On Friday, women’s swimming and diving suffered a resounding loss to Harvard at the Percy Uris Natatorium, falling 211-89 in a meet in which the Lions only managed a victory in one event.
The Crimson (3-1, 3-0 Ivy) dominated the Lions (1-2, 1-2 Ivy) from the very beginning of the matchup, taking the top three places in the 3-meter dive, the first event of the afternoon. For the rest of the first half, Harvard didn’t miss a beat, defeating Columbia easily in almost every event, challenged only in the 100-yard breaststroke, in which first-year Olivia Jubin lost by less than a second.
Jubin would go on to win the Lions’ only event of the day, taking first place in the 200-yard breaststroke by a comfortable margin of four seconds. The first-year has seen consistent success this season, winning the 500-yard freestyle against Yale and the 200-yard freestyle against Penn.
Jubin credited her dominance in the pool to practice, saying, “I’ve been training a lot of breaststroke and racing Helen [Wojdylo] in practice … so I think that’s what has sort of helped me with endurance especially.”
The first-year’s participation marked a notable change in swimmers for the breaststroke events, as senior Helen Wojdylo—who usually races the breaststroke and won the Ivy League title in the 100-yard breaststroke last year—did not compete in the breaststroke against Harvard.
Head coach Diana Caskey explained her choice to race Jubin instead of Wojdylo, referencing the prominence of Harvard’s roster in her decision-making.
“Harvard’s the top team in the league. They won the dual meets and the championships last year, and in swimming, sometimes you don’t want to continue to pound yourself and we have a lot of versatility, so it’s good to switch up events,” Caskey said.
The Crimson likely represents the toughest competition the Light Blue will face within the Ivy League, with the squad having won three out of the last five Ivy League titles and its roster boasting 12 swimmers who have qualified for the Olympic Trials. Harvard was sure to demonstrate its talent on Friday, as Felicia Pasadyn set a Uris Pool record in the 200-yard backstroke with a scorching time of 1:58.03.
Though Harvard posed a daunting challenge, the Lions kept their spirits up, encouraging their teammates throughout the entire meet and posting second-place finishes in six events, including first-year Karen Liu’s impressive effort in the 400-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly.
Columbia’s divers had a very strong showing in the 1-meter dive on Friday, notching four NCAA Zone-qualifying scores with the impressive finishes of sophomores Bridget Rosendahl and Michelle Lee, as well as first-years Olivia Ricard and Livy Poulin. The Lions’ efforts weren’t enough to top the Crimson, though, as Harvard edged out Columbia to take the top two spots in the event.
The Light Blue’s consistent energy stood out to Caskey, who acknowledged the difficulty of maintaining enthusiasm while going against an opponent as formidable as Harvard.
“The Columbia women continue to impress me with their spirit, their upbeat attitude, and their willingness to get up and race even though they know that the competition is a little bit slanted,” Caskey said.
For now, the team will focus on continuing to improve throughout the season.
“The second half of the season will have a lot of dual meets and that’ll be a lot more competitive than, say, Harvard and Yale, so we have our eyes set on that,” Caskey said.
Swimming and diving will depart from dual meets when it next hits the pool, traveling to Piscataway, New Jersey for the Rutgers Invitational from Dec. 4 to 8.