Princeton women's swimming and diving coach Susan Teeter knows how to blend enthusiasm with caution. Having won 10 of the last 13 Ivy League championships, she knows that titles are not won on the first day.
That being said, she loved the way her team raced on this particular first day. An Ivy League record-setting performance by Lisa Boyce and a meet record performance by the 200 free relay helped Princeton jump out to an early lead after six of 21 events in the 2013 Ivy League Championship meet, being held at Princeton's own DeNunzio Pool.
"We know that we have a very strong opponent in Harvard, and we expect both them and the rest of the league to come back strong tomorrow," Teeter said. "This is always an exciting meet, and I was proud of the way we used the energy inside DeNunzio and competed today. But we need to bring even more tomorrow."
Princeton enters Friday's second day with 473.5 points, which leads reigning champion and undefeated Harvard by 61.5 points. Yale (324) holds a slight lead over Columbia (313) for third, while Dartmouth stands fifth with 244 points. You can watch all finals sessions by clicking on the link above, and you can also follow the live results both online and on your mobile device.
Princeton actually started its momentum surge during preliminaries, when it qualified more 'A' finalists than any school. If there were any fears about losing that momentum during the evening session, it was put to rest in style during the first event of the finals, the 200 free relay.
The team of Elizabeth McDonald, Boyce, Morgan Karetnick and Carter Stephens won the 200 free relay in an Ivy League record time of 1:30.49. McDonald went out in 23 second, and Boyce, who had a huge swim still coming, turned up the heat with a split of 21.87. Karetnick (22.79) and Stephens (22.83) handled the final 100 in impressive fashion to give Princeton a victory of more than a second over Yale.
The 500 free went to Penn junior Shelby Fortin, her third straight win in the event, in an impressive time of 4:41.34. Yale's Eva Fabian took second, but Princeton senior Jillian Altenburger defeated Harvard freshman Sherry Liu by more than two seconds to claim third. In a three-day, 21-session race that is expected to go down to the wire, every point will matter, and Altenburger grabbed those extra points by going in 4:45.25.
Princeton also got important points in the 500 'B' final, as both freshman India Boland (12th, 4:51.01) and junior Maureen McCotter (14th, 4:51.73) followed up strong preliminary swims to ensure key team points.
Columbia's Katie Meili was dominant in the 200 IM, winning with an NCAA A-cut time of 1:55.09. Princeton left the event feeling good as well, as a trio of Tiger freshmen took three of the top six spots in the event to grab the team lead. Sada Stewart took third in 1:59.42, while Beverly Nguyen finished fourth in 2:00.45. Both topped Harvard freshman Kendall Crawford, while Princeton's Nikki Larson finished one spot ahead of Harvard's Courtney Otto by taking sixth in 2:01.38.
Two more Princeton underclassmen, Cara Slear and Mallory Remick, reached the 'B' final, with both taking spots in the Top 14.
Boyce won her fourth straight individual final, and the fifth of her career, by taking the 50 free in an Ivy League record time of 22.07. She defeated Yale senior Alex Forrester by more than two-tenths of a second for her second straight 50 free title.
Boyce may have had the highlight performance in the final, but she wasn't the only Princeton swimmer scoring points in the final. Freshman Elizabeth McDonald placed fourth in 22.87, while senior Carter Stephens took eighth in 23.24. Freshman Morgan Karetnick also scored a win in the 'B' final by finishing in 23.21.
Harvard picked up its first win of the weekend when senior Brittany Powell won the 1-meter diving competition with 290.45 points. Princeton junior Rachel Zambrowicz, the 2011 Ivy League Championships Diver of the Meet, moved from eighth in the prelims to second overall with 258.35 points, while freshman Helen Zitkovsky placed sixth in her championship debut with 258.35 points.
Both Randi Brown and Courtney Fieldman qualified for the 'B' final, with Brown claiming 12th with 260.75 points. Fieldman finished 14th with 256.60 points.
Princeton finished the day by taking second in the 400 medley relay in a Princeton record time of 3:37.49, again finishing one spot ahead of Harvard. Stewart gave Princeton an early lead with her 53.73 split in the back, but Meili dominated her 100 breast split to give Columbia a commanding lead that it would never relinquish.
Harvard led Princeton by half a second with 200 yards left, but Larson made that up in her 100 fly split of 52.90. Boyce did her best to try catching Columbia, but her split of 48.67 was enough to keep Princeton in second in Thursday's final event.
Friday's preliminaries will begin at 11 am, while the finals will start at 6 pm. Friday's events will include the 1000, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, the 3-meter diving consolations and the 800 free relay.