Pictured: The 2009-10 Harvard men's swimming & diving
team opens up at Blodgett Pool against Texas A&M Nov. 13.
Photo courtesy: David Silverman Photography
The Crimson is ready to challenge for the top echelon of the Ivy League once again this winter, as the men’s swimming and diving team returns 26 members of last year’s team that finished 8-1 overall and 6-1 in the Ivy League. Harvard concluded 2008-09 with a No. 20 national ranking and placed second at both the Ivy League and ECAC Championships. The team qualified two swimmers for the NCAA Championships and earned 16 All-Ivy League selections, representing swimmers from seven events.
Harvard will be led by captains Tommy Gray and Alex Meyer, two of six seniors on the Crimson roster. “Gray and Meyer have quality leadership skills,” said Harvard head coach Tim Murphy. “We will look to them , as well as seniors Robert Lynch, Rick McKellar, Simone Melillo and Mason Brunnick for direction on the deck and in the water.”
The Crimson will be tested early in the season with meets against Texas A&M, a perennial top 25 NCAA Division I team, at home on Nov. 13 and away meets at Cornell and Columbia .
Below is a summary of the team by event:
• In the breaststroke, returnsMelillo, Justin Davidson and Will Heyburn. Melillo garnered two All-Ivy League nods last season, helping Harvard finish first in the 200 medley relay and second in the 400 medley relay. Davidson, meanwhile, swam eighth in 200 the breaststroke, 10th in the 100 breaststroke and 16th in the 200 IM at the 2009 Ivy League Championships. Heyburn placed top 16 in the 100 breastroke at Ivy’s. Harvard also welcomes freshman Owen Wurzbacher who will make an impact on the breaststroke corps and individual medley events. All will need to be competitive to meet expectations.
• Nicholas Tan, Niall Janney and McKellarare Harvard’s top returning butterfly swimmers. Tan competed at the 2009 FINA World Championships for Singapore in the butterfly and placed 10th in the 100 fly at theIvy meet, while Janney showed improvement during his freshman season and finished fourth in the 400 IM and eighth in the 200 IM at the ECAC Championships.McKellar, a versatile swimmer, was fifth in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly at last year’s ECAC meet. Freshmen Ryan Cutter and Greg Roop add to the depth in this event for the Crimson. This group will need to step up and fill the void left by the departure of the Jones twins.
• Five-time All-Ivy League honoree Jordan Diekema leads Harvard’s backstroke swimmers. Diekema helped Harvard win the 200 medley relay and grab second in the 400 medley relay at the 2009 Ivy League Championships and was a three-time All-Ivy selection as a freshman in 2008. Robert Newell, who won the 'B' final in the 200 IM and was eighth in 100 backstroke at the Ivy League Championships, is looking to have an even more successful sophomore campaign. Newcomer Greg Pelton will also compete in this event, as well as in the freestyle.
• Returners Blake Lewkowitz, Matthew McLean, Meyer, Mason Brunnick, and Gray give Harvard quality depth in the Mid and Distance freestyle events. Meyerswam for Team USA at the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome, Italy this summer in the 25K Open Water Swimming event. Last season, he competed at the 2009 NCAA Championships and placed 25th in the 1650 free and was 44th in the 500 free. He was also named first-team All-Ivy League after winning the 1000 and 1650 freestyle events at Ivy Champs. Co-Captain Tommy Gray improved as a junior, earning eighth-place in the 1000 free and 10th in the 1650 free. Lewkowitz earned three top-six finishes at the Ivy League Championships last winter. He took third in the 1000 free, fourth in the 1650 free and sixth in the 500 free.Brunnick, who helped the 800 free relay win the event at the 2008 EISL Championships, finished 11th in the 500, 1000 and 1650 freestyle races at the Ivy League meet. McLean finished fifth in the 200 free and ninth in the 500 free as a freshman at ECAC Championships.
In the Sprint freestyle events, returning swimmers Nick DuCille, Will Heyburn, Graham Frankel, and Eric Taylor are expected to contribute Heyburn was eighth in the 100 freestyle at the Ivy League Championships. Frankel posted top times at the ECAC Championships cruising to second in the 100 free, fourth in the 50 free and sixth in the 200 free.
Harvard welcomes the addition of rookie Brendan McIntee to the freestyle corps. McIntee will need to make an immediate contribution to the team.
• Harvard’s diving team is comprised of four individuals, including ZacRanta, who has already qualified for the 2010 NCAA Zone A Diving Championships. At that meet in 2009, Zac placed 11th. In Ivy League competition, Ranta finished fifth in the three-meter and ninth in one-meter diving in 2009. Henry Winslow and Taylor Nickel supply depth and experience on the boards, while adding freshman Michael Stanton to the team. Stanton has extensive national team experience.
Murphy enters his 12th season at the helm of the Crimson with an impressive 91-7 record and six Ivy League titles. Murphy recently served as an assistant coach with Team USA at the World University Games in July, which were held in Belgrade, Serbia. Keith Miller is in his 18th season as Harvard’s men’s and women’s diving coach and has a string of league diving champions, including Lucas Sanders '08 the most recent champion in 2007.
Kevin Tyrrell was introduced as Harvard’s assistant coach in July and is no stranger to the Crimson program. Tyrrell, who worked as a volunteer coach for the Crimson program from 2000-04, helping Harvard to two Ivy League titles, most recently served as the head coach of the United States Virgin Islands National Team. He finished his tenure leading the Virgin Island swimmers to 90% best times at the 2009 FINA World Swimming Championships in Rome.
Harvard’s freshmen include:
Swimmer Hometown Best Events
Ryan Cutter Stamford, Conn. Butterfly/Freestyle
Matt Kaminske Venice, Fla. Distance Freestyle
Patrick Mannion Malvern, Pa. Freestyle/Butterfly
Brendan McIntee Plano, Texas Freestyle/Backstroke
Greg Pelton Towson, Md. Freestyle/Backstroke
Greg Roop Chattanooga, Tenn. Butterfly/Freestyle
Michael Stanton Potomac, Md. Diving
Owen Wurzbacher Albuquerque, N.M. Breaststroke/IM
Harvard begins the 2009-10 season at home, hosting Texas A&M at Blodgett Pool Friday, Nov. 13. The team will open Ivy League action in a tri-meet against Cornell and Dartmouth in Ithaca, N.Y., Nov. 14.