2015 Women’s Ivy League Championship Fan Guide: Home Pool Advantage for the Crimson

2015 Ivy League Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships

  • Dates: Thursday, February 19 – Saturday, February 21, 2015; prelims 11am, finals 6pm
  • Location: Blodgett Pool, Cambridge, Mass (Eastern Time Zone)
  • Defending Champions: Harvard (results)
  • Live Results: Available
  • Live Video: Available
  • Championship Central

The women’s Ivy League championship meet has been dominated by Princeton and Harvard for most of its existence, with the exception of a four-year stretch of Brown team titles from 1996-1999. Since 2000, Princeton has won 11 championships and Harvard 4, including two of the last three. This could be the year that marks the end of the Princeton-Harvard hegemony; Yale has the stars and the depth finally to overtake their Ivy rivals. Since taking over Yale’s women’s team, head coach Jim Henry has done an outstanding job assembling the kind of depth it takes to challenge the perennial winners. However, the Bulldogs, like the Tigers and the rest of the Ancient Eight, have to contend with Harvard’s home pool advantage, not an insignificant 12th-man factor when the scores are as close as they are predicted to be.

The 2014 Women’ Ivy League Championship was an exciting meet; it was the first time the championship meet had been held in speedy Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center at Brown and there were pool records produced in nearly every event. Only one meet record fell, however: then-senior Shelby Fortin of Penn won the 200 free in record-breaking time.

Of the 2014 event winners, only Alena Kluge (Columbia-200 IM), Briana Borgolini (Brown-200 breast), Lisa Boyce (Princeton-50 free, 100 free), and Shelby Fortin (Penn-200 free) graduated. Returning and ready to defend their titles will be Eva Fabian (Yale-500 free, 1650 free), Lilybet MacRae (Yale-1-meter), Sherry Liu (Harvard-1000 free), Emma Smith (Yale-400 IM), Nikki Larson (Princeton-100 fly), Mikaila Gaffey (Columbia-100 breast), Danielle Lee (Harvard-100 back, 200 back), Sydney Hirschi (Yale-200 fly), and Caitlin Chambers (3-meter).

3-Day Schedule

Thursday:
200 Freestyle Relay
500 Freestyle
200 Individual Medley
50 Freestyle
1-Meter Diving
400 Medley Relay

Friday:
200 Medley Relay
1000 Freestyle
400 Individual Medley
100 Butterfly
200 Freestyle
100 Breaststroke
100 Backstroke
800 Freestyle Relay

Saturday:
1650 Freestyle
200 Backstroke
100 Freestyle
200 Breaststroke
200 Butterfly
3-Meter Diving
400 Freestyle Relay

Stars

Brown_w_Kate Dillione

Kate Dillione of Brown. Courtesy of Brown Athletics

Brown  –  Kate Dillione (senior, free/fly), Gina Matsumoto (junior, fly/IM), Reia Tong (junior, free), Aja Grande (freshman, free/back/breast), Katie Roach (sophomore, breast/IM). The Bears brought in an all-new coaching staff this season, led by head coach Kate Kovenock. Brown will be looking to improve on its sixth-place finish of 2014, and to stay ahead of challengers Cornell and Dartmouth. They have particularly strong sprint free relays that could add valuable points.

Columbia  –  Christina Ray (junior, fly/free), Mikaila Gaffey (senior, breast/free/IM), Jen Shahar (sophomore, breast/free), Salena Huang (senior, free/back), Kristine Ng (junior, fly/IM/breast). Columbia tends to show strength in the individual medleys and medley relays. The Lions had a disappointing dual meet season this year but ended the season with strong performances against Princeton and Dartmouth.

Cornell  –  Jenna Immormino (junior, free/fly), Meredith Drummond (senior, breast/IM), Currie Murch Elliot (sophomore, distance free), Billy Murch Elliot (sophomore, back/IM), Cari Stankaitis (sophomore, free). The Big Red concluded its second winning season in a row, reversing a string of difficult years. Coach Joe Lucia has had several excellent recruit classes in recent years and has added depth to the lineup. Cornell brings good momentum into this meet and could surprise us.

Annclaire MacArt of Dartmouth. Photo courtesy of Douglas Allen.

Annclaire MacArt of Dartmouth. Photo courtesy of Douglas Allen.

