For the third time in the last four years the Harvard men’s swimming and diving team asserted itself as the top school among the Ivy League Big Three.
This weekend in New Haven the Crimson swept the dual meet against Yale and Princeton, beating the Bulldogs, 203-150, and topping the Tigers, 213-140.
Of the 19 events that the teams competed in, Harvard came out on top in 11 of them.
“I think we went into the meet as it being a litmus test for the Ivy League Championships,” senior Chris Satterthwaite said. “This is a meet we have historically done well in but it is also a meet that is historically competitive and I think we were thrilled with the outcome because it’s validation of what we’ve been working on this season.”
The team came out strong on Friday, winning four events, including junior Griffin Schumacher and senior Oliver Lee— who finished first and second in the 50 yard freestyle with race times of 19.96 and 20.22 seconds, respectively. Schumacher’s time landed him an NCAA B cut time, just 0.46 seconds away from A cut status. Swimmers who finished with A cut times are automatically invited to the NCAA Championships in the spring, while B cut times have to wait to fill in the remaining spots at that race.
“The B cuts allow us to enter the pool to be selected to go to the NCAA Championships but the goal is to try and get A cuts,” Satterthwaite said. “We were really pleased with the times because they allow us to get contention into the NCAA race, but we will have another chance to qualify at Ivies.”
Overall, the team finished the meet with 12 different B cut times. As a team, the Crimson also found success in its relays, finishing first in all five races.
Friday began and ended with Harvard relay victories, starting with a 1:19.12 finish in the 200 freestyle relay behind the team of junior Griffin Schumacher, Lee, senior Danny Crigler, and Satterthwaite. The 400 medley relay was won 3:14.04 by senior Jack Pretto, freshman Eric Ronda, sophomore Jacob Luna, and Satterthwaite.
“We were the underdog in the medley relays so it was very exciting to win those…so it really shows the depth of our team,” Lee said. “Relays are always a really fun part of the meet and it’s always great to win them.”
Harvard’s relay dominance continued on Saturday with the team of Pretto, Crigler, Luna, and Schumacher touching the wall at 1:28.34 to seal a victory in the day’s first event. Schumacher, Lee, Crigler, and Satterthwaite ended the day on a high note for the Crimson with a 2:55.13 finish in the 400 freestyle relay.
“The 200 free relay and the 400 free relay are definitely two that we are more competitive in nationally,” Satterthwaite said. “Three- quarters of those teams are seniors so we have been at it for a couple of years and we really enjoy swimming together and making the most of our last season together.”
On the diving block the Crimson had successful meet as well, with divers junior Michael Mosca and senior Joe Zarrella finishing first and second in both the one and three meter events. From the one meter board Mosca won with 321.85 points, followed by Zarrella who scored a 319.70. In the three meter event Mosca clinched it with 351.80 points and Zarrella recorded 343.80.
Several pool records were broken by Harvard throughout the weekend, including a 1:43.43 finish by freshman Jack Manchester in the 200 backstroke. Ronda, a fellow freshman, also broke the pool record in the 200 breaststroke. Both swimmers earned B cut honors for their swims.
“It’s impressive that we were setting so many pool records and some meet records,” Lee said. “A lot of guys were going their best times or close to their best times which is great because it’s still the top end of the season for a lot of guys.”
Schumacher and Satterthwaite combined for a one-two punch in the finish of the 100 yard freestyle, with respective times of 44.04 and 44.27. Luna contributed to the team’s winning ways with a first place victory in the 200 yard butterfly, touching the wall at 1:46.46.
Even though this was a solid with for the Crimson, Satterthwaite said, the team must look forward to future competition.
“This definitely gives us confidence for the rest of the season,” Satterthwaite said. “In the past we have won this meet and we’ve competed for the Ivy League Championship in previous years. This is reassuring going into Ivies but by no means does it say we are going to win.”
—Staff writer Ariel Smolik-Valles can be reached at email@example.com.
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