Here we go again.
One year after a tense three-day showdown at the Ivy League Men's Swimming & Diving Championships, Princeton and Harvard are back at it. The Tigers, winners of the last three Ivy League championships, won four of six championship finals Thursday night, but Harvard left Denunzio Pool with a 27-point lead through two of six sessions.
Individual wins by Paul Nolle and Jon Christensen, as well as relay victories for the 200 free and 400 medley (the latter in an Ivy League Championships meet record), helped Princeton record 444 points after one day of the 2012 Ivy Championships. Harvard won the other two events and posted more Top-16 finishers to post a leading score of 471 points.
Already, it looks like a two-team race, as no other squad has scored 300 yet. Yale stands in third with 289 points, while Penn is fourth with 245.5 points.
The Tigers got a strong start to the meet, as freshman Harrison Wagner joined the senior trio of Matthew LaMonaca, Michael Monovoukas and Colin Cordes to win the 200 free relay in 1:18.92. Harvard took second in 1:19.17, while no other team finished under 1:20.
Nolle won his first career individual title in impressive fashion, winning the 500 free in 4:18.92. Only one swimmer, Yale's Rob Harder, was within two seconds of Nolle, who had a trio of top-three finishes at the Ivy Championships last year. By the time the eight swimmers touched the first wall, Nolle had a lead he would never relinquish.
Christensen won his sixth career Ivy League individual title and his third straight 200 IM with a winning time of 1:45.71. He had a tough duel with Harvard freshman Chuck Katis, but he grabbed a lead midway through the final and never let it go.
A pair of freshmen competed in the 'B' final, and Oliver Bennett took the win in 1:49.57. Conner Jager added a 14th-place finish in 1:51.39.
While Princeton won the 200 free relay, it was Harvard that had the edge in the 50 individual final. Sophomore Chris Satterthwaite won a blazing showdown with Wagner, winning in 19.84, while Wagner placed second in 19.91. The Crimson took the next two spots, while Cordes (20.14) and LaMonaca (20.18) took fifth and sixth, respectively.
Senior Michael Monovoukas placed 12th overall in the event in 20.37.
Over the last two years, the diving competition has been a back-and-forth duel between Harvard's Michael Stanton and Princeton's Stevie Vines. The Tiger junior had the edge in the individual matchup today, and he finished second with 347.65 points. However, nobody could catch Harvard freshman Michael Mosca, who followed up his sweep at H-Y-P with a 1-meter win (359.55 points).
Princeton placed two more divers in the championship final. Sophomore Mark O'Connell finished fifth with 307.35 points, while junior Chris Kelly finished eighth with 280.60 points.
The Tigers set a championship meet record in the 400 medley relay with an impressive finish of 3:11.38. Junior Kaspar Raigla got the team off to a strong start with a back split of 47.88, which had the team out in front after the first 100 yards. Christensen followed with a breast split of 52.21 to improve the lead to more than two seconds over Harvard. Freshman Michael Strand and Cordes finished off the victory, which cut into the Crimson lead at the conclusion of the first day.
The second day of the competition will begin with preliminaries at 11 a.m., and championship finals will begin at 6 p.m.