Senior Lisa Boyce already had one of the most impressive careers in the proud tradition of Princeton women's swimming and diving. On Friday, she made sure that tale would end with an exclamation point, as she set an Ivy League record and competed in her first career NCAA final.
Boyce finished seventh in the 2014 NCAA 100 fly championship final. Her time of 51.66 was .09 off her Princeton and Ivy League record time of 51.57 during the preliminaries. Stanford senior Felicia Lee, who swam in the adjacent lane to Boyce, won the NCAA title in 50.89.
If you've followed Boyce's career closely, you're probably less stunned that she is a First-Team All-America honoree as you are that it came in the 100 fly. After all, her career has included nine Ivy League individual titles and one All-America honor, and none came in that event.
Her only major collegiate title in the event came a few weeks ago, when she set a then-Princeton record (51.97) in winning the ECAC title. As it turned out, that was merely a glimpse into her potential. Swimming in the final preliminary heat of the 100 fly, Boyce went 51.57 to clinch the fifth-best time in the NCAA field. That guaranteed a berth in tonight's NCAA final (8 pm ET, ESPN3), and it clinched her first First-Team All-America honor; in 2013, she earned All-America Honorable Mention after reaching the 'B' final in the 100 free.
"I am so excited for Lisa to have such a great swim in her senior NCAAs," said head coach Susan Teeter. "She deserves to have this level of success."
Boyce's time matched former Yale standout Alex Forrester for the Ivy League record. The two also hold another distinction, as they have produced one of the Top 25 fastest swims in the event by an American woman.
Boyce is Princeton's first NCAA finalist since Alicia Aemisegger '10, who reached 10 NCAA championship finals and earned 13 All-America honors during her illustrious career. She is also Princeton's first All-America in the 100 fly since Grace Cornelius '95, who achieved the mark in 1991.
"It was just an incredible swim," assistant coach Suzanne Yee said. "She had a very mature approach and said she needed to swim this like she didn't have any races left. She framed it really well. She was also really happy with the way Nikki Larson swam her first NCAA race, which shows the kind of teammate she is."
Larson made her debut at the NCAA Championships in the same event. Swimming in an earlier preliminary heat, the reigning 100 fly Ivy League champion went 53.91 and placed 53rd overall.
"I was happy with her swim," Yee said. "She was probably a little overwhelmed in her first NCAA event, but she competed hard and she'll be more relaxed tomorrow."
Both Boyce and Larson will compete during the final day of the NCAA Championships Saturday. Boyce will compete in the 100 free, while Larson will swim the 200 fly.