Season Recap: Honors Aplenty For Men's Swimming and Diving in 2009-10

Season Recap: Honors Aplenty For Men's Swimming and Diving in 2009-10

Pictured: 2009-10 Harvard Men's Swimming and Diving Award Winners.
Photo Courtesy: Harvard Swimming and Diving.

The Harvard men’s swimming and diving team entered the 2009-10 with a young squad, full of talent and led by a core of six seniors. After testing its mettle against Big 12 power Texas A&M to start the season, the team went on to post a 7-2 record on the season and a second place finish in the Ancient Eight. Four athletes were named to the All-Ivy team, and the Crimson took home plenty of hardware that helped define yet another successful season.

The Crimson kicked off its season against the Aggies Nov. 13 and captured three events despite falling 131.5 to 102.5 in the meet. Senior Mason Brunnick claimed Harvard’s first victory of the season, as he won the 500-yard freestyle by touching the wall in 4:39.12. Freshman Owen Wurzbacher led a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 breaststroke at his first collegiate meet, narrowly edging teammate Justin Davidson. Wurzbacher swam the race in 2:07.66, while Davidson, a junior, posted a time of 2:07.69. Junior Evan Schindewolf was third with a mark of 2:16.41. Harvard also claimed first in the 400 freestyle relay, as the foursome of sophomores Nicholas DuCille, Eric Taylor and Matthew McLean and freshman Brendan McIntee cruised past Texas A&M with a collective time of 3:07.59.

Harvard opened its Ivy season the next day in a tri-meet with Cornell and Dartmouth in Ithaca, N.Y., and put forth a strong effort in downing the Big Red, 177-123, and the Big Green, 237-63. The Crimson captured nine events on the day, beginning with the 200 medley relay and followed by a one-two-three-four finish in the 1,000 free, fronted by Brunnick with a time of 9:28.86. Junior Douwe Yntema delivered Harvard’s third-straight win with a victory in the 200 free and sophomore Robert Newell followed with wins in the 100 and 200 back. Senior Zac Ranta took the title in the one-meter diving competition and finished second in the three-meter event to help the Crimson effort.

The month of December saw the team swim in just one competition, but it proved to be a tough test as the Crimson faced Georgia, Florida, Denver and Auburn at the Georgia Invitational Dec. 4-6. Harvard took fourth at the meet and saw a number of its swimmers turn in strong performances. Wurzbacher won the 100 breast title with a time of 56.91 and placed fourth in the 200 breast a day later with a mark of 2:05.90. Senior Alex Meyer swam an NCAA “B” cut in the 1,650 free, taking fourth in the event with a time of 15:31.23.

The New Year opened with a return to Ivy action and Harvard responded with a confident 183-117 win over Penn on the road. The Crimson took 10 of 16 events, highlighted by Nicholas Tan’s victories in the 100 and 200 fly races. Meyer took the titles in the 500 and 1,000 free races and Newell captured both the 100 and 200 back events. Freshman Michael Stanton garnered the title in the three-meter diving competition while Ranta took second in the one-meter.  

The Crimson divers paved the way to victory in the team’s next meet, as Harvard edged Brown, 127-116, in its closest meet of the season Jan. 22. Stanton’s score of 304.88 was enough to claim the one-meter title, while Ranta amassed 331.88 points to seal the win in the three-meter competition. Brunnick earned a win in the 1,000 free and Tan turned in a time of 46.49 to take the 100 free. Meyer earned the win in the 500 free with a time of 4:36.63 and Wurzbacher capped off Harvard’s event wins with a first-place showing in the 100 breast.

Just a day after taking down the Bears, Harvard welcomed local non-conference rival Boston University to Blodgett Pool and handed the Terriers a 201-99 defeat on Senior Day. The hosts took an impressive 13 of 16 total events and had four individuals capture multiple event wins. Niall Janney paced the Crimson with wins in the 200 fly and 400 individual medley while Newell captured the 100 and 200 back races. Brunnick took the title in both the 200 and 500 freestyles and Ranta owned the boards against the Terriers, winning both the one and three-meter competitions.

In its final Ivy meet of the season, Harvard had the tall task of challenging defending champion Princeton at its home pool while also squaring off against Yale in the annual HYP meet. The Crimson put up 242 points against Yale, taking down the Bulldogs 242-106 and suffered its first defeat of the conference schedule with a 203-150 loss to the Tigers.

Alex Meyer led the charge on day one of the HYP meet, fronting a one-two-three Harvard finish in the 1,650 free with a time of 15:30.80. Michael Stanton followed with a win in the three-meter diving competition, totaling 339.55 points, and the Crimson captured its third straight event as Brunnick touched the wall first in the 200 free. Jordan Diekema added to the Harvard effort with a win in the 100 back. Day two saw Brunnick lead a quartet of top Harvard finishers in the 500 free and Janney took the title in the 400 IM.

At the ECAC Championships, Harvard looked to defend its title with a young, talented squad. The Crimson started the meet with a runner-up finish in the 200 free relay, and DuCille followed with a second-place finish in the 50 free. Schindewolf earned the first event win for Harvard, claiming the 400 IM in 4:00.91. The 800 free relay team picked up a win at the end of day two, and the 400 free relay took the title in the final race of the meet to seal a runner-up overall finish.

The Ivy Championships were hosted by Princeton at DeNunzio Pool, and while the defending champion Tigers took the overall title, Harvard earned a number of individual awards at the meet. Meyer grabbed titles in three events, winning the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 free races and received the Harold S Ulen Award (career high-point swimmer) and the Phil Moriarty Award (meet high-point swimmer) at the conclusion of the meet. Stanton won both diving competitions and received the Karl B. Michael Award, given to the top-scoring diver at the meet. Diekema earned first-team All-Ivy status with a win in the 100 back and Lewkowitz earned second-team All-Ivy accolades in the 1,650 free. Diekema also received Academic All-Ivy honors for his combined efforts in the pool and the classroom.

After the completion of the dual season, Harvard had representatives at both the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships and the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Stanton competed in both the one and three-meter events at the zone competition. After qualifying for the three-meter finals in 12th position, Stanton finished 11th in the competition with a total of 582.95 points. The freshman also finished in 11th position in the one-meter event, compiling 572.65 points.

Meyer was the lone NCAA qualifier for Harvard and looked to join the legacy of All-American Crimson swimmers. Seeded with a time of 15:05.55 in the 1,650 free, the senior took over seven seconds off his seed time, finishing with a mark of 14:58.13, taking 14th place in the event and earning All-America status.

After the completion of the 2009-10 season, the team held its annual awards banquet to recognize the team’s success and honor its seniors. Douwe Yntema received the Reid Jorgensen Trophy, given to the most improved junior on the squad, and Rick McKellar was awarded the Stowell Trophy, given to the most improved senior. Brunnick received the Eugene B. Wyman Trophy for scoring the most points in dual meets and the Harold S. Ulen Trophy, awarded for outstanding senior leadership, went to Tommy Gray. Alex Meyer and Michael Stanton received the William J. Brooks Trophy, given annually to the swimmer and diver that contribute the most to the team’s success.

With a pair of runner-up finishes at the ECAC and Ivy Championships and an All-America honoree, the men’s swimming and diving team had a successful season, building on the strong tradition of Harvard men’s swimming and diving.