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25 titles: Men’s track and field and women’s swim and dive dominate at Ivy League Championships

Group of men stand huddled together holding banner reading "Ivy 2024 Men's Indoor Track and Field Championships" by an indoor track.
Men’s track and field won their ninth straight Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor title in Cambridge, Massachusetts this past weekend. 
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This past weekend, men’s track and field (1–1 Overall, 0–0 Ivy League) and women’s swim and dive (11–1 Overall, 7–0 Ivy League) traveled north to compete in the Ivy League championships for their respective sports. Both teams claimed their 25th Ivy League titles when the weekend ended. The dynasty continued for men’s track and field as they captured their ninth straight championship win. 

Swim & Dive takes an early lead and never looks back 


On Wednesday evening, the championships started with the 200 medley relay. The Tiger quartet of junior Alexa Pappas, senior Margaux McDonald, sophomore Sabrina Johnston, and junior Ela Noble started the meet in exciting fashion — beating the Ivy meet record set by Yale last year and touching the wall after 1:36.89. The time met the NCAA championships “B” qualifier. Shortly after, Princeton placed first in the 800-yard freestyle relay, beating a seven-year-long pool record. After the first day of action, the Tigers held an 18-point lead over Harvard (5–2, 5–2)  and Brown (4–3, 4–3). 

“My experience at the Ivy League Championships was full of excitement and powerful energy," Johnston wrote to The Daily Princetonian. “The entirety of the meet, the whole team was on a path of confidence, strength, and love for one another. Everything I did was for the team, and it was much more meaningful that day.”

On the second day of competition, the Orange and Black extended their lead over the Crimson after a dominant evening in the water. The first major win of the night came when the Tigers swept the podium during the 200 Individual Medley (IM). First-year Dakota Tucker won the event with a time of 1:56.77, good performance for a NCAA “B” cut. Princeton received 137 points from the event, with five of the top six finishers being Tigers. 

“Heading into that race, I felt a sense of enjoyment that I had never experienced in the sport, knowing that my teammates would be with me every step of way,” Tucker wrote to the ‘Prince.’ “After touching the wall, I didn’t even give a thought to my own results, but was just overjoyed to see the results of my teammates. I could not have felt more proud of them in that moment... that moment truly defined what it means to be a Princeton Tiger.”

In the 50 freestyle final, it was Johnston staring once again. Johnston touched the wall at 22.07, beating her teammate Noble by 0.06 seconds. Johnston broke a previous pool record set by a Yale swimmer in 2017. 

“The 50 [freestyle] and 100 [freestyle] are such quick races that you don’t really have time to think,” Johnston noted. “By the time I stepped up on the blocks, all I had to do was feed off of the energy that came from my teammates on the edges of the pool and focus on myself and no one else.”


In the one-meter diving finals, Harvard took home the crown. However, two Princeton divers — juniors Francesca Noviello and Maddie Seltzer — finished in the top 10. 

The Tigers ended Thursday’s competition in stellar fashion, breaking an Ivy meet record in the 200 freestyle relay. Coming in at 1:29.03, Johnston, Noble, sophomore Heidi Smithwick, and junior Isabella Kornly broke an Ivy League record set at Denunzio Pool last season during the 2023 conference championships. Following day-two of competition, Princeton held a 85.5-point lead over the Crimson. 

With six crucial events lined up for Friday evening, the third night of the competition saw the Tigers maintain a healthy lead at the top of the standings. 

In the 100-yard butterfly, Smithwick and Johnston finished in the top five and gave the Tigers crucial points to start off the night. 

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Next up was the 400 Individual Medley (IM), which was dominated by first-year swimmers across the league as the top four finishers were all rookies. Fortunately for Princeton, the gold and silver medals were taken home by Tigers. Tucker touched the wall at 4:07.32 while first-year Eleanor Sun touched the wall seconds after. Both times met the NCAA “B” standard time. 

In the 100 breaststroke, the Tigers had just one swimmer in the championship final. McDonald had the third fastest preliminary time out of the eight swimmers. At the end of the competition, McDonald finished first with a time of 1:00.20 in the finals and took home her second gold medal of the tournament. Heading into the final day of competition, Princeton had 953 points, ahead of the Crimson, who gathered 857.5 and found themselves in second place.

To wrap up the championships on Saturday, Johnston and Tucker continued their dominance. Johnston set another pool record in the 100 freestyle, coming in at 48.28. In the 200 breaststroke, Tucker was brilliant down the stretch, comfortably beating out her teammate — sophomore Eliza Brown — in the final. The meet concluded with the 400 freestyle relay, where the Tigers came out on top once again. After 20 grueling events, Princeton won the Ivy League Championships with 1403 accumulated points. 

Following the conclusion of the tournament, three Tigers earned major awards. Head Coach Abby Brethauer was named the Coach of the Year. Tucker was named High Point Swimmer of the Meet while Ellie Marquardt was named the Career High Point Swimmer. Tucker finished with 96 points, the highest points total achievable during the meet. A full list of postseason awards can be found here. 

“Getting that award [High Point Swimmer] meant a lot to me as it definitely showed how hard I had worked throughout the season and that no matter whether you are a [first year] coming into your first year of collegiate swimming, you are still able to achieve to the best of your ability,” Tucker added. 

History Makers: Nine in a row for men’s track and field

On Sunday evening, Princeton men’s track and field claimed their 25th Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Indoor Track and Field title. The team dominated the competition from start to finish, finishing with 168 total points. Cornell finished in second place, 53 points behind Princeton.

One standout athlete of the competition was junior Philip Kastner, who won the heptathlon with 5591 points. He won both the long jump and shot put events. Junior distance runner Samuel Rodman had a spectacular performance of his own in the 800-meter finals, finishing in first place with a time of 1:48.65.

Perhaps the most memorable part of the weekend was the 200-meter finals. The Tigers swept the podium — first-year Jackson Clarke took first, followed by first-year Zach Della Rocca and sophomore Joey Gant. Clarke’s time of 21.15 was a meet record. 

As shown by Tiger first-years across the meet, the future is very bright for men’s track and field.

The Tigers dominated both relays, winning the 400-meter relay and the 800-meter relay. Another impressive individual performance for Princeton came courtesy of junior distance runner Nicholas Bendsten. Bendsten had two first-place finishes in the 3000-meter and 5000-meter races. His time of 7:54.81 was an Ivy League 3000- meter record. 

One of the events that the Tigers struggled with was the pole vault, where the Tigers placed fifth. After losing Olympian Sondre Guttormsen ’23 to graduation, Princeton is waiting for their next podium performer in the event. 

The next stop for men’s track and field will be Boston, MA. A select group of athletes will head to “The Track at New Balance” to compete in the NCAA championships next weekend.

Hayk Yengibaryan is an associate Sports editor for the ‘Prince.’

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