Dartmouth  –  Kendy Nangle (junior, free/back), Charlotte Kamai (junior, sprint free), AnnClaire MacArt (freshman, free), Olivia Samson (junior, free), Taylor Yamahata (freshman, fly/back). The Big Green lost several point-scorers to graduation and hasn’t really recovered its momentum. The class of 2016 continues to provide most of the firepower for Dartmouth, but there have been a couple of bright spots in the freshman class, including MacArt and Yamahata.

Harvard  –  Georgie Enoch (freshman, breast/IM), Danielle Lee (junior, free/back/fly), Sherry Liu (junior, distance free), Stephanie Ferrell (senior, breast/IM), Kristina Li (freshman, back/fly), Kendall Crawford (junior, back/fly). The Crimson have the most depth of all the Ivies. They have more top-three seeds than anyone else, and they overwhelmingly dominate the backstroke events and medley relays. The defending Ivy champions will be swimming in front of their home crowd and will be tough to beat.

Rochelle Dong of Penn. Photo courtesy of Hunter Martin

Rochelle Dong of Penn. Photo courtesy of Hunter Martin

Penn  –  Rochelle Dong (sophomore, free/fly), Ellie Grimes (sophomore, IM), Meagan Dollard (freshman, free), Taylor Sneed (senior, back/fly), Virginia Burns (freshman, fly/free). Penn now has the kind of depth it takes to move up in the rankings at the conference meet. It is unlikely the Quakers will compete with the Big Three this year but they could very well finish fourth, if they have the kind of meet they have the potential to swim.

Princeton  –  Nikki Larson (junior, fly/free/IM), Beverly Nguyen (junior, IM/fly), Sada Stewart (junior, back/IM), Elsa Welshofer (freshman, free/fly), Claire McIlmail (freshman, free/fly), Olivia Chan (sophomore, breast/IM), Caitlin Chambers (sophomore, diving). Don’t write the Tigers off quite yet. Head coach Susan Teeter has a knack of getting the best swims out of her squad when it counts.

Michelle Chintanaphol of Yale. Photo courtesy of Yale Sports Publicity

Michelle Chintanaphol of Yale. Photo courtesy of Yale Sports Publicity

Yale  –  Eva Fabian (junior, distance), Kina Zhou (sophomore, free/IM), Sydney Hirschi (sophomore, fly/IM), Paulina Kaminski (freshman, breast/IM), Cailley Silbert (freshman, free), Michelle Chintanaphol (sophomore, back/IM), Lilybet MacRae (sophomore, diving). The Bulldogs have been getting increasingly stronger every year, and this year’s squad is really solid, with more depth than ever. Keep your eyes on this Eli squad; it just may be their turn.

 

Showdowns

200 IM – All but one of last year’s “A” finalists are back again this year, and there are new additions to the mix as well. Harvard has three of the top eight seeds, including Geordie Enoch, with the fastest time in the Ivy League so far, and Stephanie Ferrell. Yale boasts four of the League’s top times, including Sydney Hirschi and freshmen Danielle Liu and Paulina Kaminski. However, Princeton landed four in that championship final last year, including Sada Stewart, Beverly Nguyen, and Olivia Chan. It will be everyone’s first swim of the meet so they will all be shooting for sharp prelims swims.

100 fly – Columbia’s Christina Ray comes in with the top time, but freshmen Elsa Welshofer of Princeton and Maddy Zimmerman of Yale aren’t far off. 2014 champion Nikki Larson of Princeton will be looking to defend her title, and Rochelle Dong of Penn is a contender as well.

100 free – Most of the 2014 championship finalists are the top-seeded entrants into this event. Kina Zhou of Yale, Kate Dillione from Brown, Cornell’s Jenna Immormino, Penn’s Rochelle Dong, Princeton’s Claire McIlmail and Nikki Larson, and Harvard’s Victoria Chan all have a legitimate shot at the title this year.

Standings

Women

  1. Harvard
  2. Princeton
  3. Yale
  4. Penn
  5. Columbia
  6. Cornell
  7. Brown
  8. Dartmouth

 

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Ivy_Fan

Nice summary, thank you. I very much appreciate the color-coded comments providing us with swimmers to watch and some of potential showdowns. I expect the swimming portion of the meet to be close, but Harvard has the divers to keep the title.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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