One doesn’t normally associate hat tricks with swimming and diving, but the Harvard women’s swimming and diving scored a rare three-peat, winning the HYP meet for the third year in a row. The victory over Yale and Princeton at the Robert J.H. Kiphuth Exhibition Pool marks the end of Ivy League competition for the Crimson this season.
Harvard started off strong on Saturday, winning seven of nine events, and its success bled into Sunday, when it continued to outpace its competitors.
“We started out going in with a really good attitude,” said junior co-captain Deirdre Clute. “We had a great team meeting about how we were going to fight no matter what and stick to what we know we do well which is have fun and just fight to the end.”
The Crimson victories began with the three-meter dive, where freshman Elina Leiviska and junior Schuyer Moore’s took first and second place, respectively. Both also placed in the one-meter dive Sunday morning, taking second and sixth place, with senior teammate Alex Stanton finishing fourth.
Harvard’s 200 medley relay teams placed first and third Saturday evening. The first group of swimmers included sophomore Danielle Lee, senior Sara Li, sophomore Kendall Crawford, and freshman Victoria Chan, who touched the wall at 1:43.12.
“There’s no better feeling than winning a relay,” said Clute, who swam in the second relay foursome. “First of all you’re watching as the race progresses and you’re cheering on your teammates which is always so exciting.”
The Crimson swept the podium at the 200 free, led by Chan. The freshman was closely followed by sophomore Margaret Ramsey, classmate Daniela Johnson and junior Sarah Sumner, who came in second, third and fourth.
“What we’ve really focused on is making sure that every person plays their role and pulls their weight,” Clute said. “It’s cool to see that in situations like this, maybe we don’t have one stand out, but we have four people that are going to get in the race and race their hearts out.”
Lee finished the 100-backstroke in first place at 54.42, just ahead of freshman Marissa Cominelli and Crawford, who placed third and fourth. In other action, junior Stephanie Ferrell placed first in the 100 breaststroke, and junior co-captain Danielle Schulkin finished third in the 200 butterfly.
Strong performances from underclassmen, Clute said, have given the team the physical spark Harvard used to its advantage this weekend. They have improved morale on the team throughout the season, according to Clute, bringing a sense of energy and enthusiasm to the pool.
“We have amazingly talented freshmen and sophomores across the board, but really it’s just great attitude that helps the team the most,” Clute said. “They come into every meet, and their excitement is just so tangible that it spreads to the rest of the team. I think that, paired with the wisdom and maturity of the upperclassmen make a great duo when it comes to big, stressful meets like this.”
On Sunday, Harvard controlled Yale’s pool as well. Lee once again took first in the 200 backstroke at 1:58.19, giving her three first-place finishes in the meet. Ferrell won the 200 breaststroke at 2:19.51, and sophomore Sherry Liu took first in the 500 freestyle.
Harvard ended the weekend taking first in the 400 freestyle relay, with the foursome of Chan, Sumner, Johnson and Li, a group who all brought home additional victories throughout the meet.
“I’m totally biased but I think we definitely have the most spirit on pool deck, and as captain that makes me so proud,” Schulkin said. “It’s just a fun team to be on, and when you’re having fun you’re going to swim fast. It makes the sport and it makes being on the team more meaningful in a lot of ways.”
Next weekend, part of the team will compete at the Virginia Tech Invitational in Blacksburg, while the remaining swimmers and divers will rest in preparation for the Ivy League Championship on Feb. 20.
“I think we’re going to see a ton of really fast times [at Ivies],” Schulkin said. “This weekend we were going pretty fast, but we definitely have the ability to go extremely fast, and I think that is about to come. I’m not going to make any predictions because I want us to go in with a fighter’s attitude and the underdog’s attitude.
—Staff writer Orlea L. Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Women's Swimming Beats Brown at BlodgettThe women of the Harvard team (3-1, 3-1 Ivy) defeated the Bears (4-1, 0-1), 202-98. The win marks the Crimson’s 11th consecutive win against Brown.