EAST MEADOW, New York, February 28. THE No. 25 Harvard women's swimming and diving team won four event championships and set or matched school records in five events Friday at the Ivy League Championships at Nassau County Aquatic Center, building its lead to more than 200 points with one day of competition remaining.
Junior Alexandra Clarke and sophomore Kate Mills each contributed to two Ivy titles and two school records, while sophomore Katy Hinkle also earned an Ivy League championship and a record of her own. The Crimson finished the day with 1,068 points, 203 more than second-place Princeton. Harvard is nearly 400 points up on third-place Yale (675).
Clarke led a dominant Harvard performance in the 1,000-yard freestyle, while Mills twice broke the school record on the way to the 500 free title and Hinkle took the 100 backstroke. Junior Sophie Morgan had a record-tying runner-up finish in the 100 butterfly. Clarke, sophomore Katherine Pickard, freshman Catherine Zagroba and Mills finished the evening by shattering the Harvard record in the 800 free relay.
The day started with the sorting out of Thursday night's relay situation. The 200 free relay disqualifications were upheld after it was ruled that the timing system was functioning properly, and the 400 medley relay results were upheld, with Princeton winning and Harvard placing third. The Tigers started the finals session with another big win, in the 200 medley relay, with the Crimson squad of Hinkle, freshman Helen Pitchik, Morgan and sophomore Ali Slack placing third in 1:43.49.
However, things would quickly—and decisively—turn Harvard's way. Clarke knocked more than six seconds off her own school record to finish the 1,000 free in 9:43.09, leading a Crimson sweep of the top three places in the event. Sophomore Christine Kaufmann and junior Katie Faulkner followed, while rookie Kristi Korsberg took fifth place. The Ivy title was Clarke's second as an individual and Harvard's first in the event.
The Crimson's other huge highlight of the night came in the last race. Harvard won its first 800 free relay title in 21 years, smashing the previous school record with a time of 7:13.71, provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Championships and securing itself in the driver's seat heading into Saturday.
There were plenty of other highlights in between the bookending team performances. One event after taking four of the top five spots in the 1,000, Harvard claimed four of the top six in the 400 individual medley. Pickard led the way with a second-place time of 4:19.81 and was joined in the top three by senior Linnea Sundberg. Junior Kay Foley and Korsberg placed fifth and sixth, respectively, while freshman Margaret Fish won the B final. Princeton's Alicia Aemisegger finished first.
Morgan and Slack earned A-final berths in the 100 fly, and Morgan touched the wall in a second-place time of 55.04 seconds, matching the school record set by Mills earlier this season at the Georgia Invitational. Slack placed fifth in 56.24. Allison Hobbs of Columbia had the winning time of 54.92.
Harvard again dominated in the 200 free. Mills swam a school-record time of 1:46.55 in her preliminary heat before slashing another 16 one-hundredths of a second off that mark in the final. Zagroba was third, while sophomore Laura Murray placed fourth. Pitchik and fellow rookie Victoria Pratt then made the top final in the 100 breaststroke, placing sixth and eighth, respectively, behind winner Susan Kim of Yale.
Hinkle notched the second individual Ivy title of her career in the 100 back. She set a new Harvard standard with her prelim time of 55.23 seconds, before edging Princeton's Megan Waters by 0.01 with her final mark of 55.50. Freshman teammate Meghan Leddy took third.
In the three-meter diving prelims, freshman Leslie Rea made her second A final in as many days with 240.60 points, while sophomore Marissa Ash was just 0.55 points back and will look to take first in the B final. The three-meter finals are Saturday.
Penn finished the day in fourth place with 621 points, followed by Columbia (571.5), Brown (466.5), Dartmouth (394) and Cornell (324). The Crimson looks to wrap up its ninth Ivy title Saturday. Preliminary heats are at 11 a.m., and finals are at 6 p.m
Special thanks to Harvard for contributing this report.