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Men's Swimming and Diving Hands Columbia Its First Loss

By Leon K. Yang, Contributing Writer

This weekend, the Harvard men’s swimming and diving team (3-0, 3-0 Ivy) continued its dominance in conference play, besting Columbia (4-1, 2-1), 192-107, at Uris Pool in New York, N.Y. and smashing five pool records along the way.

“Everyone was pumped up, especially our freshman class because this was their first travel meet to begin with, and they swam really well,” sophomore Raphael Marcoux said. “We got there late at night, slept in the hotel, and in the morning, everyone was really rested—unlike other meets, where we just come in straight from the bus to the pool.”

The Lions came strong out of the gate, edging out the Crimson in a tightly-contested 200-yard medley relay. Columbia’s cohort of sophomore Cole Stevens, senior Jace Ng, senior Kevin Frifeldt, and freshman anchor Albert Gwo finished with a time of 1:28.40, 10 hundredths of a second faster than Harvard’s relay lineup.

“They came up with really strong performances, especially in their relays,” Marcoux said. “We were a bit concerned because we had a couple of guys that were injured. It definitely was a tougher meet to swim than against Cornell or Dartmouth. They were definitely the second strongest team in the Ivy League in terms of dual meet season, so they definitely came together for that, and we did as well.”

However, the Crimson would quickly regain the momentum in the 1000-yard freestyle. Junior Logan Houck broke the pool record with a swift 9:02.30, including a 25.74 in his last 50. Houck won the 1000-yard last weekend against Cornell and Dartmouth with a time of 9:05.77.

“I had walked onto the pool deck for warm-up … and saw that the record was a 9:06, so I knew if I had a good race, had swam it like last weekend, that I could have gotten that record,” Houck said. “I negatively split the race, but came back faster than I really thought possible at this time of the season and with just how tired I’ve been.”

In the 200-yard freestyle, junior Brennan Novak set another new pool-best mark, finishing in 1:37.47. Novak also took the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:24.47.

Sophomore Dean Farris followed with two pool records of his own in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard freestyle, touching the wall with times of 47.41 and 43.44, respectively. The Atlanta, Ga. native finished more than two seconds ahead of the second-place finisher in both events.

Harvard’s final pool record of the day came in the 200-yard freestyle relay, in which Farris and seniors Ed Kim, Steven Tan, and Paul O’Hara touched the wall in a time of 1:19.79, finishing almost three seconds in front of Columbia’s A squad.

In diving, Lions freshman Jonathan Suckow took both the one-meter and three-meter events, ending up with 422.78 and 357.45 points, respectively. Crimson diver and captain Bobby Ross finished second in both events.

“There are certainly some things that I can improve on, so there are a few good takeaways,” Ross said. “At this point in the season for diving, you’re really just looking to really get the start of your dives really right, really mastering those, and then putting the finishing touches by the end of the season.”

Senior Koya Osada also had several strong performances, capturing first in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:49.78 to edge out freshman Michael Zarian, who finished just under a second behind the senior. Osada would win the 200-yard backstroke as wall, touching the wall in 1:46.94. Overall, the Crimson took nine of 16 events in the meet.

The team’s freshmen played a crucial role in the win, and the first-years are showing signs of integrating themselves well into the program while performing at a high level in the pool. Their contributions have helped set high expectations for this season.

“One of the guys had previously said that this is a special team this year, and I couldn’t agree more,” Houck said. “We think that by the end of the season, not only will we be a force to be reckoned with at the Ivy League level, but at the national NCAA level.”

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