2016 Ivy Women’s Championship: Dream Ends for Yale, Harvard Back on Top

Chris DeSantis
by Chris DeSantis 1

February 21st, 2016 News


All weekend, the story had been the chance for Yale to break nearly two decades of uninterrupted Princeton/Harvard dominance in the Ivy League. While the Bulldogs came up short, they have a bright future ahead of them, and still managed to outlast defending champion Princeton in their home pool.

Harvard, who has won five out of the last seven championships made their way back to the top. Their win was fueled by depth across the board, particularly in diving.

1650 Freestyle

Cailley Silbert won her second distance title of the weekend, upsetting teammate and co-defending champion Eva Fabian once again. Yale put three swimmers in the top eight to surge to the lead. Harvard, however had enough firepower (five top 16 finishers) to minimize the damage.

Top three

  1. Cailley Silbert, Yale 16:19.16
  2. Eva Fabian, Yale 16:24.05
  3. Willa Wang, Harvard 16:29.81

200 Backstroke

Lindsay Temple scored the highlight of the session for Princeton, scoring an upset victory over defending champion Danielle Lee. Temple controlled the entire race, setting a meet record in the process.

The event was crucial for Harvard’s win however, as they placed three swimmers in the top eight with Yale locked out of the final.

Top three

  1. Lindsay Temple, Princeton 1:55.14
  2. Danielle Lee, Harvard 1:55.71
  3. Kendall Crawford, Harvard 1:56.61

100 Freestyle

Bella Hindley scored her third victory of the meet, beating teammate Kina Zhou who was the defending champion. That win garnered her the Freshmen of the Year award.

The event also highlight what was a strong final day for 4th place Penn, who had multiple swimmers top eight in the first three races but were unfortunately too far behind Princeton to make up any ground on the final evening.

Top three

  1. Bella Hindley, Yale 49.08
  2. Kina Zhou, Yale 49.34
  3. Rochelle Dong, Penn 49.43

200 Breaststroke

Harvard’s Meagan Popp and Brown’s Ally Donahue had to share the title. They traded leads twice in the race, with Donahue leading for the first 100 before falling behind at the 150 mark. Donahue roared home to make it a dead heat. Yale’s defending champion, Paulina Kaminski, finished 8th.

Top three

  1. Meagan Popp, Harvard and Ally Donahue, Brown 2:12.18
  2. Geordie Enoch, Harvard 2:13.67

200 Butterfly

Harvard’s Sonia Wang battled back win decisively over Yale’s Sydney Hirschi. Yale’s last gasp came in this race, as they put three swimmers on the top final but needed a bigger advantage going into diving.

Top three

  1. Sonia Wang, Harvard 1:57.07
  2. Sydney Hirschi, Yale 1:57.77
  3. Nancy Hu, Penn 1:58.20

3M Diving

In the Ivy League format, divers count as just 1/3 of a roster spot. It’s common for the top teams to bring up to six divers in this format. That’s precisely what Harvard did, and they managed to get all six in the championship final to guarantee their win.

Yale, who brought a similar number, could only manage two as a result, with Princeton entirely to the B-Final.

Top three

  1. Hannah Allchurch, Harvard 334.95
  2. Lilybet MacRae, Yale 325.35
  3. Jing Leung, Harvard 315.70

400 Freestyle Relay

Yale had the two top 100 freestylers in the league bookending their relay, and won with plenty of room to spare. Their swim broke the league record, held by Princeton from the previous year.

Top three

  1. Yale 3:18.09
  2. Princeton 3:19.51
  3. Brown 3:20.70

Final scores and awards

As mentioned earlier, Hindley was named Freshmen of the Year. Eva Fabian won the career high point award, as her 345 individual points were more than any of the graduating class of 2016. Lilybet MacRae made it a clean sweep for the Bulldogs as she won diving high point.

Final scores were as follows:

  1. Harvard University 1500
  2. Yale University 1422
  3. Princeton University 1411.5
  4. University of Pennsylvania 1025
  5. Brown University 709.5
  6. Columbia University 670
  7. Cornell University 539.5
  8. Dartmouth College 532.5





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Sandy Thatcher (Princeton '61)
5 years ago

A very exciting meet, with the lead among the top three changing multiple times over the course of the three days. But in the end Harvard’s placing all six of its divers in the 3-meter finals made the crucial difference in scoring, enabling its team to win the meet before the final relay, unlike last year when Princeton squeaked through in that last event. It seems likely that these three teams will be battling for Ivy supremacy for some years to come, though Penn is beginning to show signs of breaking into the top echelon also. The competition was at a high level throuyghout, and all the Ivy teams should be proud of their performance, with many school records broken… Read more »

About Chris DeSantis

Chris DeSantis

Chris DeSantis is a swim coach, writer and swimming enthusiast. Chris does private consulting and coaching with teams and individuals. You can find him at www.facebook.com/cdswimcoach. Chris is a 2009 Graduate from the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. He was the first professional athletic coach …

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