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Men's swimming to battle Harvard for EISL lead

It is a meet of epic proportions. Harvard. Yale. Princeton. The three schools atop the Ivy League collide this weekend in the tradition known as the Harvard-Yale-Princeton Invitational.

In what is usually the deciding meet in the race for the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League dual meet title, the Tigers square off against Harvard, their toughest competition in the league.

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"It's going to be one intense environment," freshman backstroker Andrew Chadeayne said. "(They) say that this is the meet you never forget. You don't really hear people talk about NCAAs or Easterns, but they remember H-Y-Ps."

Last year, Princeton prevailed and went on to have an unbeaten dual meet season. But the team was not as lucky in the EISL Championships, where Harvard exacted revenge by winning the meet, preventing the Tigers from claiming the championship.

Between the two teams, they have claimed the last 25 EISL titles, and with Yale included, the competitors at this meet have lost the EISL Championship only once in the 36 years of the league's existence. This year will be no different. As in recent seasons, the Elis, though strong, will have only a secondary role in the meet. The true battle will be between the Tigers and the Crimson, both of whom are undefeated in league competition.

"Harvard is strong," head coach Rob Orr said. "We're going to create an environment for fast swimming."

Coming into the meet, Harvard seems to possess the advantage. In every event, Crimson swimmers have posted the fastest times in the league, and in certain events, they even hold up to the top six spots. In swimming many of these times, however, Harvard had already been shaved and tapered. This is a technique reserved for big meets, where the swimmers reduce training, thereby resting their bodies and producing faster times.

Getting ready

Princeton swimmers, even without shaving and tapering, are close behind. For them, most of the work has already been done, by training hard earlier in the year. They have been tapering this week in preparation for the meet, and will be ready and rested by the time it gets underway tonight. All that remains is for them to register some season-best swims and upset the Harvard swimmers.

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"We could use good swims from just about anybody," senior captain Jason Eaddy said. "This meet is going to be a real team effort. No one person is going to step up and carry the team."

The team will also rely upon the performances of sophomore divers Terry Meck and Andy Shyong, along with freshman Chris Jensen, to score some well-needed points.

"Hopefully we can duplicate what we did last year," said Meck, referring to the one-two finish he posted with then-senior Bill Peranteau '96. "(Orr) is always hinting that that would help out the team a lot."

But this meet is not entirely about winning. For the individual swimmers, everyone is striving for lifetime bests. In addition, the meet not only determines which swimmers will be competing in the EISL Championships, but also represents the last big dual meet for the seniors. Everyone should have an added incentive to swim fast.

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"It's like throwing up a deck of cards," Orr said. "If we're lucky, we'll end up with more aces up than Harvard; we're capable of coming out on top."

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