Two Titles On the Line for Women's Swimming and Diving This Weekend

The Particulars
The Harvard women's swimming and diving team will vie for two separate championships this weekend as it competes in the ECAC Championships in Pittsburgh, Pa., and the Ivy League Championships in Princeton, N.J. The Ivy Championships will take place Thursday through Saturday while the ECACs run Friday through Sunday.

The Ivy Championships
The Ivy League women's swimming and diving championships were first contested in 1977 with Princeton taking the inaugural meet title. A league meet determined the champion from 1977-1982 and has determined the Ancient Eight title since 1997, but from 1983-1996, the league crown was determined by regular season competition. The Tigers lead all participating schools with 17 team titles, followed by Brown (seven), Harvard (six), and Yale (one). Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth and Penn have yet to capture a league title. Harvard and Princeton have combined to capture the last 11 Ivy titles.

Last season, the Crimson finished just on the heels of champion Princeton at Blodgett Pool, as the Tigers totaled 1,465 points to the Crimson's 1,438. Alexandra Clarke '10 recorded Harvard's lone win over the three days of competition, capturing the 1,000-yard freestyle event. Harvard swimmers tallied a slew of second-place finishes in the meet, led by Kate Mills' runner-up placements in the 200 free, 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley and as part of the 800 free relay squad. Katherine Pickard also placed second in the 400 IM and as part of the 200 and 800 free relay teams.

The ECAC Championships
Harvard will also be sending a crew of swimmers to the ECAC Championships in Pittsburgh, Pa., this weekend. In 2009, the Crimson totaled the most points in the 26-team field, topping second place Rider by 24 points to capture the victory. Harvard will be looking for its third title in five years as it captured the 2007 crown as well.

Last season, the Crimson placed second at the meet, totaling 492 points, just behind champion Marist's 503.5 and ahead of Rider (391.5), Colgate (366) and Pittsburgh (308.5). Harvard began the meet with a win in the 200 free relay and placed four swimmers in the top five of the 200 IM. Holly Furman went on to earn some key points for the Crimson with a second-place finish in the 200 free and a fifth-place result in the 100 free.

Last Time In Action
Harvard wrapped up its regular season schedule at the annual HYP meet, taking down Yale, 217-83, and falling to Princeton, 207-93, Jan. 28 in New Haven, Conn.

Harvard started off strong, taking the second, third and fourth spots in the three-meter diving competition, led by veteran Jenny Reese, who was just .40 points off the winning total. Kate Mills took third in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:51.01 and followed with a second-place finish in the 200 butterfly with a 2:01.00 mark. Meghan Leddy notched a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke in 56.50 and Katy Hinkle and Jenna Gregoire finished 2-3 in the 50 free with times of 23.42 and 23.85, respectively.

Leslie Rea led the one-meter divers for Harvard, taking second with a total of 253.10 points. Leddy added a second-place finish to her day in the 200 back, turning in a time of 2:00.78 and Mills recorded another top-three time with a third-place finish in the 500 free in 4:55.28. The Crimson wrapped up the meet in fine style, taking the top three times in the 200 individual medley, led by Sara Li's mark of 2:04.99. The final event of the meet also belonged to Harvard as Hinkle, Mills, Gregoire and Ali Slack teamed for a win in the 400 free relay in 3:24.45.

Mid-Major Rankings
The Crimson enters the 2011 ECAC and Ivy League Championships as the No. 3 team in the nation, according to the CSCAA Mid-Major Division I Poll. Miami-Ohio is the top-ranked team in the poll with 259.6 points and is followed closely by Princeton (256.7) and Harvard (252.1). Fellow Ivy League school Dartmouth is also represented in the poll at the No. 12 position, totaling 235.9 points.