This Saturday, the Crimson dove in head first, running—or swimming—away with a handed victory over Columbia.
Harvard men’s swimming and diving (3-0, 3-0 Ivy) has already established itself as a powerhouse this season, following its first meet’s victories against Dartmouth (0-2, 0-2) and Cornell (3-2, 2-2) with a 207-88 win over the Lions this weekend.
As the defending Ivy League Champions, the Crimson dominated the meet, sweeping 10 of the meet’s 16 events. Harvard started this streak with the 200-yard medley relay—the first event—in which the B team beat the A team by a mere .32 seconds.
The Crimson continued to sweep, keeping Columbia out of the top three in the 1650-yard free, the 200-yard free, the 100-yard back, and the 100-yard breast. The Lions fought back, managing to get a few swimmers on the podium, only to be shut out again in five more events—the 100-yard free, the 200-yard back, the 200-yard breast, the 500-yard free, and the 100-yard fly.
“Columbia was pretty broken down but we were broken down as well,” co-captain Mike Gaudiani said. “We tried to put a statement out by winning the first two relays. That really set a good tone for the meet. Then we just kept hammering away.”
Co-captain Griffin Schumacher anchored the winning 200-yard medley relay, and he topped the podium for the 50-yard and 100-yard free. In his years at Harvard, Schumacher has broken four Crimson relay team records, holds two individual top-five records, and has competed at the NCAA championships every year since his freshman season.
Gaudiani, a 2012 Olympic trial participant, made his presence known as well, placing first in the 1650-yard and 500-yard free.
“[The depth of the team] just speaks to the training and the hard work that we’ve put in,” Schumacher said. “We’ve been working incredibly hard since even before September. Some of that work is beginning to show up right now.”
Another notable performance came from sophomore Eric Ronda, who placed first in the 100-yard breast and swam breaststroke on the winning 200-yard medley relay team. Ronda, whose 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke times put him second all-time in Harvard’s record books, did not disappoint, placing first in the Crimson’s sweep of the 200-yard breast.
However, the upperclassmen are not the only ones making waves this season. Freshman Jack Boyd placed second in both the 200-yard free and the 500-yard free. Teammate Shane McNamara took second in the 100-yard and 200-yard breast and swam on the second-place winning 200-yard medley relay team.
“This year the freshmen are going to have a huge role both on our team and on the other Ivy teams,” Ronda said. “We’ve come closer together as a team this year and we’re putting in some really good work right now.”
Rookies also dominated diving, with Columbia senior Micah Rembrandt’s three-meter third place finish marking the only podium finish from an upperclassman. Harvard freshman Bobby Ross finished second, ahead of Rembrandt.
In the one-meter competition, freshman David Pfeifer took first, with a score of 311.18. This time, Ross had to settle for third, Columbia’s Jayden Pantel edging him out by less than a point.
“[The freshmen] have just bought into the program 100 percent,” Schumacher said. “They were all really strong performers in high school. We’re just trying to take that strong base they have and build off it.”
Perhaps another reason for the success of the underclassmen comes from the leadership and example provided by the team’s veterans. In the past three seasons alone, the Crimson has set 11 school records, culminating in the Ivy title last year.
Looking forward, Harvard aims to repeat last year’s feat, as well as expand the team it takes to the NCAA meet in March.
“There’s always that expectation of the same performance,” Gaudiani said. “You can’t be complacent and that’s something that our team has done a really good job of. [We bring] that energy to every meet and every practice.”
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