In order to ensure the tradition of excellence at Princeton continues, head coach Susan Teeter has brought in a pair of young classes that has the Tiger fan base excited for both the present and the future. While that youth shined once again, senior Lisa Boyce took over her final Big Al Open with a spectacular showing.
The seven-time Ivy League individual champion and 2013 All-America dominated the weekend, winning four individual events and leading off four winning relays, to help Princeton win the annual three-day invitational with 1113 points. Yale posted a strong second-place performance with 961 points, while Dartmouth and Brown shared third with 603 points. Villanova (281) and Rider (151) rounded out the field.
The weekend will also count as Ivy dual wins over both Brown and Dartmouth. Those final scores will be posted to the team schedule when they are available.
“Big Al has been one of my favorite meets since my freshman year, so it's exciting to have this be my last big (prelim/final) meet at home,” Boyce said. “There's nothing better than swimming in front of a crowd at DeNunzio, so it's been such a fun weekend.
“I came into this weekend with some big expectations, so it went pretty much according to plan,” she added. “I think my morning swims on Saturday were my best of the weekend. The 100 fly was a nice surprise and then being able to finish off that double with a solid 100 back is something I'm really happy with right now.”
The weekend victory ends the 2013 portion of the season for the reigning Ivy League champions, who won’t compete again for another eight weeks.
“We are extremely happy with the swimming and diving from the weekend,” Teeter said. “We are exactly where we want to be right now in our season. I am really proud of how we competed. The freshmen were great and are starting to realize what Princeton swimming & diving is all about.
“We are excited for our team to go home for the holidays and see their families,” said Teeter, who has guided Princeton to 11 of the last 14 Ivy titles. “We look forward to coming back to campus for some great training and prepare for the back half of the season. Our entire Princeton swimming and diving family wishes everyone a wonderful holiday season.”
Yale’s Eva Fabian opened Sunday’s final session with a dominant win in the mile; her time of 16:15.33 topped freshman teammate Isla Hutchinson-Maddox by more than 14 seconds. Princeton senior co-captain Maureen McCotter earned a fourth-place finish in 16:54.56, while freshman Rebecca Fleming placed sixth in 16:58.06.
Princeton had three in the ‘A’ final of the 200 back, with sophomore Sada Stewart placing second in 1:59.18. Junior Shirley Wang took third in 2:01.31, while sophomore Beverly Nguyen took sixth in 2:03.14.
Boyce completed her perfect weekend by winning the 100 free in 48.91. A pair of sophomore teammates also reached the ‘A’ final; Nikki Larson placed fifth in 50.57, while Elizabeth McDonald placed eighth in 51.60.
“Lisa’s performances at her last Big Al were great,” assistant coach Suzanne Yee said. “She continues to learn about swimming fast the smart way, and has learned to use her successes and disappointments to fuel where she wants to go as an athlete. Being ranked in the Top 20 nationally in multiple events at this point in the season is a great way to finish off the fall.”
Freshman Olivia Chan, who had a strong weekend with a trio of Top 3 finishes, completed her sweep of the breast events by winning the 200 in 2:16.89. Her final was the closest of the night, as she topped Yale’s Ali Stephens-Pickeral by only .05 of a second. Fellow freshman Melissa Fulenwider joined Chan in the final and placed seventh in 2:24.37.
Underclassmen dominated the 200 fly final, taking seven of the eight spots overall, including each of the top six. While three Tiger sophomores were among those top six, it was Yale’s Hutchinson-Maddox who claimed the win in 1:58.64. Larson placed second in 1:59.56, while Nguyen (2:00.71) and Karetnick (2:01.36) placed fourth and sixth, respectively.
"I am proud of the way our team raced this weekend," Yee said. "It was great to see the things we have been working on in practice come through, and it gives us great information on where we still need to tweak things for the next few months."
The final individual event of the weekend came in the DeNunzio diving well, and a Princeton trio made sure it was an impressive one. Freshman Lisa Li edged out classmate Caitlin Chambers for the 3-meter win with 309.30 points. Chambers placed second with 306.40 points, while sophomore Helen Zitkovsky finished third with 268.30 points. Senior Randi Brown added a sixth-place finish with 244.80 points.
Boyce had one victory left in her Big Al career, as she led off the winning 400 free relay quartet of Stewart, Remick and Larson for a win in 3:20.64.
“I think overall, this has been a great meet for our team,” Boyce said “We've been having some very solid swims, and the energy on deck shows how we're coming together as a team. It's been a good opportunity for us to step up against some strong teams to practice racing and see where we are, which should help keep people motivated as we head into the next part of our season.”
While training will continue after this meet, the Ivy League champion Princeton Tigers won’t compete again until Feb. 1-2, when they head to New Haven for the annual H-Y-P weekend.