Tough Matchup Not a Problem

Crimson downs Columbia despite illnesses, injuries

Friday afternoon saw two Ivy League powers, Harvard (3-0, 3-0 Ivy) and Columbia (2-1, 2-1), compete at Blodgett Pool in what appeared would be a dangerous meet for the Crimson’s women’s swimming and diving team. Battling through injuries and a stomach virus, Harvard exceeded expectations and decisively finished off the Lions in commanding fashion with a 190-110 victory, winning 10 out of the 16 events.

“Columbia is a great team,” Crimson coach Stephanie Morawski said. “They put up a really strong lineup. We knew that they were going to be tough and pushed ourselves for the results.”

The Crimson came into this meet feeling a bit of pressure.

“A lot of the team was nervous. Columbia had posted some fast times near the start of the season, and we knew that [the Lions] were going to be a tough challenge,” co-captain Kelly Mooney said.

After losing the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:47.61 to the Lions’ 1:46.37, the Crimson rallied back with a string of wins. Sophomore Katherine Pickard took the 400-yard individual medley in 4:25.14, and freshman Catherine Zagroba was victorious in the 200-yard freestyle, finishing with a time of 1:51.58.

“We had a few injuries, and we had a few surprises. What was key was that we were able to pull through on the moments that counted,” Morawski said. “Before the match, I told the girls to go for everything and surprise themselves. They certainly did that today.”

Of all the surprises in the meet, rookie Meghan Leddy’s sweep of the backstroke events was crucial in securing the win for the Crimson. She won the 100-yard backstroke, coming in at 58.68 and led the Crimson sweep of the 200-yard backstroke in 2:05.11.

Despite her bout with mono over the course of the semester and her lack of experience in collegiate events, Leddy powered through both backstroke events with the comfortable determination of a seasoned athlete.

“[Leddy] is just recovering from mono and hasn’t been doing workouts for the past two weeks,” Morawski said. “She is definitely not at 100 percent, and her wins today while being ill and out of practice show her potential. Once she is healthy, she will have the potential to do very well in the Ivy League and even go for NCAAs.”

The Crimson dominated the butterfly events, seeing sophomore Kate Mills win the 200-yard distance with a time of 2:03.59 and freshman Monica Burgos win the 100-yard with a time of 57.43.

Other notable victories in the meet included sophomore Katy Hinkle’s win in the 50-yard freestyle and sophomore Christine Kaufmann in the 500-yard freestyle at 4:57.28. Junior Kay Foley emerged victorious in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:09.91.

“The win gives us the confidence that we need for more challenging duel meets up ahead,” Mooney said.

Overall, the win leaves Harvard and Princeton in the top spots in the Ivy League. As the team heals from injuries and illness, it seems that things will only continue to go well for the Crimson and that the team will remain dominant.

Harvard will next see action at the Georgia Invitational Dec. 5-7.

“We never underestimate our opponents,” Morawsi said. “With every win we get more confidence. With every win we learn new things. It is certainly nice to be 3-0 right now. We knew we were not 100 percent physically, and we know we can do even better.”


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