At Harvard, Sundays are not the most fun day of the week. It’s a day to catch up on sleep, but more importantly to catch up on work. Honestly, Sundays are boring.  But as I sit here at my desk, looking at all the work I have to do today, I am still smiling on the inside. While I write this blog post, I cannot get out of my mind how fired up I still am about what HWSD has accomplished this past weekend. I’m Sara Li, one of the captains and a junior sprinter on HWSD, and I am constantly in awe at the amazing ability of each of my teammates, and how we all come together to form the power of this team.

This Saturday was our season-opener against Cornell and Dartmouth. Our first meet of the season, everyone was pumped to finally get out and compete, with the freshmen especially ready to experience what being a part of HWSD actually means. Everyone’s high spirits were evident as we boarded the bus to prepare for our 8 hour bus ride to upstate New York. As each of us opened our SP (secret psych) gifts we felt their support and thoughtfulness, even though our SPs remain anonymous throughout the year. Unfortunately, the divers had left separately and we were not able to travel there together, but swimmers and divers alike knew that this meet would set the tone for this season. We were excited to show the rest of the Ivy League how hard we have been working every day at practice. As Margaret Ramsey, one of our freshmen, said in our team meeting, “I’m excited to finally race. I’m excited to swim for HWSD. I’m excited to actually see our team’s traditions in reality…. I’m just really excited!!!!” Gotta love that freshman enthusiasm.

After a restful night’s sleep and a fun dynamic warm up in the hotel pool in the morning, we finally arrived at Cornell’s pool, where we got to watch our divers compete on the 1 meter boards and see Brittany Powell and Amanda Largent finish 1-2! After cheering on our divers (D-I-V-E-R-S Harvard divers are the best!) it was the swimmers turn to race our hearts out. All in all, we won 12 out of 14 swimming events and crushed 8 of their pool records. We even broke one of our own records, with freshman Kendall Crawford going 55.04 in her 100 backstroke! Needless to say, there was some fast swimming happening. But aside from our record-breaking performances, however, people on our team were stepping up across the board. There were lifetime bests, in-season bests, good turns, good finishes, and beautiful underwaters. Even though the freshmen were probably nervous for their first collegiate meet, freshmen Sherry Liu and Marlee Erlich conquered the 1000 free and got the momentum going, and the whole team fed off each other and kept up the energy up until the very last event.

Throughout the meet, everyone learned from each other as we each gave it our all in the pool. Kyle Cutter, our assistant volunteer coach, sent out an inspiring email to the team before we left. In the email, she explained how we should be “building a bridge” this season, taking the good and leaving the bad from last year. I think that this HWSD has taken those words to heart- this meet definitely showed that the team we have this year is amazing, even though in a completely different way from last year. We are all so excited to finally be underway with our racing season and I expect many more memorable races and dives to come. Our first meet was nerve-wracking, inspiring, and exhilarating all at once. Judging from this first meet, quite frankly I would be scared if I was another team in the Ivy League.  HWSD has definitely shown that it is ready to go.

"H-A-R-V-A-R-D!" The team gathers for a cheer to kick off the swimming portion of the meet at Cornell.