PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Harvard men's swimming and diving team increased its lead on Thursday at the Ivy League Championships. The Crimson, which led by 20 points after Wednesday's action, now leads by 141.50 points going into the third day of the four-day Ivy meet.
Through seven events, Harvard has earned 525.50 points, easily outdistancing second-place Penn (384 points) and third-place Princeton (372). Yale rounds out the top half of the standings with 342.5 points and is followed by Columbia (342), Brown (291.50), Cornell (234) and Dartmouth (187.50).
Brennan Novak got Harvard off to a great start in both the preliminary and finals sessions by winning the 500-yard freestyle relay. The senior earned a spot in the championship race after finishing in 4:13.44, which was an NCAA B-standard, a season best and a performance that was 0.10 shy of tying his own school record. Later in the final, Novak became the sixth three-time Ivy champion in the event with a victorious time of 4:15.96, which nearly three seconds better than second-place Will Thomas of Penn (4:18.72).
The 200-yard individual medley featured a pair of program-record efforts. First, Michael Zarian recorded the fastest time in Harvard history, notching a preliminary-round time of 1:44.54. The sophomore, who finished in fourth place, erased the previous record set in 2007, by Geoff Rathgerber '08 (1:44.67). Then in the championship race, first-year Jake Johnson one-upped Zarian by clocking in at 1:45.38, to become the fastest 200 IM swimmer in Harvard history. Zarian finished the race in fourth.
Harvard junior Raphael Marcoux nearly made history himself, registering two 50-freestyle times that ended up ranking second in school history. Marcoux first posted a time of 19.40 to win the preliminary race to close in on teammate Dean Farris' record (19.16). When the junior returned the pool, Marcoux won the final with an even-better 19.38, which was 0.01 off the pool record.
To the end the night, Harvard's quartet of Marcoux, Umitcan Gures, Grant Goddard and Farris finished off the 200 free relay in style, winning the event in 1:17.73, which was good for an NCAA A-cut. The Crimson found itself in second place before Farris turned on the jets and touched the pad ahead of Brown's Alexander Smilenov. The Bears came in second place with a time of 1:17.81.
- Harvard placed three swimmers in the top seven of the 500-yard freestyle relay. Outside of the winner, Novak, Logan Houck finished in third place (4:20.38) and Zach Snyder came in seventh (4:23.93).
- Gures placed seventh in the 50-yard freestyle with an effort of 19.74. His time was a personal record by 0.01 and improved upon his ninth-fastest mark in Harvard history.
- Alec DeCaprio was Harvard's top diver on the 1-meter board, finishing in sixth place with a score of 286.15.
- The Crimson has won all three relays entering Friday's action. Harvard was victorious on Wednesday in the 200 medley and 800 free, before Thursday's win in the 200 free.
Harvard will begin Day 3 of the Ivy League Championships on Friday. The prelims are set for 11 a.m., with the finals set to commence at 6 p.m., in Providence.