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For the ninth time this season, an opponent threatened to blemish the Harvard men’s swimming and diving team’s perfect record. For the ninth time, the Crimson emerged unscathed.
No. 21 Harvard easily dispatched Boston College, 179-112, at Blodgett Pool on Saturday to keep its undefeated streak alive, snapping the Eagles’ (10-3) run of eight consecutive wins. The victory marks the third time in as many years that the Crimson (9-0, 5-0 Ivy League) has reached nine wins in a regular season.
Harvard rode a team-wide effort to secure the result, taking the top spot in every event en route to the victory. In the end, 12 different Crimson swimmers clocked winning times.
“This meet gave us all confidence that our hard work this season is paying off,” junior Koya Osada said. “Our legs are stronger, the endurance is there, and we realize that the bulk of our season is now behind us. More than anything, we're just excited to see how fast we can go this championship season and hopefully bring the Ivy League title back to Harvard.”
Harvard continued its run of strong performances in relay events, kicking off the meet by taking the top two spots in the 200 medley relay. Osada and junior Shane McNamara, senior Max Yakubovich, and sophomore Sebastian Lutz made up the winning lineup. Less than a second separated the Crimson ‘A’ squad from juniors Steven Tan and Luke Morgan-Scott, co-captain Eric Ronda, and freshman Raphael Marcoux, who beat out the top BC entry by nearly four seconds to take second place.
A number of the relay athletes would go on to add solo wins as well, beginning with Ronda, who picked up a victory in the 100 breaststroke. Lutz was close behind in second.
Marcoux collected an individual victory as part of a Harvard podium sweep in the 100 freestyle as well. The freshman touched the wall first in a time of 46.29, with sophomore Brennan Novak finishing second and senior Aly Abdel Khalik rounding out the top three.
Osada also swam to a win as the Crimson’s lone representative in the 200 backstroke. The Chapel Hill, N.C. native outpaced the second-place swimmer by almost 10 seconds.
In a meet that showcased Harvard’s depth, a number of athletes who did not compete in the top two relay lineups for the day raced to victory elsewhere.
Freshman Dean Farris and junior Ed Kim each picked up a pair of solo wins. The first-year beat out second-place Tan to claim victory in the 100 backstroke before adding a second win in the 500 freestyle.
Kim also edged out Tan in the 50 freestyle. Kim touched the wall first in 20.54, with his classmate less than three-tenths of a second back in second place.
“As we approach our championship meets, every opportunity we have to race is another chance to work on the small details that become crucial when we're talking about improving tenths and hundredths of a second in an event,” Osada said.
Kim would later contribute to the Crimson’s second podium sweep of the meet in the 100 butterfly. The Sammamish, Wash. native ended up first, as Morgan-Scott and Lutz finished in second and third places, respectively.
Sophomore Daniel Tran chipped in a win as well to add to Harvard’s margin of victory, taking top marks in the 1000 freestyle. Junior Jack Boyd was third in the race.
The Crimson’s efforts were also bolstered by victories in three 200-yard events: the freestyle, butterfly, and breaststroke. It was Novak who led the way in the 200 freestyle, with freshman Daniel Chang not far behind in second place.
Senior Christian Carbone claimed the top spot in the 200 butterfly in a time of 1:49.87. The West Des Moines, Iowa native finished more than four seconds ahead of the second-place finisher from BC.
Sophomore Alan Lam ended up in first in the 200 breast to complete the run of commanding Harvard performances. Co-captain Mitchell Foster took second place.
The Crimson dominated on the boards as well, as Harvard divers took the top two places in the three-meter event. Junior David Pfeiffer’s score of 337.43 earned him top marks, while classmate Bobby Ross finished second. The duo repeated the feat in an exhibition round of the one-meter dive, with Pfeiffer posting the top score and Ross earning the second-best mark.
The win will see Harvard enter its final regular meet of the season with a perfect record to defend and some momentum to its name.
“Everyone stepped up at this meet and performed well despite the fact that most of us didn't swim our best events,” Abdel Khalik said. “We have been able to keep the ball rolling all season long and so we are excited to see what we can do against Yale in two weeks.”
—Staff writer Sam O.M. Christenfeld can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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