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Seven Harvard Records Eclipsed During Women's Swimming and Diving's Trip to Georgia

Courtney Otto broke the Harvard school record in the 200-yard individual medley Friday (Kevin Burns). 

ATHENS, Ga. – The Harvard women's swimming and diving team ended a successful trip to Georgia with four more NCAA 'B' qualifying times and another school record at the UGA Fall Invitational Sunday. Danielle Lee, Kendall Crawford, Courtney Otto and Ana Anaya all swam times within the provisional standard for the NCAA meet, while Sara Li broke a four-year old team record. Overall, Harvard set seven program marks in the Peach State.

"It was a very successful trip to Georgia, with seven school records being set. More than all the fast times though, the group came together as a team," said Stephanie Wriede Morawski, The Costin Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Swimming & Diving. "Being on the road and learning how to trust, support and believe in one another is very important for the end of the season. While individuals will reset personal goals, as a team, we have swum against the best and that makes this team tougher and more well prepared to handle the pressures in the Ivy League." 

Kelsey Hojan-Clark and Sherry Liu started the Crimson's day with a close finish in the 1650-yard freestyle. Hojan-Clark (16:49.86), a sophomore, clipped Liu (16:52.25), a freshman, by less than three seconds for 12th place. Liu was right behind in 13th.

Lee, Crawford and Caroline Weaver all earned trips to the 200-yard back finals. Weaver was under 2:00 for the first time in her career at 1:59.83 in the prelims and Lee and Crawford were sent to the 'B' finals. Lee won the second final in 1:56.11, a 'B' cut qualifier, and Crawford was .05 behind for 10th and another 'B' cut time.

Li gained a second swim in the 100 free after clocking in at 50.33 in the prelims, before later breaking Harvard's event record. She topped the 'C' final to earn 17th place overall in the event.

A pair of Crimson swimmers improved vastly in the 200-yard breaststroke finals after earning second swims in the preliminaries. Stephanie Ferrell was 2.38 seconds ahead of her preliminary pace to earn a 2:15.34 time and place 12th overall, while Mackenzie Luick was 2.81 seconds quicker for a 2:18.30 finals time and 18th place.

Harvard's top finish of the day came from Otto in the 200-yard butterfly. The sophomore was third with an NCAA 'B' qualifying time of 1:56.24, after being seeded at No. 1 (1:57.25) and swimming with Olympians on each side of her in the final. Only two swimmers from Cal, who tied for first at 1:55.69, were ahead of Otto. The West Seneca, N.Y., native's mark was just .01 off of Kate Mills' Harvard record set in 2009.

Ana Anaya also earned a 'B' cut time of 1:59.38 in the 200 butterfly, good for 12th, while Connie Hsu (2:02.92) and Danielle Shulkin (2:03.30) gained second swims and placed 23rd and 24th, respectively.

The Crimson rounded out the three-day UGA Fall Invite with three groups in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Harvard's top team of Li, Crawford, Lee and Otto was 12th (3:22.96) and the second and third squads were 16th and 18th, respectively. Li set a new program record in the first leg of Harvard's 'A' swim. She surpassed Katherine Pickard's 2008 mark of 49.89, set at the 2008 Georgia Invitational, with a 49.77 split.

In Atlanta, the Crimson earned eight second swims at the Georgia Tech Invitational. Harvard had four individuals and one relay team make top ten times.

Marlee Ehrlich started the finals afternoon session with a fifth-place finish in the 1650 freestyle, before Deirdre Clute and Paige Newell each advanced to the finals of the 200 back. Clute was the Crimson's highest finish at Georgia Tech, placing fourth in 2:02.22. Newell was 17th in the final at 2:07.32.

Two Crimson also made trips to the finals in the 200 breaststroke and 200 butterfly. Clare Foster  (2:20.24) and Kyle Krueger (2:30.28) were seventh and 20th, respectively, in the breastroke, while Shori Hijikata (2:06.41) and Oriana Wang (2:07.34) finished sixth and 15th in the butterfly.

In the meet's last event, Margaret Ramsey, Ellie Johnson, Wang and Clute combined for a fifth-place showing in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The group exchanged to complete the event with a 3:33.06 mark.

Harvard is off from competition until Jan. 11 when the squad visits Miami (Fla.). 

New Harvard Records 

100 free Sara Li - 49.77
50 back Kendall Crawford - 25.4
100 back Kendall Crawford - 54.00
100 fly Ana Anaya - 53.98
200 IM Courtney Otto - 2:00.31
200 medley relay    Crawford, Luick, Anaya, Li - 1:41.16
400 medley relay Crawford, Luick, Anaya, Li - 3:38.86


Day Two, Saturday

Harvard broke four more school records at the Georgia Invitational in its second day of action in the Peach State. The Crimson is splitting up its squad, sending members of the squad to Atlanta for the Georgia Tech Invitational as well, for the final competition of the fall portion of the 2012-13 slate.

