This weekend, the Tigers secured their 24th Ivy League championship title with multiple wins across the board. The Tigers scored 1480 points, defeating both Harvard and Yale, who had 1254 and 1158.5 points, respectively.
In addition to the team’s victory, senior Nikki Venema earned the High Point Swimmer of the Meet award, and first-year Charlotte Martinkus earned the High Point Diver of the Meet award.
“They were incredible,” swimming head coach Bret Lundgaard told ESPN. “We had all the belief in the world in them, and I couldn’t be more proud of what they’ve gone through and the way they continually rise to the occasion.”
Princeton started Wednesday night off strong with wins in the 200-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay. In the 200 medley relay, sophomore Alexa Pappas, junior Margaux McDonald, Venema, and first-year Sabrina Johnston finished with a time of 1:36.89, breaking the previous Ivy record of 1:37.30 and claiming an NCAA B cut.
In the 800 freestyle relay, Venema, Johnston, first-year Caroline Lewitt, and junior Ellie Marquardt had a time of 7:05.85, breaking the DeNunzio Pool record of 7:06.98, and gaining another NCAA B cut time.
On Thursday, the Tigers continued their domination in the meet, with wins in the 200 freestyle relay, 50 freestyle, and the 200 individual medley.
In the 200 freestyle relay, Venema, Johnston, senior Amelia Liu, and sophomore Ela Noble finished with a time of 1:29.22, setting a new Ivy League record.
In the 50 freestyle, Venema touched the wall with a time of 22.23, earning an NCAA B cut time. This was the second 50 freestyle title of Venema’s swimming career.
“It felt really good,” Venema told ESPN. “I know this group has been working so hard, and it’s been so fun to see all our hard work pay off. It’s the best team in the world. It’s been such an honor to lead this team, and I’m going to miss it a lot next year.”
Princeton secured first- and second-place finishes, as well as NCAA B cut times, in the 200 individual medley. First-year Eliza Brown finished first with a time of 1:58.68, and McDonald placed second with a time of 1:59.32.
Meanwhile, in diving, Martinkus earned a first-place score of 302.70 on the one-meter board.
“I was pretty nervous, but I stuck to what I knew and turned my brain off and dove,” Martinkus told ESPN. “It’s super exciting when you hear everyone cheer. I’m so glad. It’s really fun. Everything’s new, everything’s exciting.”
On Friday, the Tigers continued their winning streak, winning the 400 individual medley and 100 butterfly.
Marquardt clocked in a 4:12.69 in the 400 individual medley, earning an NCAA B cut, while first-year Meg Wheeler finished second, also with an NCAA B cut time of 4:13.97.
“It’s all about my girls,” Marquardt said. “Everything I’m doing is for them. This team is the most amazing thing to be a part of. I don’t think I would be as successful as I am anywhere else. It’s the most incredible environment to be a part of.”
Venema earned the second individual title of her swimming career and an NCAA B cut time in the 100 butterfly, with a time of 51.59.
“It feels amazing,” Venema said. “I’ve been working on my fly. It’s my favorite event. It’s really nice to get another win with my team. It’s nice to see us all come together and swim well.”
The Ivy Championships concluded on Saturday night, with Princeton gaining wins in the 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, three-meter diving, and 400 freestyle relay.
In the 100 freestyle, Venema, yet again, claimed victory, earning another NCAA B cut time of 48.33 and setting a new program record. This marked Venema’s second 100 freestyle title of her swimming career. Right behind her was Johnston, with a time of 49.09 — also an NCAA B cut time.
In the 200 breaststroke, McDonald also touched the wall with an NCAA B cut time of 2:11.38, set a new school record, and claimed the first 200 breaststroke title of her swimming career.
In the three-meter diving, Martinkus earned a score of 304.95 and her second title of the meet.
“She is the kind of diver that makes me say ‘wow’ every single day,” diving head coach Ted Everett told ESPN. “I knew she had the ability to do it. It was special to see her step up to the moment.”
The night concluded with an incredible 3:15.25 400 freestyle relay win by Venema, Johnston, Noble, and Liu. The relay team won the Ivy title and broke the school record of 3:17.11.
With the Ivy title secured, the Princeton Tigers advance to the ECAC Championships next weekend with the hopes of improving their times and breaking more records.
Dana Serea is a staff writer for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’
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