2023 Ivy League Women’s Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2023 Women’s Ivy League Swimming & Diving Championships

The 2023 Women’s Ivy League Championships kick off on Wednesday, February 15, in Princeton, New Jersey. The Ancient Eight will contest the 200 medley and 800 free relays in timed finals. Individual events begin on Thursday.

Women’s 200 Medley Relay

  • NCAA Record: 1:31.81 – Virginia (2022)
  • Ivy League Record: 1:37.30 – Yale (2018)
  • Ivy Championships Record: 1:37.30 – Yale (2018)
  • Princeton Pool Record: 1:38.24 – Yale (2019)
  • NCAA A Standard: 1:36.24
  • NCAA B Standard: 1:37.02


  1. Princeton – 1:36.89
  2. Yale – 1:37.36
  3. Brown – 1:39.28
  4. Harvard – 1:39.43
  5. Cornell – 1:40.82
  6. Columbia – 1:41.12
  7. Penn – 1:42.14
  8. Dartmouth – 1:42.73

Princeton thrilled the home crowd with a strong start to the meet, winning the 200 medley relay with a new Ivy League, DeNunzio Pool, and program record. After winning this event last year for the first time since 2014, the Tigers successfully defended their crown with a 1:36.89 from Alexa Pappas (24.51), Margaux McDonald (27.57), Nikki Venema (22.88), and Sabrina Johnston (21.93).

Yale came in with the fastest seed time and got off to a quick start from lane 4, with Lindsey Wagner leading the backstrokers in 24.43. Jessey Li split 26.67 on the breast to put the Bulldogs out front by nine-tenths. Venema outsplit Yale’s Alex Massey, 22.88 to 23.89, to come from behind and hand off the lead to Johnston. Johnston’s sub-22 was four-tenths faster than Ophelia Pilkinton from Yale (22.37). The Yale quartet finished in second place with 1:37.36, just .06 off their school record, which was the previous Ivy record, as well.

Third-seeded Brown (Jenna Reznicek, Ellie Brault, Yvonne Jia, and Samantha Scott) took the bronze medal in 1:39.28. The Bears, .53 faster than they had been last year, placed third for the second year in a row.

Harvard (Kaia Li, Aledndra Denisenko, Addie Rose Bullock, and Mandy Brenner) touched fourth.

Women’s 800 Freestyle Relay

  • NCAA Record: 6:45.91 – Stanford (2017)
  • Ivy League Record: 6:59.92 – Harvard (2020)
  • Ivy Championships Record: 6:59.92 – Harvard (2020)
  • Princeton Pool Record: 7:06.98 – Harvard (2019)
  • NCAA A Standard: 7:00.86
  • NCAA B Standard: 7:05.88


  1. Princeton – 7:05.85
  2. Harvard – 7:09.86
  3. Columbia – 7:10.44
  4. Brown – 7:11.35
  5. Yale – 7:12.29
  6. Penn – 7:14.04
  7. Cornell – 7:26.09
  8. Dartmouth – 7:31.88

Princeton made it two-for-two with a 7:05.85 victory in the 800 free relay. That is 10.15 seconds faster than what the Tigers swam last year, and the quartet of Venema, Johnston, Caroline Lewitt, and Ellie Marquardt broke both the pool record and the Princeton program record with their win. The last time Princeton won this race was 2015. Since then, Yale won in 2016 and 2017, and Harvard won the last four in a row.

Venema, fresh off her 22.88 fly split in the medley relay, led off for the Tigers in 1:44.79, nearly breaking the Princeton pool record (1:44.26 set by Miki Dahlke in 2019). That’s a second and a half faster than her entry time in the 200 free individual race, where she is seeded first with 1:46.35. Johnston, the freshman sprinter, took over on the second leg and split 1:46.71, two full seconds faster than her best 200 free flat-start time (1:48.77). British native Lewitt, also a freshman, took the third leg and went 1:47.78. Marquardt brought it home in 1:46.57.

Harvard was in second place from start to finish. The defending champions clocked in at with 1:46.56 from Anya Mostek (1:46.56), Samantha Shelton (1:47.02), Sydney Lu (1:47.03), and Molly Hamlin (1:49.25). Hamlin looked like she might gain on Marquardt after the first 50, but Marquardt, a distance free specialist, had saved quite a bit in the tank for the second half and clocked in at 1:46.57, outsplitting Hamlin by 2.7 seconds.

Columbia, seeded fourth, came in third, while Brown beat Yale for fourth. Top-seeded Penn ended up sixth.

Team Scores After Day 1

  1. Princeton – 128
  2. Harvard – 108
  3. TIE Yale / Brown – 106
  4. Columbia – 102
  5. Cornell – 96
  6. Penn – 94
  7. Dartmouth – 88


Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

The 200 free pool record is actually 1:44.26 from 2019. She did not break it.

Just an old Geezer 👍👴
1 year ago

I’ve been following Samantha Shelton’s career ever since she was a summer league-er in San Antonio. It’s been such a pleasure cheering her on (making her hometown very proud 👍). I’m no genius, but I know talent when I see one. She’s the next Ronald Reagan, I tell you. Watch out for that one.

Demarrit Steenbergen
Reply to  Just an old Geezer 👍👴
1 year ago

I’m sure she is but I fail to see how she will translate her swimming into acting and then into politics

1 year ago

Very impressed by the Tigers, big personal improvements all around!

1 year ago

Nice start for Princeton! Venema is swimming fast.

Reply to  96Swim
1 year ago

She is the east coast beast

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom 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 …

Read More »