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The Harvard women’s swimming and diving team sought to divide and conquer this weekend. The squad split up to compete in three invitationals: the Georgia Invitational, the MIT Winter Invitational, and the Texas Invitational, hosted by the University of Texas at Austin. Propelled by several of its youngest members, the Crimson emerged from the trio of meets fairly satisfied.
“[This weekend], we set some team records and had some very strong relays,” co-captain Kristi Korsberg said. “I’m really excited about it.”
Up against three of the top five ranked teams in the nation, Harvard took to the water in Gabrielsen Natatorium at the University of Georgia. Though it was the No. 1 Bulldogs and No. 2 University of California, Berkeley who battled for the invitational’s team trophy, a number of Crimson swimmers turned in solid showings.
“We come [to the Georgia Invitational] every year,” Korsberg said. “We always have very high expectations. This year, I feel like we outdid even our highest expectations.”
Freshman Stephanie Ferrell surely exceeded expectations at the Georgia Invite. The Verona, N.J., native broke the team record in the 100-meter breaststroke with a blistering time of 1:02.64.
“Our freshmen have been strong from day one.” Korsberg said. “They’ve really filled in a lot of gaps from the girls who graduated last year. In a lot of ways, we’re following their lead ... riding the wave of their energy and enthusiasm.”
Another first-year, Courtney Otto, reached the finals of the 400-yard individual medley for Harvard. In a heat containing four Georgia swimmers and two from Berkeley, Otto finished in eighth place, with a time of 4:15.14.
Freshman Faith Martin also competed in the 400-yard individual medley. The rookie raced to a time of 4:20.02, which was good for 15th place. Senior Hilary Roberts and junior Laura Evans rounded out the event for the Crimson, finishing in 19th and 20th place, respectively.
In the 200-yard medley relay, two of Harvard’s teams turned in one of the weekend’s closest finishes. The “B” team of Ferrell, junior Caroline Weaver, sophomore Danielle Schulkin, and freshman Sarah Sumner edged out the Crimson’s “A” team by a margin of 0.01 seconds. Harvard’s photo-finishing squads earned 13th and 14th place.
The Crimson also proved its mettle in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The team of Martin, Sumner, freshman Kelsey Hojan-Clark, and senior Catherine Zagroba cracked the top 10 with a finishing time of 7:20.07.
A group of five Harvard divers made the trip to Austin, Texas, this weekend to compete at the Texas Invitational. Though this group avoided the likes of Georgia and UC Berkeley, facing No. 3 Texas was little consolation. The Crimson’s more experienced competitors were still able to make a splash in the Lone Star State and walk away with some top-10 finishes.
In the women’s one-meter dive, junior Brittany Powell turned in a ninth-place finish, with a score of 229.65. Senior Leslie Rea was just behind Powell, scoring 229.45, which earned her 10th place.
The duo was joined by freshman Cassandra Corneau, whose trip to Austin was her first time traveling with her new teammates.
“I loved it,” Corneau said. “It was great to be out there with most of the members of the team. We spent a lot of time together and definitely got closer.”
Competing against some of the best divers in the country, the rookie turned in respectable performances over the weekend. Corneau finished in 17th place in both the one-meter and three-meter dive events.
“Seeing how good [the Texas divers were] was a little intimidating,” Corneau said. “But I just had to keep calm and try not to get psyched out.”
MIT WINTER INVITATIONAL
While their teammates were competing down South, some members of the Harvard squad held down the fort in Cambridge, competing in the MIT Winter Invitational.
A pair of Crimson divers made a statement at MIT’s Zesiger Center. Sophomore Alex Stanton and senior Jessica Stanchfield took first and third places, respectively, in the women’s one-meter and three-meter dives.
In both events, NYU’s Kelly Dietz thwarted Harvard’s chance of a one-two finish. MIT came away with the team title at its home invitational behind strong relay performances.
—Staff writer Dominic Martinez can be reached at email@example.com.
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