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Men's swimming defeats Harvard, Yale, sets two records

Going into this weekend's Harvard-Yale-Princeton Invitational, head coach Rob Orr equated his team's chances of winning to throwing a deck of cards into the wind – luck would determine who had more aces showing.

But for the Tigers, the deck was all aces.


With an onslaught of first-place finishes, Princeton (8-0 overall, 8-0 Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League) jumped to a surprisingly large lead on the first day of the two-day meet, en route to convincing victories over both Harvard and Yale.

A meet that was supposed to be close turned into a relentless drubbing, as the Tigers beat Harvard (6-2, 5-1), 114-49, and Yale (8-3, 5-3), 141-22.

"They swam beyond expectations," Orr said. "They did what they had to do to win this contest."

Only a whimper

As Princeton's biggest competitor of the year, the strong Crimson squad was supposed to pose more of a threat than it did. Harvard swimmers held top times in all events going into the meet, but this made no difference in a sport where performance easily fluctuates from meet to meet. The only times that mattered were the ones this weekend, and the Tigers were almost unbeatable.

Princeton pounced on the Elis and the Crimson from the outset – capturing five out of the top six diving finishes – and never looked back.

Sophomore diver Andy Shyong led off the attack, winning the one-meter competition with 311.60 points. Fellow sophomore Terry Meck followed with a second-place finish before continuing his three-meter dominance with a 320.15-point showing; this was good enough to outdistance teammates Shyong (third, 265.95 pts.) and freshman Chris Jensen (second, 279.25 pts.).


Rounding out the evening, the Tigers won six of the remaining nine events, rapidly approaching the 82 points needed to clinch a win over either team. Senior captain Davin Quinn (55.30 seconds in the 100-yard breaststroke), juniors J.P. Norvell (1:47.73, 200 butterfly) and Matt Vogt (20.45, 50 free) and freshman Andrew Chadeayne (50.00, 100 backstroke) each earned first-place finishes. By the end of the day, the Tigers had already clinched a win over Yale and were only 18 points away from that mark over Harvard.

In the books

Record was the word of the day Saturday. Freshman Matt Harrigan broke the university record in the 400 individual medley, while the team of Vogt, sophomores Dan Russell and Jamie Holder and freshman Clayton Jones captured a pool record in the 400 free relay.

Harrigan's time of 3:52.56 was 1.3 seconds faster than the time set by Jim Tuchler '87 in 1987. The relay team (2:57.84) simply added insult to injury, not only beating Harvard in the race, but also removing one of Harvard's records from the list.

"We knew that they were capable," Orr said, "but to piece four swimmers together is always challenging. Harvard held the pool record and we got their names off the board."

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On the second day, Quinn (1:59.44, 200 breast), Vogt (44.45, 100 free), Jones (4:26.76, 500 free) and senior Mark Woon (49.04, 100 fly) all registered top finishes for the Tigers.

Princeton will have to face Harvard again, however, in the EISL Championships a month from now, March 5-7.

"This meet is just a stepping stone (for Easterns)," Orr said. "It's definitely going to be closer, but we try to gear equally for both."