In what has been one of Princeton's top rivalries over the last five years, the 23rd-ranked men's swimming and diving team will host Navy Saturday at 2 pm in a showdown between two reigning conference champions.
How close was this meet last season? Current senior Stevie Vines, a three-time Ivy champion in diving, topped Navy's Ben Freedman by a quarter of a point on the 3-meter board in the 14th event of a 16-event competition. That quarter point was a 10-point swing, and it provided the difference in a 152.5-147.5 victory for the Tigers, who went undefeated last season.
And then there was the year before, when Navy became the first team to ever defeat Princeton in a dual meet at Denunzio Pool. Navy completed a 167-133 victory to end a streak of greater than 20 years, though both teams would go on to win their respective league titles at the end of the season.
And there is no reason to expect anything less from this meet on Saturday. Princeton is 4-0 this season, with victories over Ivy League rivals Penn, Cornell, Dartmouth and Brown. The Tigers also won the Brown Invitational and performed well in the season-opening Big Al Open. Navy is 5-2, though it is unbeaten in the Patriot League, and has won three straight heading into this meet.
Both teams have swimmers who rank near or at the top of their respective leagues. In the sprint free events, Princeton's Harrison Wagner (1st in the 50, 2nd in the 100) and Jeremy Wong (1st in the 100) should have tough races with Navy's Zach Ingold (2nd in the 50, 1st in the 100) and Hugh Davison (3rd in the 100, 1st in the 200).
Princeton freshman En-Wei Hu-Van Wright and Navy's Brendan Walsh both top their respective leagues in both the 100 and 200 back, while Princeton freshmen Teo D'Alessandro and Byron Sanborn will face Navy juniors Sean Murphy and Luke Hoffer in the breast events. Navy's Ben Bondurant brings the best time in to the 200 fly, though Princeton's Kaspar Raigla has the top 100 fly time. Bondurant is also a top IM performer for Navy, while junior Daniel Hasler (featured on Thursday's TigerCast) joins Hu-Van Wright and D'Alessandro for the Tigers in the IM.
And while both teams have deep diving groups, perhaps it will come down to Vines and Freedman once again to provide the margin of victory.
The order of events is below.200 medley relay
- Diving break -
- Diving break -
400 free relay