Harvard Women Rip Kansas, Houston

LAWRENCE, Kansas, December 4, BREAK up the Crimson!

Harvard women's coach Stephanie Wriede's Crimson ladies ran their dual-meet record to a 6-0 here this evening with double dual-meet victories over host Kansas and Houston.

Harvard women won five of the nine events contested this evening on Day 2 of the competition, leading the Crimson to comfortable wins against both schools. Harvard was a 194.5-157.5 winner against Kansas and an overwhelming 287-63 winner against Houston.

Harvard has been taking it on the chin lately from Coach Susan Teeter's Princeton Lady Tigers, who have had a lock on the Ivy League Championship since the late 1990s. But all that may well change this year as the Crimson has a "secret weapon" in sophomore Noelle Bassi of Franklin Lakes, N.J.

Bassi won a United States Swimming national title in the 200m fly last February at Orlando in 2:09.79, fourth-fastest American this year and a pr by several seconds.

Against Kansas' Jayhawks and Houston's Cougars, Bassi was a busy young lady, winning four races, including both IMs (200, 2:07.08; 400, 4:25.63); the 500 free (4:56.79) and the 200 fly (Crimson record 1:59.79).

If Bassi can get down to the 1:53-54 range in the fly come NCAAs next March, she could give Georgia's defending champ Mary DeScenza an interesting battle for the gold, not to mention Stanford's Dana Kirk, who made the Olympics in this race.

And why not? DeScenza's pr in the 200 meter fly is 2:08.38 from last year's World Championships while Kirk's is 2:08.86 from the Trials. Bassi won at Orlando in 2:10.96 but she wasn't rested or tapered, merely using the meet as preparation for the Olympic Trials five months hence.

Bassi also broke the Jayhawk pool record in the longer IM and led a 1-2 Harvard finish, with sophomore Stacy Blondin (Carlsbad, Calif.) placing second.

Freshman Lindsay Hart (Walnut Creek, Calif.) came up with Harvard's second individual win Saturday as she took the 200 backstroke in 2:02.21. Freshman Jaclyn Pangilinian (Clifton, N.J.) followed by leading a 1-2 finish in the 200 breaststroke, as Pangilinian touched in 2:18.32 to edge sophomore LeeAnn Chang (Bethesda, Md.), who finished in 2:18.77.

Harvard capped the meet by flirting with the school record in the 200 freestyle relay. The Crimson won the event in 1:34.96, less than a second off the school record time of 1:34.05.

Harvard's dual meet schedule continues next Saturday as the Crimson hosts Penn Dec. 11 at Blodgett Pool.

In the nearly quarter-century of women's NCAAs, there has been only one Ivy League champion, Columbia's Cristina Teuscher — an Atlanta and Sydney Olympian — who has also been a national collegiate champion. Teuscher won the 500 free at the '98 NCAAs in Minneapolis with her 4:35.45, just a second off former Stanford star Janet Evans' American/NCAA-record 4:34.39 from eight years earlier. Teuscher also went a 4:05.62 400 IM for her second gold, ranking her fifth and sixth on the all-time performers-performances lists.

The last male Ivy Leaguer (the men's meet is called the EISL Championships for Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League) to win an NCAA title was Harvard's David Berkoff, who set American/collegiate marks in the 100 backstroke in the late '80s and was silver-medalist in the 100 meter backstroke at Seoul. He also won a gold on the 400 medley relay.

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