With its undefeated record on the line, the Harvard women’s swimming and diving team rose to the challenge, sweeping aside a pair of Ivy League rivals to stay perfect and keep its first-place spot in the Ancient Eight.
In the team’s lone home meet of the season, the Crimson (5-0, 5-0 Ivy) overcame Brown (1-5, 0-5), 174.5-125.5, and downed University of Pennsylvania (6-3, 4-3), 192-108, this weekend.
“The meet went very well,” co-captain Margaret Ramsey said. “Coming back from a hard training trip, the team looked strong in the water and on the boards. We reach our peak training during this month and [we are happy] to have performed like we did after many difficult practices.”
Harvard’s success came from strong performances across the team, as six different Crimson swimmers came away with wins.
Junior Willa Wang notched Harvard’s first victory, taking first in the 1000-meter free in 10:11.89. Wang beat out Penn’s Carolyn Yang by just over a second, and sophomore Regan Kology took third place, less than half a second behind.
The result was quickly matched when junior Victoria Chan won the 200-meter free, closely followed by freshman teammate Sonia Wang. Wang got a victory of her own later in the day, winning the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 1:59.96.
The Crimson’s strong showing continued, as Harvard swimmers went on to sweep the podium in the 100 back, with senior Danielle Lee, sophomore Kristina Li, and junior Marissa Cominelli taking first, second, and third, respectively.
The result was not the Crimson’s only sweep of the day in the pool. Harvard put in a commanding performance in the 200-meter back to finish 1-2-3 once more, as senior Kendall Crawford took top honors, followed by Li and sophomore Geordie Enoch.
Junior Daniela Johnson would go on to pick up the Crimson’s final win of the meet in the 200 IM. The Miami, Fla. native touched the wall first with a time of 2:05.35, a little over a second ahead of Carter Orth of Penn.
Harvard proved its depth with a number of podium finishes in the relay events as well.
Crimson swimmers took second and third in the first event of the day, the 200-meter medley relay, as the Harvard A team of Lee, Enoch, Chan, and freshman Brittany Usinger edged out the B squad of Crawford, Johnson, freshman Megan Popp, and Sophomore Gabby Sims.
The Crimson also finished the day with a second-place result in the 400 freestyle relay, with Brown’s A team edging out Sonia Wang, Chan, Sims, and freshman Holly Christensen.
Harvard shone on the diving boards as well, taking the top three spots in the three-meter and sweeping the top four in the one-meter event.
Sophomore Hannah Allchurch dominated on the day and came away with wins in both events. Her score of 302.65 easily earned her top marks in the three-meter event, placing her ahead of junior Elina Leiviska in second and freshman Katie Russ in third place. Allchurch also paced the Crimson in the one-meter, with freshman Mikaela Thompson, sophomore Alisha Mah, and Leiviska finishing 2-3-4 in the event.
The competition was the last home meet for Harvard’s seven seniors – Ramsey, Lee, Crawford, Daniela Suarez-Rebling, Shori Hijikata, Sherry Liu, and Marlee Ehrlich - and the team honored the group of veterans for their contributions to the team.
“[We saw] great leadership and races from our seniors,” said Harvard coach Stephanie Wriede Morawski ’92. “This was their Senior Recognition meet, and we dedicated it to them for their leadership, compassion, devotion and friendship over the years.”
As the team enters the back end of the season, with a final dual meet against Princeton and Yale looming and championship tournaments approaching, this weekend’s result is an encouraging one.
“I think this result definitely gives us momentum going into HYP and Ivies,” Enoch said. “It was nice to get confidence from the wins today, because Yale and Princeton are very strong teams and they will definitely push us during the end of the season meets. But even though we're excited about today's wins, we're not comfortable by any means, and we've got a few more weeks of hard work to put in before the season's done.”