In championship meets, victors grab points wherever possible. And whenever possible.
Last year, Princeton (8-2 overall, 6-1 Ivy League) finished second in the Eastern Women's Swimming League Championships to Brown (7-1, 7-0) by a mere 57 points. In a competition where first-place efforts in individual events earn 20 points and a win in a relay nets 40 points, 57 points does not constitute a blowout.
Starting today and continuing through Saturday, the Tigers will clash with the league's best at the inaugural Ivy League Championships at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. Although holding a new name, this year's championship should again prove to be close.
The Tigers enter the eight-team competition having defeated each Ivy opponent save the Bears, often in convincing fashion, in the dual-meet season. Still, with talented teams from Brown and Harvard (8-2, 5-2) looking to capture the first Ivy title, Princeton swimmers and divers must simply step up.
"We will test ourselves as a team," senior captain Amanda Carlson said. "We must test how well we can do for ourselves."
That unselfish, team-oriented attitude will pervade all their activities this weekend. The Tigers must maintain the spirit that they have brought to each meet this season in order to drive each other toward that extra point.
"The meet can come down to the 14th, 15th and 16th places," Carlson added. "Little points will add up."
If it is to win the team title, Princeton will need significant contributions from each of those traveling to Ivies. Given the format of the meet, the Tigers must be concerned with placing as many swimmers as possible in the evening's finals.
Princeton must perform up to the potential it showed earlier in the season at the Virginia Invitational Dec. 4-6. At that meet, junior Bess Frank eclipsed her own school record in the 100-yard backstroke and nearly shattered the school mark in the 50 freestyle as the Tigers rolled to a solid second-place finish behind the host Cavaliers.
With 40 points going to the top finisher in the relays at Ivy Championships, Princeton must continue its season-long dominance in these events. Carlson foresees the Tigers contending for the top spot in four of the five relays. Also, the likely 200 medley relay team of Frank, sophomore Lindsay Grimm, freshman Ashley Lefrak and Carlson will attempt to improve its time of one minute, 45.33 seconds and secure a spot in the NCAA Championships held in Minneapolis March 19-21.
Princeton will also rely on its nine divers to provide an advantage over its opponents. The freshman tandem of Erin Lutz and Danielle Stramandi will look to continue their winning ways and bring home one-two finishes on both the oneand three-meter boards. With other teams fielding only fiveor six-member contingents, Princeton's strong corps hopes to capture as many of the top-16 slots as possible in both events.