In an exciting and unprecedented showing, the Princeton women’s swimming and diving team tied with Harvard for first place at the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool, drumming up excitement for the highly anticipated Ivy League Championships. All three teams entered the HYP meet undefeated, and despite Harvard sweeping the meet the past three years, the Tigers (5-0-1) pulled out a 169.5-130.5 victory over Yale (4-1) and a 150-150 tie with Harvard (6-0-1), the first in program history.
Sophomore Rebecca Fleming gave the Tigers their first win of the weekend in the 1000m, the first individual event of the meet, finishing in 9:58.48, less than a second faster than Yale’s Cailley Silbert. Sophomore Isabel Shipman also placed in the 1000m, finishing in third. Freshman Claire McIlmail finished third in the 200m freestyle (1:50.35), while sophomore Olivia Chan finished third in the 100m breaststroke (1:04.90). In the 200m butterfly, freshman Elsa Welshofer and junior Beverly Nguyen finished in second and third at 2:01.85 and 2:02.53, respectively. Wins in the final two events allowed Princeton to pull ahead, with juniors Nikki Larson and Elizabeth McDonald finishing first (23.35) and second (23.42), respectively, in the 50m freestyle. Sophomore Caitlin Chambers won the three-meter diving event with 330 points, while sophomore Lisa Li finished fourth. At the end of the first day, Princeton lead Harvard by four points and Yale by 17 points.
After falling behind initially during the second day, the Tigers rallied for the final four events to bring about a tie against Harvard. In the first event of the day, Larson tied with sophomore Katie Diller in the 100m freestyle at 50.64, but the Crimson won the 200m backstroke, 200m breast and 500m free to pull ahead. McDonald, Larson and Welshofer lead the rally, beating all Crimson swimmers in the 100m fly while Chambers completed her sweep of the diving events, coming in first on the one-meter with 298 points. Chambers is undefeated against Ivy League opponents this season. Sophomore Deborah Daly finished third on the one-meter, less than a point more than the next Crimson diver. After Nguyen finished second in the 200m IM (2:04.77) and sophomore Olivia Chan finished in fourth (2:05.64), both teams knew how many points they needed to win the meet. The Tigers needed a win in the final event, the 4x100m free relay, which guaranteed them no worse than a tie. The team of Diller, Larson, McIlmail and junior Mallory Remick rose to the occasion, winning in 3:23.96, less than a quarter of a second faster than Harvard.
The Tigers will conclude their regular season on Friday at Columbia, after which the Tigers will return to Blodgett Pool for the Ivy League Championships Feb. 19-21.