It has been a long drought up to this point, but the Harvard men’s swimming and diving team has finally achieved what it could not during the last two years: a victory against the Princeton Tigers.
Yesterday, Harvard beat its Ivy rivals for the first time since 2008, as the Crimson traveled to New Haven, this weekend for the annual HYP meet. Harvard (9-0, 7-0 Ivy) came into the weekend with a perfect record and perfect season on the line. The squad left with that distinction intact, crushing Yale, 266-87, and dropping Princeton by a much closer score, 189-164.
“It felt tremendous,” co-captain Douwe Yntema said. “Everyone on the team swam extraordinarily well. We really came together as a team…it felt excellent to beat [Princeton]. They have been our rivals for quite some time.”
While experience may be the key to winning in most instances, the freshmen stood out this weekend, as they have consistently done all season. In the 200-yard freestyle, freshmen Chris Satterthwaite and Spenser Goodman tied for first place in the event, both finishing in 1:38.99. Sophomore Greg Roop rounded out the top three in the race with a time of 1:39.60.
In the 100-yard freestyle, Satterthwaite notched his second victory of the weekend in 44.91 seconds. He just managed to beat out Matt Lamonaca from Princeton, who completed the race with a time of 45.21 seconds.
Freshman Jack Pretto continued the string of rookie victories when he took first place in the 100-yard backstroke. Pretto clocked in a time of 49.73, just inching out his fellow teammate, junior Rob Newell.
Newell started out the race in front and completed the first 50 yards one hundredth of a second faster than Pretto, but the freshman caught up and eventually passed his teammate to earn the win.
In the 1,650-yard freestyle, freshman Wes Stearns dominated the race, finishing in 15:23.85. Paul Nolle of Princeton came out off the starting block with a slight lead, but Stearns quickly passed him, and the Tiger eventually fell to fourth.
Once Stearns was in front, he remained there for the duration of the race. Sophomore Greg Roop also earned another top-three finish, taking second in the event in 15:28.24.
“It felt really good because I worked really hard this season,” Stearns said of finishing the season with victories in two events. “I didn’t know what to expect, and coming out with the win felt really good.”
The 50-yard freestyle came down to the very end and featured a photo finish, but freshman Oliver Lee narrowly touched the wall in first. Lee finished the race in 20.42, beating out three Princeton competitors who had to settle for second, third, and fourth.
“I’m thrilled for their performances,” Yntema said of the freshmen class’ results. “They came in as a well-ranked class, but exceeded their expectations, and showed that in the last meet.”
In the men’s 200-yard butterfly, Harvard earned another 1-2-3 finish to strengthen its lead over Yale and Princeton. Sophomore Ryan Cutter took first place in the race in 1:48.36, edging out his fellow teammate, junior Niall Janney, who finished the race in 1:49.33. Junior Nicholas Tan was in first after the first 100 meters, but Cutter and Janney passed Tan in the next 100 meters, leaving Tan to pick up third place.
The diving squad also managed to put up some points for the team in its events.
In the three-meter diving event, sophomore Michael Stanton finished in first place, besting Stephen Vines from Princeton and Eric Olson from Yale. Stanton also took first place in the one-meter diving competition to complete the sweep of the diving events for the weekend.
Even though Harvard improved its times in the relay and medley events over last year, the Crimson still failed to pull out a win over the Tigers. In the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Crimson just lost out to the Tigers.
It was the closest relay event of the weekend, with Princeton finishing in 2:59.97 and Harvard taking second with a time of 3:00.05. In the 400-yard relay, Harvard narrowly lost to Princeton again, finishing just one second behind the Tigers.
Despite Princeton’s victories in those events, Harvard still managed to secure the win over its toughest competitor while putting to rest doubts that the squad could beat the Tigers. A 9-0 record and revenge over a rival were the perfect way for the men’s swimming and diving team to end its season.
—Staff writer Steven T. A. Roach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.