Women's Swim/Dive Ready To Challenge For 2014 Ivy League Championship
Sophomore Elizabeth McDonald sat in the stands at DeNunzio Pool, wearing an orange shirt with the word “Tradition” in black letters, and compared the upcoming weekend to a bullfight.
It may seem like a strange analogy, but she explained it well.
“If the bull gets too excited in the cage, everything goes out of control,” said McDonald, a 2013 first-team All-Ivy honoree. “We’ve done a pretty good job of keeping that energy in, and we can let it explode this weekend.”
Princeton has seen the best from several of its Ivy League opponents throughout the season. Now, the Tigers are ready to show their best, and they know it’s the most important time to do so.
The 2014 Ivy League Championships will be held Thursday-Saturday at the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center in Providence. All sessions (11 am prelims; 6 pm finals) will be streamed live on the Ivy League Digital Network, and there will be a site with live results as well (see links above).
Princeton has won 21 Ivy League championships, which is equal to the number of titles won by all other teams combined, and the Tigers have won 11 of the last 14 Ivy titles. Last season, Princeton shocked an unbeaten Harvard squad by more than 100 points to win the championship at DeNunzio.
This will be the first time that Women’s Ivies will be held at the new Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center, which hosted the men’s meet last year, but Princeton does have experience at the pool. It won the Brown Open there bu more than 200 points in December of 2012.
While the site will be a first, the challenge remains as daunting as ever. Not only is Harvard a strong challenger for the title, but Columbia enters the weekend off its best season ever. The Lions won the dual meet championship during the regular season, and anything short of an Ivy title would be a big disappointment.
Yale has several of the league’s best swimmers, while Cornell had one of its best regular seasons in years. Brown is at home, and both Penn and Dartmouth return Ivy League individual champions.
And then there is Princeton, which has quietly focused on its own training this season. The goal has been simple — be at their best for the Ivy Championships, and see what happens.
It’s time to see.
Leading the way for Princeton will be senior co-captain Lisa Boyce, a seven-time Ivy League individual champion and a 2013 All-America. Boyce is the three-time reigning champ in the 100 back, and she has won back-to-back titles in both the 50 and 100 free.
Boyce has the Ivy’s best time this season in all three events, while sophomore teammate Nikki Larson has Top 10 times in both the 50 and 100 free.
Larson is part of a loaded sophomore class that — here’s that word again — exploded on the scene last season and ignited Princeton’s championship charge. She was a top-three finisher in both fly events and a mainstay on relays.
Classmates Sada Stewart and Elizabeth McDonald, both of whom shared thoughts on Ivies in the video above, were also crucial parts of both the individual and relay events. Stewart was the runner-up in both the 100 and 200 back last season, while McDonald was an A finalist in the 50, 100 and 200 free. Both were on victorious relays as well.
They proved that freshmen can make a major impact at Ivies, and there could be a couple Princeton newcomers who do the same this weekend. A prime example is Olivia Chan, who has Top-4 times in both the 100 and 200 breast this season. The duo of Caitlin Chambers and Lisa Li has impressed all season on the diving boards, and they’d love nothing more than to match Rachel Zambrowicz’ performance as Ivy League Diver of the Meet in 2011.
Of course, Zambrowicz herself may have something to say about that, as she and classmate Randi Brown lead one of Princeton’s deepest diving groups in years to the weekend competition.
Depth is the ultimate word at Ivies. Where dual meets tend to favor individual champions, the conference meet requires excellence throughout the team. Princeton has excelled in that area in the past, sending multiple swimmers from preliminaries to ‘A’ finals in multiple events. A prime example last season was Beverly Nguyen, who earned top-four finishes in three events as a freshman last season. Classmate Morgan Karetnick reached one ‘A’ final last year, but she also won two ‘B’ finals for crucial points.
While some expected names will provide big points, there is often a swimmer or two who delivers a performance that both adds to the team score and inspires teammates.
Ultimately, the tradition that McDonald proudly showed while talking about Ivies has been developed through brilliant efforts up and down the lineup, one year after another.
This year’s event, finally, is here.
And this team is ready.