After a stellar class last fall, the Harvard Crimson are raking up again in the class of 2013. First they signed Junior National Teamer Cliff Goertemiller, but after posting about his commitment, more names started flooding into our inboxes.
- Kenneth Castro-Abrams (Marin Pirates/San Marin High School, CA)
- Mitchell Foster (Aquajets Swim Team/Breck High School, MN)
- Eric Ronda (Wilton Y Wahoos Swim Club/Brunswick Schoo, CT)
- John Manchester (SwimMAC Carolina/Hough High, NC)
- Sava Turcanu (YMCA Seahorse Swim Team/St. Stephen’s, NC)
The first thing that jumps off of the page to you about these swimmers is the programs they come from. Three of the five men hail from programs that put swimmers on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team (the Marin Pirates and Scott Weltz, the Aquajets and Rachel Bootsma, and SwimMAC and a group of 5). Harvard men’s head coach Tim Murphy was the head coach of the Olympic open water team, where he surely developed some great recruiting connections.
The headliner of this latest group is breaststroker Eric Ronda. He’s got a best of 55.67 in the 100 breast and 1:58.82 in the 200. He was a part of the team that the U.S. sent to the Junior Pan Pac Championships in August, where he was the only American male to medal in a breaststroke race. There, he took bronze in a steller 2:13.8, behind only a pair of boys from the deadly Japanese breaststroke group.
With sophomore Chuck Katis already as the fastest returning breaststroker in the Ivy League (53.17 in the 100) and Ronda’s addition, the Crimson should dominate the conferences breaststroke races for the next few years at least.
InMitchell Foster, they’ve picked up a backstroker from the Aquajets team in suburban Minneapolis (with backstrokers being that the Aquajets are most famous for). Foster has bests of 49.34/1:48.49 in the 100 and 200. This fills a huge need for this program: they only had two swimmer score in the backstrokes at last year’s Ivy’s, and one of them is graduated.
John Manchester will add to that backstroke group in the 200, with a 1:47.85. His primary events, though, are the 100 and 200 freestyles, with bests of 45.77 and 1:39.13, respectively. Oddly enough, his 50 freestyle (22.23) and his 100 back (53.82) are far from his level even one distance upward, so expect to see more development in those races as well.
The 100 fly is another spot where the Crimson were weak last season, and again they’ve added a swimmer who should help that group out considerably as a freshman. Kenneth Castro-Abrams from California has a best of 49.39 in the 100 fly and 1:49.04 in the 200. With a 1:47.6 in the 200 back as well, he should be a 20-point Ivy League scorer in a good freshman year.
In an Ivy League where 24 swimmers scored in each individual race (as compared to the more traditional 16), a class already thick with at least 5 guys, and probably 6, who can score immediately already will go a long way for Harvard coach Tim Murphy. Last year, they were about 80 points behind rivals Princeton for the conference title. This recruiting class, at least in the spring of 2014, would seem to be enough to make up that gap so far.