Princeton knows that the ultimate success of the 2013-14 season will be determined on the road, but the five-time reigning Ivy League champions made their biggest home weekend a memorable one. The Tigers won five events Sunday night to complete their wire-to-wire victory at the 2013 Big Al Open.
The weekend included a trio of record-breaking swims, including two from sophomore Teo D’Alessandro, who broke the Princeton record in both the 200 and 400 IM. Junior Michael Strand, the reigning Ivy League champion in the 100 back, broke his own record in that event as well.
“The Big Al Open is a special meet for our program, so heading into the weekend we were excited for the opportunity to race in DeNunzio Pool,” assistant coach Mitch Dalton said. “Obviously, the swims by Michael Strand and Teo D’Alessandro stick out as exceptional. While it is too early to tell if their swims will be fast enough to qualify for NCAAs, they have proven they are ready to compete at that level.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to reach our end-of-season team goals, so it’s back to work on Monday,” Dalton added.
Princeton won the Big Al Open with 1283 points, while Dartmouth finished second with 850 points. Brown (669), Columbia (470), Rider (309), and Villanova (147) rounded out the final four spots. The weekend also counts as the Ivy League dual wins over both Brown and Dartmouth; those scores will be posted when available.
Senior Paul Nolle, the 2012 Ivy League champion in the mile, made his final Big Al swim an impressive one. He won the first individual event of the final session in 15:26.53, while freshman teammate Sam Smiddy completed a strong weekend by placing third in 15:36.72. Sophomore Zach Ridout gave the Tigers three in the Top 5 with a fifth-place time of 15:47.99.
Junior Connor Maher is the reigning Ivy League champion in the 200 back, and he held off sophomore teammate En-Wei Hu-Van Wright for a win in 1:43.98. Hu-Van Wright, who figures to be one of Maher’s top challengers for the Ivy title this year, took second in 1:44.26, while freshman Anton Lundin placed fifth in 1:50.18.
Princeton put three in the top five of a third straight event, and once again the top Tiger took the event. Sophomore Jeremy Wong claimed the 100 free in 43.98, beating Brown’s Jeffrey Strausser by less than .2 of a second. Junior Harrison Wagner finished fourth in 44.55, while sophomore Sandy Bole was fifth in 45.17.
Dartmouth senior Nejc Zupan, one of the league’s most decorated swimmers, won the 200 breast in 1:56.52. Two Princeton swimmers rounded out the Top 3; sophomore Jack Pohlmann placed second in 2:00.78, while senior co-captain Daniel Hasler was third in 2:00.98.
D’Alessandro helped Princeton to a win in the final event, the 400 free relay. He led off a quartet that included Wagner, Maher and Wong for a win in 2:55.26, while the foursome of Hu-Van Wright, Strand, freshman Julian Mackrel and Bole placed second in 2:58.29.
Princeton is off until Jan. 4, when it travels to Annapolis to take on Navy at 2 pm.