Solid Win Jump-Starts Season

Vilsa E. Curto

Alison Pipitone and the women’s swimming and diving team began its 2006-07 dual-meet season on a promising note, taking first place in almost all of its events in a 198-100 victory over Penn.

After a disappointing spring, the Harvard women’s swimming and diving team started out its 2006-07 dual-meet season with a strong performance this weekend.

Of the 15 events the Crimson competed in during the meet, Harvard took first place in 12 of them. Harvard ended the meet with a 198-100 triumph over Penn while giving its freshmen an introduction to collegiate competition.

“We always go into Penn expecting to see a lot from our girls because Penn isn’t what I would call our biggest competition,” junior diver Alison Pipitone said. “It was an exciting way to kick off the season with an exciting win.”

The freshmen made quite a splash at the meet, winning three events and placing in the top three in several others.

Freshman Alexandra Clarke took first in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle, followed in the 200 by senior Emily Wilson. Kay Foley was the other freshman able to win her event, the 1000-yard freestyle, with senior Laurin Weisenthal coming in second.

Three other Harvard entries won multiple events as well.

The first event of the meet, the 200-yard medley relay, produced two such double winners. The Harvard ‘A’ squad, composed of juniors Lindsay Hart, Jaclyn Pangilinan, Bridget O’Connor, and Amanda Slaight, took first in the event. The ‘B’ team was not far behind in second, with freshmen Natalia Festa, Sophie Morgan, Vanda Gyuris, and junior Meaghan Colling.

From Team ‘A’, both O’Connor and Slaight went on to win a second event. Slaight was able to touch the wall first in the 50-yard freestyle; sophomore Christi Morriessey came in third. O’Connor nabbed first-place points in the 100-yard butterfly with Morgan coming in the third.

In diving, junior Samantha Papadakis dominated the two events of the meet, the 1-meter and 3-meter, winning both by easy point margins. Pipitone placed second in both events, and freshman Caitlin High took third in the 3-meter dive.

“I was really excited for [High],” Piptone said. “She has been training really hard and I was really excited because we went 1-2-3 in three meter.”

There was only one close race during the meet—the 100-yard freestyle. Wilson fell just one millisecond shy of the winning time, taking second in 52.64, while Slaight finished third.

Four different swimmers captured the other four events won by Harvard. Colling led a 1-2-3 finish in the 100-yard breaststroke, followed by senior LeeAnn Chang and Pangilinan in second and third, respectively.

Harvard boasted two other sweeps. Senior Noelle Bassi, Morgan, and O’Connor swept the 200-yard butterfly, while Chang, Colling, and freshman Tiffany Bui swept the 200-yard breaststroke.

The Crimson’s final win came in the 200-yard individual medley, which was won by senior Jessica Davidson with junior Linnea Sundberg following in second.

Harvard finished No. 2 and No. 3 in both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke events, with Hart and Festa earning points in the 100 and Hart and Davidson getting on the board in the 200.

“The swimmers are starting in on some harder sets,” Pipitone said, “and they are also starting to bulk up on workouts and getting stronger. So when February comes around we can taper really well and rest and hopefully beat Princeton at the end of the season.”

—Staff writer Abigail M. Baird can be reached at