Head Coach: Michael A. Chasson (Stanford '74), 4th season
Career Record: 25-5-0
At Harvard: Same
Assistant Swimming Coach: David Flocco (Boston University '90)
Diving Coach: Keith Miller (Tufts '82)
Volunteer Assistant: Joshua Stern (Rochester '92)
Captains: Tim Carger '94-5, Jan Esway '95
Returning Lettermen: 14
Lettermen Lost: 9
Home Pool: Blodgett Pool
1993-94 Record: 10-2; 8-1 EISL; Eastern Champions
In the eyes of Mike Chasson, the Harvard men's swim team has much more to accomplish.
Yes, the fourth-year head coach is quite proud of the Crimson's string of three straight Eastern Championships and the 11 competitors Harvard has sent to the NCAAs over that span. He is proud, but not content.
"We are raising our goals higher," said Chasson, the owner of a 25-5 mark in dual meets. "I want Harvard to have a bigger impact at the National Championships.
"This year's senior class represents my first recruiting class at Harvard, and that makes it even more special. As a whole, we want to focus on high goals and get to them."
Chasson saw a glimpse of his team's potential last January, when they upset nationally-ranked Florida in the Gators' home pool. Harvard, which also topped Michigan State of the Big 10, finished with a 10-2 dual mark and went on win the Eastern Seaboard crown by over 100 points.
The coach can bank on a seasoned pool of veterans, along with a recruiting class that ranks in the top 10 nationally.
"If we can couple the potential of our younger classes with the experience our juniors and seniors bring, I am positive we can continue to develop on a national scale," said Chasson. "We're entering the season with the goal of having eight to 10 competitors qualify for the NCAAs."
The breaststroke events should again be strong, despite the graduation of Eastern champion Richard Ou. Scott Campea has made dramatic improvement in this event, and newcomers Juuso Linnoila and Greg Mone are former Junior National finalists who are expected to be key contributors here.
In sprint free events, quality stands out over quantity. Senior Dave Heilman rates as the top returnee after scoring in the 50, 100, and 200 free events at the 1994 Easterns. Sophomores Karl Scheer and Bryan Butts also return and should continue to get faster. The top recruit in this area is Matt Cornue, who was ranked in the top four nationally in the 100 free among last year's high school seniors.
As for distance free events, most of the talk centers around freshman Brian Younger, who is considered the country's top distance recruit. Younger has already posted untapered times that would have won three events at last year's Easterns and placed in the top four in a few others. Junior Jeff Marks, himself a fourth-place finisher at Easterns in both the 1000 and 1650, returns after a solid season, and is joined by Rick Osterberg, who displayed great energy and enthusiasm during the '93-94 campaign. Middle distance events are in the hands of Ben Odell and Dave Alpert, newcomers with potential. Alpert, a sophomore, is a transfer from Stanford.
"Without question, this is a strength position, and it will be a battle to make our team in these events," said Chasson. "We could dominate the 500 in our League."
Chasson must replace two-time Eastern champion John Blaney in the individual medley, but it seems an achievable task. Co-captain Jan Esway just missed scoring in the 200 IM at NCAAs last season (after being disqualified at Easterns), and Rick Dzavik was a standout in the event two seasons ago. Esway, also an NCAA qualifier in the 100 free, still scored in four events at the 1994 Easterns. Newcomer Josh Adams, a transfer from Illinois, could help out here, as could the aforementioned Younger.
At the top of the list for the butterfly events is senior Brian Livingston, who was second in the 100 at the 94 Easterns. He's joined by junior Rick Dzavik and freshman Rob Anagnoson, one of the top high school swimmers in the event and a Senior National qualifier.
"We've won the 200 all three of my years at Harvard," said Chasson, "but we'll need someone in this group to step up if we want to continue that streak."
Harvard should once again dominate the backstroke. Crimson swimmers have won the Eastern title in the 200 for seven straight years and have five championships in the 100 over that same span. Co-captain Tim Carver, a five-event Eastern Champion in 1994 who went on to Honorable Mention All-America accolades in the 100, returns and sets his sights on breaking the school record in that event held by Olympian David Berkoff 89. Junior Scott Peterson continues to impress the coaches with his times. Meanwhile, newcomer Alpert also swims the 200 backstroke and has times that would already place him in the top four at Easterns.
Another big loss for the Crimson is diver Craig Narveson, a two-time All-America who has graduated. Seniors Rich Buekema and Rob Bollo both scored at Easterns in 1994, and should be able to stabilize this event.
"Craig pulled us out of some tight situations over the past few years, so we're going to need Rich and our other good divers to make that jump and help us here."