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This year at the Ivy League Swim and Dive Championships, the Harvard women's swim and dive team (6-2, 5-2 Ivy League) took home the silver, while Harvard men’s swim and dive team (7-0) was able to win the tournament. For the women’s team, the trip to Providence, R.I. offered the chance to win the tournament in back-to-back years, while the men headed to Princeton, N.J. looking for a sixth-straight conference title.
The men’s tournament was a story of tremendous success. The victory saw two individuals, junior Will Grant and senior Umitcan Gures, each earn All-Ivy League First Team status in two events each. Five athletes were recognized as All-Ivy Second Team, and head coach Kevin Tyrrell was recognized as Coach of the Year.
“Well, I try to only think about things in terms of a team level. The Coach of the Year Award is kind of silly on two fronts. One, I never swim or dive for us. And two, it doesn't recognize the entire staff that puts this whole thing together,” Tyrrell said regarding his award.
Nonetheless, he did acknowledge that the award displayed how much the team was willing to work.
“I think it just shows that our guys really enjoy competing. They swam very well through the last day of the meet, which means they put in the work over the course of the season,” the coach continued. “We are incredibly proud of them and importantly we have some guys that will be moving on to the NCAA [tournament]. The season isn't over yet, so we're gonna keep pushing.”
Notably, Grant put on a backstroke clinic in the water, winning multiple events by almost a second each.
“He worked for it. It’s great that he makes good stuff happen for us because he cares, and he wants the team to be successful. He puts himself out there to work to make it happen,” Tyrrell said.
The head coach also stressed the importance of the divers on his team.
“Well, I think one of the big takeaways for me is just our divers. We had six divers at the meet, and they all performed either the best rounded dives on both boards or on one board. They’re really good right now, and they’ll just continue to get better,” he said.
Sophomore Adam Wesson went on to clinch his way into one of five NCAA bids, later being joined in the final round by two of his teammates.
For the women’s team, the tournament was bitter-sweet.
“We were still pretty stoked to get second, but it was obviously not ideal. Not winning means we need to reflect on what we were possibly doing wrong or reflect on what other teams were doing right,” first-year Anta Mostek said.
The main focus is on beating the Princeton Tigers, who won the HYP tournament before dethroning the Crimson in Providence.
“We’re using a fuel of dulled-down anger to bring the fight to the rest of the Ivies, but especially Princeton next year,” Mostek said.
Despite not clinching gold, this event saw numerous bright spots for the women’s squad, especially out of Mostek. Most impressively, the first-year was able to put up the fastest 100-meter backstroke time in school history, clocking in at an impressive 52.77 seconds and winning the event.
“I was against a swimmer who I raced before in our meet against Brown. I beat her but it was very close, so I was a little worried for the Ivy tournament. I gave it my all, and was extremely excited to win. But honestly, I tried my best, and I know it was my best, so I would have been happy either way,” Mostek said.
The first-year also was second in the 200 backstroke, a race where Harvard claimed the number one and number two spots. The winner of that race, senior Samantha Shelton, said it was an unforgettable experience.
“Moments before the race I was in the room with Anya and the six other swimmers in my heat. I remember laughing with Anya and we were telling each other to just have fun and go out there and see what happens,” Shelton said
The senior also had a tactic to make her last race more meaningful.
“I wanted to make it special by dedicating each 50 to all the coaches that I have had in my 14 years of swimming, with the last 50 being dedicated to coach Steph Morawski and Amanda Kulik,” said Shelton in appreciation of her Harvard coaches. “I think doing this actually helped me a lot.”
“Sammy was my training partner, and we raced each other all the time in practice. The meet was exactly what we had been practicing. I could not have done it without that support from Sammy and the whole team,” Mostek said.
Multiple Harvard divers made it to the final round of this week's NCAA qualifier, coming inches away from qualifying, but only first-year Nina Janmyr was able to clinch a spot.
Mostek’s heroics at the Ivies, paired with Janmyr’s qualification for the NCAA championships, shows the strength of the program's younger swimmers. Mostek is excited to see what the future holds for this class and the recruiting classes behind it.
“Our coach will sometimes say every day is closer to the 2024 Ivies” she said.
The men’s and women’s swim and dive teams have the NCAA championship to look forward to in a couple of weeks, the last tournament in the 2022-23 season.
—Staff writer Thomas G. Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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