SwimSwam.com's Braden Keith wrote the following article Feb. 4, 2013. Click here to view the full release.
Three teams entered this weekend's HYP meet undefeated in the Ivy League, and only one emerged the same, as the Harvard women crushed Princeton 199-99 and Yale 209-89 in New Jersey on Friday and Saturday. Princeton won the third leg 197-103 over Yale.
The HYP movement pits the teams of the country's three most prestigious academic institutions together in swimming, with incarnations in other sports as well, and is huge rivalry in the academically-centric contest. The meet started on Friday evening with the women (only after classes are out for the day, per Ivy rules) and continued on to Saturday.
Harvard is a loaded this year, both in top-end talent and in-depth. They started the meet off by going 1-2 in the 200 medley relay, including a 1:40.36 in the 200 medley relay. That included a 22.27 from junior Sara Li on the freestyle anchor. Yale's "A" medley was DQ'ed, putting them in an early hole from which they couldn't recover, though they still had some solid swims.
But Li was the star of this meet, including individually winning the 100 free in 49.32 – breaking her own Harvard school record ahead of Yale's star Alex Forrester in 50.26. Li was 2nd in the 50 free in 22.52 on Friday, a new school record, behind Princeton's Lisa Boyce (22.44).
In addition to Li's record in the 50 was one of five school records on Friday, plus the 100 on Saturday. The first came in the aforementioned 200 medley relay. Other record-breaking swims included freshman Kendall Crawford in the 100 backstroke in 53.59. That beat another impressive freshman, Princeton's Sada Stewart in 54.46, and took out her own school record of 54.00. Crawford also dominated the 200 backstroke in 1:55.16.
Then, in a day-1 ending time trial, Crawford broke the 100 fly school record with a 53.79; that took down the 53.98 set by teammate Ana Anaya earlier this season. Crawford is ready to burst at the Ivy League Championships and could make some noise in Indy if she can hold on to her taper that long.
Crawford would have given a good push to Forrester, who is a contender for a medal at NCAA's in the 100 fly, in that individual event, but as things were Forrester won in 53.57. Anaya was 2nd in 54.27.
Then, in the 100 breaststroke, sophomore Stephanie Ferrell broke the 100 breaststroke record with a 1:02.57. She closed hard to put a small gap between herself and senior Mackenzie Luick (1:02.81). What's really exciting about the record-crushing that Harvard has done this year is how much youth they've gotten to do it with. Li is the oldest as a junior, but Ferrell and Anaya are sophomores and Crawford just a freshman.
Another member of that Harvard youth movement is sophomore Courtney Otto who this summer stunned by blowing through the first 100 of her 200 fly and finished 9th to just miss a finals swim. She won the same event in this meet in 1:58.11. That's not a School Record, but it is about two seconds faster than she was last season at this same meet.
The Princeton women ended the meet with a victory in the 400 free relay in 3:25.55. Boyce led them off in 51.8, and freshman Nikki Larson was a 50.55 on the third leg to put this race out of the reach of Harvard. That relay swim was Larson's best of the meet, by far, after placing 5th in the 100 fly in 55.43. The 100 fly is obviously one of her primary events, but she's bounced all-over-the-place this season to try and find her 2nd and 3rd, and this 100 free may be the answer to that question if she continues to swim that well.