Fresh off a winter training trip to Hawaii and in its first meet of the new year, the Harvard men’s swimming and diving team (4-0, 3-0 Ivy) maintained its perfect dual meet record with a close 155-143 upset victory at No. 10 Arizona State (2-2, 1-1 Pac-12).
“We knew that ASU was ranked top 10 in the nation,” junior Logan Houck said. “We are a top 25 team, ranked about 25th, and we were obviously a little nervous, but optimistic because we were coming off a great training trip in Hawaii, so we knew we were in really good shape and we knew we had a really good chance to give these guys a good meet and to really race hard.”
The Crimson swam strongly from the outset, edging out the Sun Devils in the 200-yard medley relay. Harvard’s unit of sophomore Dean Harris, junior Sebastian Lutz, senior Steven Tan, and graduated senior Paul O’Hara finished in a time of 1:28.64, beating out Arizona State’s A relay, which finished in 1:29.12.
Juniors Brennan Novak and Houck continued the Crimson’s momentum with first and second place finishes in the 1000-yard freestyle. Novak maintained 50s in the low 27s on his way to a 9:03.25 finish; Houck touched the wall in 9:10.66.
“We have a really strong distance group here at Harvard and a really great training group,” Novak said. “We’re all pretty dog-tired, and we knew it was going to be tough to race through the pain, but we knew that we wanted this win, and we knew we had to edge out some of their swimmers. After a really tough 10 days of training, we have a lot confidence and a lot of faith in the process.”
Sophomore Dean Farris took first in the 200-yard freestyle by almost two seconds with a time of 1:36.72. However, the Sun Devils took the next two events, the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard breaststroke, both with first and second place finishes. Sophomore Zach Poti finished in 47.82 for the 100-yard backstroke and senior Christian Lorenz finished in 54.94 in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Harvard rebounded in the 200-yard fly; freshman Michael Zarian finished almost 2 seconds in front of Arizona State freshman Dylan Boyd in a time of 1:50.15. The Crimson then dominated the 50-yard freestyle with a sweep of the top three places. Tan emerged victorious with a time of 20.26, and senior Ed Kim and O’Hara finished with times of 20.58 and 20.64 respectively.
Farris continued his winning ways in the 100-yard freestyle, finishing with a time of 43.96 to beat Arizona State sophomore Cameron Craig’s 44.34 mark. Poti of the Sun Devils added another victory himself in the 200-yard backstroke, in which he touched the wall in 1:45.29, more than two seconds faster than the rest of the field. Arizona State sophomore Ben Olszewski won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:26.68, while Tan went on to win the 100-yard fly in 47.64. Sun Devils freshman Grant House countered with his own win in the 200-yard individual medley, finishing in 1:47.97.
In diving, Sun Devils Youssef Selim won both the one meter and three meter diving events, with scores of 389.25 and 394.05, respectively.
In an exciting culmination of the meet, Harvard’s 400-yard freestyle relay of Kim, freshman Mahlon Reihman, Tan, and Farris edged out Arizona State by half a second in 2:58.20; Farris anchored the relay with a fast 42.91.
“When it came down to it, we were able to have enough in the tank to barely edge them out; it was only a 12-point win,” Houck said. “But we were extremely excited with that, and it means a lot for us and our confidence, I think, going into the last couple meets of the season and, of course, Ivy League Championships.”
Senior captain Bobby Ross expressed that the team’s rigorous two-a-day practice schedule in Hawaii paid dividends in terms of the team’s work ethic.
“Our coach said it pretty well before and after the meet,” Ross said. “He said, ‘You control your effort and you can control your attitude,’ and that’s basically what we did a really good job of. We really maintained a high attitude and really just maintained high effort.”
Ross added that the team should be confident but not too comfortable with their success.
“Momentum-wise, we’re trying to take this win and not make us complacent, but [make us more] confident moving forward through the season, so just [believing] in ourselves as a team that can beat a top-10 team in the country,” Ross said.
—Staff writer Leon K. Yang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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