Senior Jon Christensen authored a career that will go down among the best in the history of Princeton men's swimming and diving. He punctuated that tale with an exclamation point Saturday night by reaching the NCAA Championship final in the 200 breast and earning first-team All-America honors.
Christensen, a senior tri-captain who has led Princeton to four straight Ivy League team championships, finished seventh in the 200 breast in 1:55.20. He became Princeton's first NCAA Championship finalist since Olympian Doug Lennox '09, who placed sixth in the 100 fly at the 2009 national championships.
He also helped guide Princeton to another Top 25 finish. The Ivy League and CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major champion placed 23rd at the NCAA Championships with 33 team points. It was the best finish for any team outside of one of the major conferences.
Christensen actually set a Princeton and Ivy League record during the preliminary heats, when he clinched his All-America honor. Christensen, who won the Ivy League individual title in 1:55.96, will leave Princeton with a record time of 1:54.80.
Senior Carlos Almeida became Louisville's first NCAA champion by winning the 200 breast in 1:51.88. The race was a thriller, as the top three finishers were separated by only .09 of a second.
Sophomore Paul Nolle ended an amazing second season by finishing 25th in the mile in 15:13.96. Like Christensen, Nolle won Ivy League individual titles in the three events (500, 1000, mile), and he competed in both the 500 and the mile at the NCAAs. Nolle will be one of the top returning swimmers in the league next season.
Another key swimmer for Princeton will be Kaspar Raigla, who capped his junior season with a 32nd-place finish in the 200 back (1:46.99). It was his second 32nd-place finish in as many nights; he went 48.90 in the 100 back to place 32nd.
Freshman Michael Strand, who took 29th in the 100 back Friday (48.18), swam the anchor leg in the 400 free relay, which finished 23rd in 3:00.75. Strand joined Christensen, Raigla and classmate Harrison Wagner to earn a Top-25 finish; one day earlier, that quartet earned All-America Honorable Mention by taking 11th in the 200 medley relay (1:26.80).