Crimson Splits EISL Dual Meet

In second meet of season, Harvard defeats Dartmouth, falls to Cornell

Raquel Rodriguez

In a somewhat disappointing meet—the Crimson lost to Cornell and beat Dartmouth—sophomore Dan Jones won the 100 meter butterfly.

The Harvard men’s swimming team saw flashes of red this past Saturday at Teagle Hall in Ithaca, NY as the Crimson (2-1) defeated Dartmouth and lost to Cornell in a double-dual meet.

Looking to build upon last week’s victory against Penn in its season opener, Harvard struggled in the shorter-distance events, winning only three races under 500 yards. The Crimson won 5-out-of-16 races at the meet, besting the Big Green in points 230-65, but ultimately falling to an impressive Cornell squad 131-167.

Two juniors led the charge for Harvard, as Sam Wollner and Geoff Rathgeber each won two races to thrust the Crimson into second place for the meet. After losing the 200-yard medley relay, the first event of the tournament, Harvard answered in the 1000-yard freestyle by boasting a 1-2-3 finish. Wollner led the Crimson pack with a time of 9:37.92, followed closely by sophomore Eric Lynch and freshman Mason Brunnick, each finishing less than two seconds after Wollner.

Wollner continued his individual brilliance in the 500-yard freestyle by setting a pool record with a time of 4:31.17, besting the previous time by over three seconds.

“Sam’s probably the best trainer on our team,” Rathgeber said. “His effort [in the 500 yard freestyle] against a formidable competitor was outstanding. He had a dominating finish to the race, and it was really good to see him get a pool record since he works so hard in practice.”

Rathgeber matched his classmate’s victory total by winning the 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley. Harvard managed another 1-2-3 finish in the individual medley event, as sophomore Tim Parent and junior Michael Bowen finished second and third respectively, finishing two and four seconds behind Rathgeber. Rathgeber is currently undefeated in the 200-yard breaststroke event on the season.

Although Rathgeber has enjoyed considerable success this year in his individual competitions, the disappointment of not winning their second consecutive meet is a small but painful reminder of the work the teams needs to put in to meet the high expectations that this assemblage of Crimson swimmers has set for themselves.

“We haven’t lost to Cornell in a long time and it was definitely a learning experience,” Rathgeber said. “Our league is rapidly improving. Even the smaller teams are getting faster so we need to keep working hard and have a sense of urgency to get better every meet.”

Despite the loss, some of the younger members of the Crimson squad showcased potential that will be counted on as the season progresses.

Sophomore Dan Jones won the 100-yard butterfly event adding to the impressive finishes by fellow classmates Lynch and Parent. These strong individual performances, in addition with the solid results produced by freshmen like Brunnick and Simone Melillo, reveal the talent depth that Harvard has at its disposal for the rest of Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming season.

“We’ve gotten a lot of talent from the last two freshman classes,” Rathgeber said. “[Although] the talent hasn’t quite shown itself yet, they all have tremendous potential. They just need to work hard at practice to realize it.”

The Crimson must quickly turn hard practice into satisfying results as they prepare to host Columbia this Friday.

“It’s a really special meet for us because we lost year [due to being] unprepared and distracted,” Rathgeber said. “There will be a lot of alums in the stands this weekend because of the Harvard-Yale game, so expect to see a lot of composure and passion from us.”