Senior Lisa Boyce opened her final Ivy League Championships in thrilling style Thursday night, winning her eighth individual title and guiding two relays to victories to send Princeton out to a 17-point lead in what promises to be a highly competitive championship meet.
While Boyce was part of half the championship efforts during the second session of the championship meet, being held at the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center in Providence, it was another event that gave Princeton a lead heading into the crucial second day. Princeton placed five in the championship final of the 200 IM, an event that earned the reigning Ivy champion 123 points.
Princeton will enter Friday's 11 am preliminary session with 441 points, while Harvard is just behind with 424 points. Yale is third with 351, while Columbia is trying to hold off Penn with 244 points, only one more than the Quakers.
Boyce was the first Tiger to hit the water during the finals session Thursday, as she led off the winning 200 free relay with a 22.29 split. The sophomore trio of Nikki Larson, Elizabeth McDonald and Morgan Karetnick finished off the win in a pool record time of 1:30.91, which was less than .2 of a second faster than Harvard.
The 500 free final turned into a thriller between the league's top two distance swimmers, Yale's Eva Fabian and Penn's Shelby Fortin. While Fortin led after the first 450 yards, Fabian came home in 27.31 to earn the win in 4:44.00. Fortin took second in 4:44.12. Princeton placed two in the top 10, led by Reese Iriondo, who took ninth in 4:49.81. Freshman Rebecca Fleming made her Ivy League debut with a 10th place finish in 4:51.27.
The 200 IM had a significant Orange and Black feel to it, as Princeton outnumbered the rest of the Ivy League 5-3 in the final. Columbia's Alena Kluge earned the win in 1:58.74, but it was Princeton that left with a huge point total. Freshman Olivia Chan placed second in 2:00.18, while sophomore Sada Stewart celebrated her birthday with a fourth-place time of 2:01.34.
Princeton had only one finalist in the 50 free, but Boyce made the most of it. She won her third straight 50 free title in 22.44, and she did so with both the fastest opening 25 and closing 25 in the field. Karetnick and McDonald were both scorers in the consolation final for the Tigers, who then turned their attention to the diving well.
Freshman Caitlin Chambers made her Ivy League debut with a third-place finish in the 1-meter final, scoring 270.00 points in the final. Senior teammate Emily Kaplan, in her first 'A' final, added a seventh-place finish with 250.90 points. Freshman Lisa Li also made her debut and scored 227.45 points to place 12th.
The session ended with the 400 medley relay, an event seemingly made for Boyce, who is the reigning Ivy League champion in both the 100 free and the 100 back. Boyce made her mark, but she didn't even do it in one of her strongest events. After Stewart and Chan handled the first half of the race, Boyce turned a deficit of more than two seconds into a lead with a 52.37 split in the fly. Larson finished the event off with a 50.06 split in the free to send Princeton to a pool record and victory in 3:38.33.