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SwimBigAl
Men's swimming finished atop a field of five teams in the 2018 Big Al Invitational

By GoPrincetonTigers


The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed in the annual Big Al Invite in DeNunzio Pool over the weekend. The men (2–0, 0–0 Ivy) continued their strong start to the season, besting the field of five teams, while the women (2–0, 0–0) faltered and finished fifth.

The meet took place over two sessions on Friday and one session on Saturday. It included squads from Duke, Lehigh, Northwestern, and Penn State.

The Friday morning events failed to produce a clear frontrunner in either meet. For the Princeton men, a second-place finish from sophomore Charles Leibson in the 200-yard individual medley and a 50-yard freestyle victory by senior Christian Feiler set the tone, but the Tigers did not lead until the fifth and final event of the session.

In the 400-yard medley relay, the two top Princeton teams finished second and fifth. The A team — senior Cole Buese, sophomore Corey Lau, junior Derek Cox, and senior Murphy McQuet — led the way, finishing just .07 second behind Duke’s first place time. The 62 total points collected by the men in this event were enough to give them a four-point lead over Penn State at the first break.

Though the women’s team had no top-five finishes in the first session, senior Joanna Curry got Friday evening off to a better start, claiming fourth place in the 400-yard individual medley (the session’s second event). Senior Isabel Reis followed with a third-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly, clocking in at 56.35.

While no other Princeton women cracked the top five on Friday, freshman Cathy Teng placed 10th in the 200-yard freestyle, while sophomore Jenny Ma and freshman Vivian Wang finished sixth and eighth respectively in the 100-yard breaststroke.

For the men, the Friday evening session saw Princeton gain separation at the top of the leaderboard. Freshman Jonathan Pollock turned in a third-place performance in the 400-yard individual medley, beating his seed time by nearly three seconds with a 4:01.98.

Buese began a truly impressive individual meet effort with a victory in the 100-yard butterfly, which he followed three events later with a fourth-place effort in the 100-yard backstroke. In between these, McQuet took first in the 200-yard freestyle, and Lau and senior Tyler Lin finished two-three in the 100-yard breaststroke. Over the course of those four events, the Tigers built up a hefty 67.5 point lead over Penn State — a margin which would expand to 73.5 by the end of the night’s events.

The Saturday morning session largely followed the same patterns. Curry continued her strong individual performance for the women in the 200-yard butterfly, holding off three swimmers who finished within a second of her time of 2:02.50 to take third. Teng and Ma both picked up their second top-ten finishes of the meet, with Teng taking ninth in the 100-yard freestyle and Ma rounding out the top eight in the 200-yard breaststroke.

The Princeton women also showed well in diving, with two Tigers making the finals of both the one and three meter events. Junior Natasha MacManus finished third in both, scoring 256.70 points from one meter and 281.1 from three.

The men continued their relative dominance throughout Saturday’s races. Buese won his second event of the meet in the 200-yard backstroke, a performance which McQuet followed with a third-place finish in the 100 yard freestyle. The Tigers had four men in the top eight of the 200-yard breaststroke, with junior Daniel Arris leading the way in fourth place. Freshman Raunak Khosla finished second in the 200-yard butterfly with 1:49.15, and Cox came third in the same event, only .12 seconds behind his teammate.

Further impressive individual performances came from the Tigers in the men’s diving competition. Junior Charlie Minns won the one-meter event and finished fourth in the platform, and sophomore Colten Young reversed those placements, taking fourth in the one-meter and scoring 290.05 points from the platform, besting the bunch by nearly ten points.

The Princeton women ended in fifth place with 520 points — less than half the total of Duke, the women’s victors. The men, who enjoyed 17 top-three finishes over the two days, scored 897 points — good for a commanding 141-point victory in a meet which saw the other four teams finish within 130 points of each other.

The Princeton women and men both travel to Ithaca this weekend, where they will face off against Cornell and Penn in the second triple meet of the season.

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