Four of Princeton's six swimmers on the NCAA Championships squad competed during Thursday's preliminary session during the opening day of the national meet. Though none will return in the evening, the coaching staff was pleased with the overall performance and the experience gained.
Freshman Byron Sanborn made his NCAA debut in the 200 IM and finished in 1:48.69. The event will help shake any nerves as he prepares for his specialty stroke, breast, over the next two days. Sanborn currently ranks 24th in the 200 breast in 1:55.58, and there are only three freshmen nationally who have faster times this season. He is also eligible to compete in the 100 breast, where he is 40th in a time of 53.94.
The 100 breast will be held tomorrow, while the 200 is Saturday.
Sophomore Harrison Wagner opened his meet in the 50 free, and he placed 30th overall in 19.82. The reigning Ivy League champion in the event, Wagner was the top Ivy individual finisher in any of the Thursday preliminary events.
Sophomore Michael Strand and freshman Teo D'Alessandro joined Sanborn and Wagner in the 400 medley relay, where Princeton finished an Ivy League best 27th in 3:14.43. Strand, the Ivy League champion in the 100 back, went out in 47.88, and Sanborn followed in 55.23. D'Alessandro went 47.43 in the fly relay, a time that would have been third best at the Ivy Championships, and Wagner rounded out the relay with a 43.64 in the 100 free.
"It was a productive first day for our young guys," assistant coach Mitch Dalton said. "This is competition at the highest level, and we want them to compete and grow from it. They can only get better from this type of experience, and I think we'll see signs of that growth throughout the weekend."
Preliminaries will resume Friday at 11 am. You can follow live results throughout the weekend here.