In what surmounted to be a fantastic and memorable season, the men’s swimming and diving team reclaimed the Ivy League Championships. Despite a mix-up at the NCAA Championships that led to the Tigers defaulting on both of their individual races, this season must be considered a great success.
The team competed in several tournaments in its spring season, starting with a match against Navy at DeNunzio Pool and ending with the Ivy League Championships at the same location. The team spent most of its spring season facing Ivy League opponents, facing only Navy and NC State in non-conference meets.
The team easily beat Patriot League champion Navy to the tune of 171-129 but was dispatched by NC State by the score of 180-113, on what was also Senior Day for the Tigers. Although the team was soundly beaten by NC State, senior Michael Manhard made the day his own with two individual victories.
Going into the spring season with a 4-0 Ivy League record, the team hoped to continue its dominance but fell short of a perfect season after losses against Columbia in New York andagainst Harvard at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet, which led to Harvard’s perfect regular season. The team compiled a 7-4 record on the year and a 5-2 record in the Ivy League, which offered great hope for the team prior to the ever-important Ivy League Championships, which the team hoped to reclaim.
Despite losing to Harvard and Columbia, the team came away with the final laugh as it came out victorious in the Ivy League Championships to claim Coach Orr’s 22ndIvy League Championship in 35 seasons and his sixth in seven years.
The team absolutely dominated the field in the Championships, finishing with 1519 points in a wire-to-wire victory. They beat runner-up Harvard by 233.5 points and had already claimed the tournament after the preliminary sessions.
“I’m very proud of the guys for a great performance against a tough league,” Coach Orr said after the competition.
The Tigers’ fantastic performance throughout the season saw the team rewarded with five berths in the NCAA Championships, two in individual events and three in relay events. Senior Harrison Wagner and freshman Corey Okubo both qualified for the NCAA Championships individually, with Wagner qualifying for the 50-yard freestyle for the second time and Okubo qualifying for the 400-yard individual medley. However, due to unfortunate circumstances, Wagner, Okubo and two of the relay teams did not compete in the NCAA Championships.
“As far as that goes, it was quite admirable because of the circumstances at NCAA: the mature reaction of all the people involved was one of the most impressive things I’ve seen it my time here,” Coach Orr said on this topic.
At the end of the season, the team will bid farewell to some of its key contributors in the past four years. These seniors will leave having contributed to three Ivy League Championship titles in four years and contributed to various other victories during their time here at Princeton.
“We graduate a large group of point scorers and leaders and hopefully we can replace them with our incoming class,” Coach Orr said.
As a recap to the season, Coach Orr said that “this was an exceptional year, the team acted like a good solid unit and team all season long, which showed especially in the Ivy conference,” before adding, “overall, I felt that it was extremely successful season, and I feel that most everyone on the team feels that way as well.”
Although the team is losing some of the best swimmers and divers in the Ivy League, the current crop of freshmen and next year’s recruits are sure to bring promise and talent as the team looks to defend its Ivy League Championship next year.