win with a time of 1:41.19.  Senior classmates Jonathan Lin and Brad Burns each had a victory, as Lin won the 100-yard breastroke with a time of 56.78 and Burns outlasted the field in the 100-yard freestyle with a speedy 45.91.

Senior diver Enrique Roy won the one-meter diving with 334.42 points, and sophomore Danil Rybalko won the three-meter diving with 345.82 points to sweep the diving events.

The victory over Penn was the last tune-up for the Harvard squad as it looks ahead to the EISL Championships on March 4-6.  

“The next three weeks of training are instrumental,”  George said. “We need to keep focused, and come championship time, I think we can have some really good swims.”

“It is definitely a good note to end the season on,” Moccari added. “We’ve got a lot of confidence going into Easterns, and a lot of people stepped up in certain places.”

The squad will look to build on this weekend’s performance in the EISL championships where it was victorious last season and in seven of the last eight years.