After women's swimming head coach Susan Teeter's landmark 100th career win at the women's swim meet this weekend in New York City, there were cheers, celebrating and even a huge orange and black banner, courtesy of the swimmers and their parents, to welcome Teeter into the "Century Club."
But Teeter did not receive the traditional push in the water for such a grand accomplishment.
The Tigers (8-0 overall, 7-0 Ivy League) dominated Columbia by the score of 138-95, but their coach knew that it wasn't time for a full celebration.
"Teeter is extraordinarily modest when it comes to this sort of stuff," senior captain Alyson Goodner said. "We knew that she wouldn't want to be pushed in the water until we do something spectacular as a team. That is what is important to her and to us."
Despite the flawless records of both the men's and women's swim teams to this point — both easily disposed of Dartmouth and Columbia over the intersession week — any true celebration rides on the teams' performances at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet in Cambridge, Mass., Feb. 2-4. Victories there will earn both teams the Ivy League crown and make them the favorites to win the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship.
"We've done all the work now and we can finally focus on the end of our season," senior sprinter Yen Tay said. "Now it's all in our head; it's all about attitude."
Against the Lions, the women's team was able to overcome the exceptional swims of Columbia's All-American and Olympian senior Cristina Teuscher with its deep pool of talent, which garnered the second and third place finishes in most of the events behind Teuscher. For example, after the Lions' star set a pool record in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 50.64 seconds, Princeton followed with two strong second-place finishes by freshman phenom Molly Seto and sophomore Annemarie Casperite, who posted identical times of 53.72.
The divers also continued their dominance, staking their claim as the best women's diving corps in the Ivy League. Sophomore Danielle Stramandi surprised all with a score of 296.625 in the one-meter dive, a new pool and Princeton record. This was complemented by the incredible performance of senior Page Pearcy, who also set a pool record in the three-meter with a score of 315.525.
The men's meet against the Lions showcased the tenacity that has been characteristic of the Tigers the entire year. The Tigers won convincingly by the score of 140-103. While host Columbia boasted some great divers and one exceptional swimmer in each stroke, which led the Lions to victories in both the 400 medley and the 200 free relay and one-two victories in both one-meter and three-meter diving, Princeton still pulled out seven of 13 event victories.
"No one really wants to swim fast a week before they are really going to be tested," head coach Rob Orr said. "But [against Columbia] they had to and they did."
Princeton was primarily propelled by the domination of the freestyle events by sophomores Nathan Rebuck and Kevin Volz. Rebuck swam to victory in both the 100 and 200 free with times of 46.65 and 1:43.07, respectively — two of his best times of the season. Volz also placed first in both the 500 free, with a time of 4:38.00, and in the 1000 free, defeating his competition by over six seconds with a finish of 9:31.96.
The next week involves a lot of rest, relaxation and focusing for both teams as they prepare to do battle at the H-Y-P meet next weekend. The men's and women's teams from Harvard will be undefeated going into the meet, while the Yale men will also bring a legitimate threat to the Ivy crown this weekend, boasting a spotless record as well.
"We're so evenly matched up [against Harvard]," Tay said. "There is no clear advantage in any event. We are going to need to step up and more in all strokes and all distances."
Senior captain Matt Jansen, who remembers the surprising upset victory the Tigers pulled against a talented Harvard squad at the H-Y-P meet his freshman year, knows that anything can happen — and probably will.
"Over the past few years, we have been trying to even out that inequality of talent [of my freshman year]," Jansen said. "But this year we're no longer trying to pull an upset but we are trying to stake our claim as the best."
"It's going to be a dogfight to the last event."