Perfection Ends For Crimson

Harvard drops first dual-meet win of season in mixed weekend

The Harvard women’s swim team (6-1, 6-1 Ivy) saw its streak of five dual-meet wins come to an end this weekend, as it fell to Princeton (7-0, 6-0), 210-107, but defeated Yale (5-3, 4-3), 198.5-118.5, at the annual HYP meet in New Haven, CT.

Though swimmers from all three teams compete together, the meet consists of dual-meets between Harvard and Yale, Harvard and Princeton, and Yale and Princeton.

“It’s funny that there is added pressure,” said senior diver Samantha Papadakis of the HYP meet format. “Before every session starts, we have to remind ourselves that this is no different than any other dual meet.”

Papadakis was the lone first-place finisher for the Crimson, taking both the three-meter and one-meter events in the dive portion of the competition.

In Saturday’s three-meter dive, the senior scored 301.50 points to lead a Harvard effort that was also helped by fourth and fifth-places from freshmen Jennifer Reese and Anne Taylor. On Sunday, Papadakis, who is also a former Crimson sports writer, bested Princeton’s top three divers with 325.95 points in the one-meter dive. Senior Alison Pipitone grabbed fifth place in the event and freshman Marissa Ash finished in sixth.

“The divers are a huge part of the team that can really make or break the meet,” co-captain Lindsay Hart said. “It’s so great that we now have seven divers on our team with so much talent and depth.”

Last year, Papadakis was the only Crimson diver to break into the top five.

On the swim side of the meet, Harvard did not earn as many first-place finishes as it has in previous years but showed the depth of its roster by securing numerous second and third-places. The Crimson’s freshmen earned a number of these point-earning finishes.

“[The freshmen] played a huge role this weekend,” said Hart. “We’re looking forward to having that depth at Ivies, which is important to a championship meet because it is scored differently.”

The 200-yard medley relay squad of freshmen Katy Hinkle and Katherine Pickard and seniors Jaclyn Pangilinan and Amanda Slaight got the meet started for the Crimson with a 1:46.44 third place finish. Princeton’s A and B squads took the first two places in the event.

In a repeat of last year’s 1000-yard freestyle, Princeton All-American Alicia Aemisegger dominated the field in 9:36.91 while Harvard sophomore Alexandra Clarke once again finished in the runner-up spot in 9:58.46.

Freshmen Kate Mills and Laura Murray grabbed the second and fourth-place spots in the 200-yard free. Mills would go on to take second later that day to Princeton’s Aemisegger in the 200-yard butterfly. She hit the NCAA “B” cut in both of these events, which provisionally qualifies her for the NCAA Championship on March 20-22 in Columbus, Ohio.

Classmates Hinkle and Natalia Fiesta continued their success this season in the 100-yard backstroke, grabbing second and third behind Princeton freshman Meredith Monroe.

Though Princeton would open Sunday’s session with a 1-2-3 sweep of the 100-yard free, Mills once again brought her team closer in the 200-yard backstroke that followed with a 2:01.94 second-place finish.

“I definitely saw people fight through the last lap,” Hart said of her teammates’ resiliency.

Senior co-captain Jaclyn Pangilinan, last year’s winner of the 100-yard breaststroke at the HYP meet, brought home a third-place and two fourth-place finishes for her team this year. She touched the wall in 1:05.67 in the 100-yard breaststroke, two seconds slower than her time last year but good enough for third. She grabbed fourth in both the 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard IM.

Fellow co-captain Hart, likewise, was not able to repeat the success she had at last year’s HYP meet due to an injury that has been nagging her for a large part of the season. In 2007 she re-wrote her own school record with a 1:59.59 swim in the 200-yard backstroke. Though she did not break the top five in either of the 100-yard or 200-yard backstroke events in this year’s competition, the senior felt healthy in the water.

“I definitely dropped some time in this meet which is good,” she said of her swims. “Now [my injury] is pretty much healed just have to practice a bit and in three weeks, I should be back to my regular times.”

Harvard will compete at the Ivy League Championships from Feb. 29 through Mar. 2 in Princeton, N.J. The Crimson will look to improve upon its second-place finish to the Tigers at last year’s championship.

—Staff writer Rebecca A. Compton can be reached at