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.
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