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Men's Swimming and Diving Wins Season's Final Home Meet

The men’s swimming and diving team has not lost in a home meet since 2012.
The men’s swimming and diving team has not lost in a home meet since 2012. By Timothy R. O'Meara
By Sam O.M. Christenfeld, Crimson Staff Writer

Saturday’s meet had a double significance for the No. 21 Harvard men’s swimming and diving team. Taking place at the Crimson’s Blodgett Pool, the competition offered Harvard the chance to complete a sixth-straight season undefeated at home in dual meets. Entering the matchup, the Crimson hadn’t been beaten in Cambridge during the regular season since a 2012 loss to Princeton.

In addition, as the final home meet of the campaign, this weekend’s meet provided an opportunity for the team’s 10 seniors to close out their careers at Blodgett with a win.

In the end, Harvard met both goals with ease. The Crimson (7-0, 4-0 Ivy) took on Bryant (6-2, 1-1 MAAC) and Rider (5-3, 3-0 MAAC) on senior night and downed its opponents, 218-81 and 223-76, respectively. The victory sees the Crimson remain undefeated not just at home, but across all dual meets this season.

“The team did really well today,” sophomore Raphael Marcoux said. “It's always a challenge to get up and race after training through J-term, but despite that obstacle everyone managed to swim fast.”

The win was a fitting send-off for a group of seniors that has never lost at Blodgett and has dropped just one out of the 35 regular-season races it has contested so far. Indeed, it was performances from Harvard’s most experienced athletes that highlighted the competition.

The Crimson kicked the matchup off with a victory from an all-senior lineup in the 200-yard medley relay. Koya Osada, Paul O’Hara, co-captain Luke Morgan Scott, and Ed Kim took top marks in the event with a time of 1:30.72. Finishing just over a tenth of a second behind the winning A squad, the B entry of senior Steven Tan, juniors Sebastian Lutz and Alan Lam, and Marcoux ended up in second place.

Harvard would also close out the contest with a relay victory from a lineup of seniors. Morgan-Scott, O’Hara, Tan, and Kent Haeffner touched the wall first in the 400-yard freestyle relay. A much younger squad consisting of freshmen Levente Bathory, Mahlon Reihman, and Eric Whisenant and junior Daniel Tran finished in second, four seconds ahead of the third-place lineup from Rider.

With the meet bookended by victories, the Crimson’s seniors delivered a number of strong performances throughout the competition. In the second race of the day, the 1000-yard freestyle, Haeffner picked up a second-place result, touching the wall behind junior Brennan Novak and just ahead of sophomore Daniel Chang in third. Chang beat out the fourth-place finisher from Rider by more than 30 seconds.

Osada also collected a solo podium finish, ending up in third in the 200 freestyle. Sophomore Dean Farris took top honors in the event with a time of 1:35.11. Farris would pick up another individual victory in the 200-yard backstroke, topping the second-place swimmer from Rider by nearly seven seconds.

Elsewhere, Morgan-Scott matched Osada’s effort, also taking third in the 100 free, less than half a second behind Chang, who touched the wall second. The co-captain finished in fourth in the 100-yard butterfly as well. Sophomore Kevin Dai ended up in third in the event, outpaced by less than three seconds by race-winner Marcoux.

“My best performance of the meet was definitely the 100 butterfly,” Marcoux said. “A big challenge for me this season has been figuring out what my third event will be at Ivies, the other two being the 50 and 100 freestyle, and after that race I'm pretty confident it will be the 100 butterfly.”

Tan also added a third-place result to the seniors’ collection on the day, finishing in bronze position in the 200-yard IM. Tran won the event and beat out the second-place finisher from Rider by nearly four seconds.

The Crimson veterans’ strong performances in the pool were more than matched on the boards. Co-captain Bobby Ross won both the one-meter and three-meter dives by commanding margins, posting scores of 332.55 and 376.50 in the events, respectively. Senior David Pfeifer was close behind Ross, collecting a second-place result in the three-meter and a third-place mark in the one-meter. Freshman Austin Fields rounded out the Harvard podium sweep in both events. The rookie traded places with Pfeifer, finishing second in the one-meter and third in the three-meter.

As in the diving events, the Crimson’s seniors had some help throughout the meet from the team’s younger members.

Junior Logan Houck racked up a pair of solo wins in the 200-yard butterfly and 500 freestyle. The Harvard rookie duo of freshmen Michael Zarian and Miles McAllister took the next two spots in the 500 free, with Zarian nine seconds behind Houck and McAllister 13 seconds back from his classmate.

Zarian also contributed to an impressive showing from the team’s first-years in the 100-yard backstroke. Whisenant won the event with a mark of 49.80 seconds, and Bathory was close behind in third place, with Zarian taking fourth.

Reihman got in on the solo success as well, finishing with the third-best time in the 50-yard freestyle, a mere two-hundredths of a second behind Rider senior Zachary Molloy in second. Lutz touched the wall ahead of Molloy to win the event.

Lutz would also go on to claim second-place honors in the 200 breaststroke, outpacing third-place Lam by three-tenths of a second. Dai mirrored Lutz’s effort in the 100-yard iteration, finishing in second place.

With another win to its name, the Crimson will turn its attention to the championship portion of its season. The team will battle for the regular-season Ivy League dual title when it takes on Yale and Princeton, the only other program still undefeated in the Ancient Eight.

“I think our team as a whole did very well [against Bryant and Rider], considering many of us are still in the height of our season,” Dai said. “We demonstrated in this meet that we can swim well in any circumstances, in any events, and that puts us in a great position both mentally and physically for HYP and Ivies.”

—Staff writer Sam O.M. Christenfeld can be reached at sam.christenfeld@thecrimson.com.

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Men's Swimming