After coming off a full week of practice, the Harvard women’s swimming and diving team (3-0, 3-0 Ivy) showed up to Blodgett Pool ready for revenge on Friday.
After losing to Columbia (0-3, 0-3) last season, the Crimson won 15 of 16 events in the dual meet against the Lions. It took the top three places in five events.
“I'm guessing Columbia [tapered like last year] because they wore fast suits for this meet,” junior Danielle Lee said. “We were definitely nervous going into the meet.”
After beating Cornell and Dartmouth in its season opener, the Crimson had another strong showing, and beat Columbia by over 100 points, 215-85.
Cheers of encouragements were heard around the pool throughout the meet, as teammates pushed each other on and counted laps in each event.
“We wanted to take each event one at a time,” co-captain Cassie Corneau said. “Going in, we knew there was a possibility that the meet would be a challenge so we wanted to do all of the little things in each event to score as many points as possible.”
Six swimmers and divers came away with multiple event wins. Sophomore Victoria Chan led the pack with four first place finishes: the 200-meter medley relay, and the 200, 100 and 50 freestyle races.
In a fast-paced race for the first event, Chan helped Lee, co-captain Stephanie Ferrell, and junior Kendall Crawford beat the Lions’ relay team with a time of 1 minute, 43.48 seconds, edging their opponents out by just .20 seconds.
Junior Sherry Liu had three wins, and Lee, Crawford and freshman Hannah Allchurch added two wins each. It was Lee’s first sweep of this season, as she finished first in the 100 and 200 backstroke races.
“I had been working on my underwater kicks off the wall for my backstroke events and improving my breaststroke technique for the 200 IM,” Lee said. “My coaches have told me that there are several little adjustments that need to be made like keeping my tempo up that I will continue working on during practice.”
Sophomores Daniela Johnson and Ashlee Korsberg, and freshman Regan Kology placed second and third, respectively, to add points to Harvard’s scoreboard.
Korsberg and Kology, along with Liu, dominated the 500 free, taking the top three spots with a margin of three seconds separating them from the nearest Columbia competitor.
With a time of 10:04.74, Liu also nabbed the top spot in the 1000 free, outswimming the second-placed Kology by eight seconds.
In the only race that it lost, the 200 breast, the Crimson finished only .51 seconds behind the Lions.
The Crimson diving team swept the competition, with Allchurch bringing in first place, senior Schuyler Moore placing second, and freshman Alisha Mah taking third in both the 3-meter and 1-meter dives.
In the 3-meter dive, Allchurch won by over 20 points with 299.33 points. Though it was by a smaller margin, she solidly took first place with a score of 279.90 in the 1-meter.
About halfway through the meet, attention was diverted outside the pool. After 24 years of coaching, Keith Miller’s tenure was recognized, and his position was endowed as the Class of 1989 Head Coach for Diving.
“I am thrilled that the diving coach is now being endowed,” Lee said. “Diving is an integral part of the team and the divers have always done a spectacular job at our meets.”
Next week the teams will head to different places for their first away meets, beginning December 4th. The swim team will be competing in the Texas Invitational in Austin, Texas, while the diving team will be travelling to Athens, Georgia, for the UGA Invite.
“This meet really showed how strong we are as a team and how well we can compete,” Corneau said. “Everyone stepped up and did their part. We know we can push through to the finish and that is what we will take with us into future meets.”
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