"We came here to challenge ourselves against the best in the country and that is exactly what we are doing. Racing these teams elevates everyones game," said Stephanie Wriede Morawski, The Costin Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Swimming & Diving, who was in Athens. "Not only are we swimming fast with six new team records to show for it, but, more importantly, they are learning from watching the other swimmers what they can do better. Whether it is focusing on starts, turns, underwater kicks, etc., everyone will have some skill to work on when we return to Boston that will help them get to the next level." 

Crimson assistant Chris Morgan, who was in Atlanta, commented, "We came to this meet with the primary goal of getting second swims, swimming in finals, and we have accomplished that goal. Though we have some great senior leadership, we are primarily a young team with five freshman swimming in their first collegiate invitational. This has been a perfect chance for them to see strong teams like Florida State and Alabama and race those teams at a competitive level."

Courtney Otto started the Crimson off with a strong showing in the 400 IM. Her time of 4:10.55 put her in 6th place and is well under the NCAA 'B' cut and just off of her school record which qualified her for NCAAs last year. Connie Hsu finished 21st with a 4:28.68.

The Crimson had a solid showing in the 100 butterfly event. Sophomore Ana Anaya set a new Harvard mark and made NCAA 'B' cut standards with a 53.98 in the preliminary before finishing sixth at 54.16 in the final. Kendall Crawford notched a 54.53 in the prelims, Danielle Lee came in at 55.11 and Danielle Schulkin was sixth in the 'C' finals at 56.43.

Sara Li swam a personal best in the 200 freestyle to place 17th and make 'B' cut. The junior covered the distance in 1:47.96 to top the 'C' final.

Stephanie Ferrell earned 15th in the 100-yard breastroke with a 1:02.85 to also narrowly miss her own program record (1:02.54). Mackenzie Luick also competed in the event and came in at 1:03.20 for 18th.

Harvard was strong in the 100-yard backstroke, as it has been all season. Kendall Crawford placed 11th in the final, clocking in at 54.20, while Danielle Lee placed 13th at 54.76. Caroline Weaver swam the 100 back in 55.65 to claim 21st place.

Crawford, Luick, Anaya and Li combined to touch the wall at 1:41.16 in the 200 medley and set a new school record. Lee, Ferrell, Schulkin and Faith Martin came in at 1:44.23. Lee set the Harvard 50 back record from the B relay (25.7), but Crawford edged it in the next heat by swimming the distance in 25.4.

In the 800-yard freestyle relay, the Crimson's top group of Lee, Li, Martin and Otto finished 10th with a 7:16, just off of where they finished the season last year. Liu, Kelsey Hojan-Clark, Hsu and Crawford put Harvard 'B' at 14th in 7:23.59.

On the diving boards, Alex Stanton and Brittany Powell made the top 16 of the preliminary round to advance to the finals. Stanton scored 243.35 and Powell put up a 238.35 to earn 13th and 16th, respectively.

Through 27 events at the Georgia Tech Invitational, the Crimson sits in sixth place with 257 points. Harvard's top scorer today was the 200-yard medley relay team of Deidre Clute, Ellie Johnson and Margaret Ramsey . The four claimed 38 points on a sixth-place finish (1:46.29).

Johnson also fared well individually, as her and Shori Hijikata earned trips to the 100-yard butterfly finals with 57.06 and 57.28 times, respectively, in the morning prelims. Johnson placed second in the 'B' final (56.56), while Hijikata came in fifth (57.58).

The split squad remains in Athens and Atlanta tomorrow for the culmination of the two meets.

Day One, Friday
The Harvard women's swimming and diving team broke three school records five times on the opening day of the UGA Fall Invite Friday, while the other half of the squad sits in fifth place at the Georgia Tech Fall Invitational.

The 100-yard backstroke record fell three times on the afternoon. Danielle Lee topped Kendall Crawford's mark before Crawford broke it twice to retake the top spot in program history. Her final top time of 54.00 came in the opening leg of the 400-yard individual medley relay, which also set a school and Ivy League record. Crawford teamed with Mackenzie Luick, Ana Anaya and Sara Li to finish eighth in the event with a time of 3:38.86.

Courtney Otto also established a new program mark in the 200-yard individual medley, swimming the event in 2:00.31 to place 13th.

Sherry Liu also had a good day for the Crimson, finishing in sixth place in the 1,650-yard freestyle (9:58.15) and 12th in the 500-yard freestyle (4:45.92).

In Atlanta, Harvard sits in fifth place with 123 points after a solid showing on the first day at Georgia Tech.

Harvard's 'A' team of Ellie Johnson, Oriana WangShori Hijikata and Carol Lin combined to place sixth in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:38.37) for the Crimson's top showing on the opening day of the three-day event.

Individually, Margaret Ramsey had the best finish for the Crimson, taking seventh in the 500-yard freestyle (4:55.51).