Women’s swimming and diving reclaim Ivy League title in exciting season| Apr 1, 2015
In the 2012 Ivy League finals, Princeton women’s swimming team fell to Harvard. The following year, it topped a competitive 2013 championship field to take a come-from-behind victory in front of a home crowd. Last season, in spite of a meet-high 92 points from Princeton’s Lisa Boyce ’14, the Crimson retook the crown with 1409 points to the Tigers’ 1384. This year, the Princeton squad of swimmers and divers continued this back-and-forth tradition, edging out their Cambridge, Mass. rivals with a day three comeback at Harvard’s home pool.
With the win, head coach Susan Teeter concluded her 31stseason at the helm with her 17thIvy League championship.
Following an early win in the 200-yard freestyle relay, Princeton fell just behind rival Harvard throughout the course of the tournament’s first day. Junior Sada Stewarttook third in the 200-yard individual medley finals, while juniors Elizabeth McDonald and Nikki Larson claimed first and third place in the 50-yard freestyle.
Competition remained taut through the second day, with Harvard, Yale and Princeton separated by fewer than 10 total points by the competition’s end.
Freshman Claire McIlmail made a splash in her second championship final and first win, beating Yale sophomore Kina Zhou in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:47.21.
Friday’s final event marked a thrilling Princeton victory, as the Tigers, the Bulldogs and the Crimson went one, two and three in the 800-yard freestyle relay.
As on day two, Princeton saved the best for last. The quartet of McIlmail, Larson, McDonald along with freshman Maddy Veith outpaced all competition with a time of 3:18.25 time in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
The weekend’s penultimate event was the 3-meter dive, in which sophomore Caitlin Chambers blew her competition out of the water with a final score of 360.55 points (Yale’s sophomore Lilybet MacRae took second with 338.30).
“Saturday's 3m final was one of the most stressful events I've ever dove in,” Chambers said post-tournament in an interview with Princeton Athletic Communications. “The quality of the diving was absolutely amazing and every single woman in that final brought their best to the table. Coming out on top, and particularly after winning the 1m title Thursday, was really exciting.”
“I'm really happy with my individual performance this week, but I have to say that I'm honored to be a part of PUCSDT,” Chambers added. “After working with these amazing women all year I know everybody swam and dove their hearts out this weekend to win the team championship and winning it together means so much more than any individual achievement.”
It was her outstanding individual performance which earned Chambers Princeton’s only NCAA championship qualification. The sophomore travelled to Greensboro, N.C. to compete in the 1m, 3m and Platform events (on March 19, March 20 and March 21, respectively). Having gone undefeated in Ivy League competition in 2014-15, she placed 32nd on the 1m with 276.60 points, 48th on the 3m with 249.40 points and 38th on the Platform with 213.60 points.
While the Tigers will lose some key leadership to graduation — senior Reese Iriondo helped the 800-yard freestyle relay bring home first place in the Ivy League championships — the future remains bright for this talented squad. The team’stitle defense will begin next fall as it attempts to hold off strong Yale and Harvard teams throughout 2015-16.
Corrections:Due to reporting errors, an earlier version of this article contained a number ofinaccuracies.First, an earlier version of this article misstated Sada Stewart's name and misspelled ElizabethMcDonald's last name. Second, an earlier version of this article misstated the race in whichMcDonald and Nikki Larson competed. They placed first and third in the 50-yard freestyle. Third, an earlier version of this article misstated ClaireMcIlmail's appearance in the final. The 200 freestyle race was her second championship final and her first win. The 'Prince' regrets the errors.