2023 Ivy League Women’s Championships: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap

2023 Women’s Ivy League Swimming & Diving Championships


Princeton finished Day 3 in the lead by 231 points, with protracted battles going on for second place (between Harvard and Yale) and fourth place (among Brown, Columbia, and Penn). Much of the team race will shake out in prelims this morning. Harvard has four divers in the A final of the 3-meter event, while Penn is expected to score in the triple digits in the 1650 free. So far, both Princeton and Columbia have outscored their psych sheet seedings by over 100 points.

Day 4 will feature prelims of the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, and 200 fly. Penn senior Anna Kalandadze is looking for her second title of the meet; after winning the 500 free she is the heavy favorite in the 1650. Princeton’s Isabella Korbly comes in the with the top time in the 200 back, but Samantha Shelton of Harvard is back to her freshman-year form and, after winning the 200 free on Friday night, she is hoping to end her senior year with another 200 back title. Nikki Vemena of Princeton is poised to be the lone triple-event winner of the meet if she adds the 100 free title to her 50 free and 100 fly wins. Princeton’s Eliza Brown is top seed in the 200 breast but it’s a crowded field and Yale’s Jessey Li, who won the 100 breast last night, is a favorite, as well. Yale’s Alex Massey is seeded first in the 200 fly, an event that Harvard’s Abigail Carr won last year.

Women’s 200 Backstroke – Prelims

  • Ivy League Record: 1:52.56 – Felicia Pasadyn, Harvard (2020)
  • Ivy Championships Record: 1:52.56 – Felicia Pasadyn, Harvard (2020)
  • Princeton Pool Record: 1:51.42 – Natalie Coughlin, Cal (2003)
  • NCAA A Standard: 1:50.50
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 1:53.97

Top 8:

  1. Samantha Shelton, Harvard – 1:55.66
  2. Meg Wheeler, Princeton – 1:56.72
  3. Aziza Ganihanova, Columbia – 1:57.07
  4. Anya Mostek, Harvard – 1:57.58
  5. Liza Whitmire, Princeton – 1:57.89
  6. Addie Rose Bullock, Harvard – 1:57.93
  7. Quinn Murphy, Yale – 1:58.32
  8. Isabella Korbly, Princeton – 1:58.73

Harvard came away with a huge advantage in the 200 back, placing three in the A final and two more in the B final to exceed their psych sheet expectations by 60 points. Samantha Shelton, who won this event as a freshman, posted the top time of the morning in 1:55.66.

Meg Wheeler of Princeton won the first circle-seeded heat in 1:56.72, dropping four-tenths off her seed time. Yale’s Raime Jones was second but wound up being DQd, which is a big blow for the Bulldogs as they battle Harvard for second place. Columbia’s Grace Zhou improved her seed time by 2.3 seconds to finish second from out in lane 1 with 1:59.69.

Shelton was followed by teammate Anya Mostek (1:57.59) and Princeton’s Lisa Whitmire (1:57.89) in heat 3. Columbia’s Aziza Ganihanova took the final heat in 1:57.07, followed by Yale’s Quinn Murphy (1:58.32) and Princeton’s Isabella Korbly (1:58.73).

Women’s 100 Freestyle – Prelims

  • Ivy League Record: 47.32 – Iszak Henig, Yale (2022)
  • Ivy Championships Record: 47.63 – Lia Thomas, Penn (2022)
  • Princeton Pool Record: 47.85 – Bella Hindley, Yale (2019)
  • NCAA A Standard: 47.18
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 48.44

Top 8:

  1. Nikki Venema, Princeton – 48.53
  2. Sabrina Johnston, Princeton – 49.36
  3. Ophelia Pilkinton, Yale – 49.58
  4. Morgan Lukinac, Brown – 49.77
  5. Mandy Brenner, Harvard – 49.82
  6. Emily MacDonald, Columbia – 49.87
  7. Samantha Scott, Brown – 49.88
  8. Priscilla Wongso, Cornell – 49.92

Yale’s Marissa Healy opened the 100 free heats with a 51.96, dropping six-tenths off her seed time. Columbia’s Sally Ma won heat 2 in 50.96, a PB by four-tenths.

Ophelia Pilkinton of Yale won the first circle-seeded heat in 49.58, followed by Brown’s Morgan Lukinac (49.77) and Cornell’s Priscilla Wongso (49.92).

Emily MacDonald of Columbia led the field in the penultimate heat, clocking in at 49.87 in front of Harvard’s Molly Hamlin (50.08) and Princeton’s Ela Noble (50.14).

Top-seeded Nikki Venema took the final heat in 48.53, a tick better than her seed time. Brown’s Samantha Scott and Harvard’s Mandy Brenner were just behind Venema at the 50 wall, but Princeton’s Sabrina Johnston outsplit them by half a second over the final 50 yards to come in second behind her teammate. Johnston stopped the clock at 49.36, followed by Brenner (49.82) and Scott (49.88) in third and fourth, respectively.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke – Prelims

  • Ivy League Record: 2:08.47 – Jaycee Yegher, Harvard (2020)
  • Ivy Championships Record: 2:08.47 – Jaycee Yegher, Harvard (2020)
  • Princeton Pool Record: 2:09.41 – Katie Meile, Columbia (2013)
  • NCAA A Standard: 2:06.18
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 2:09.15

Top 8:

  1. Ava Franks, Yale – 2:12.22
  2. Margaux McDonald, Princeton – 2:12.80
  3. Jessey Li, Yale – 2:13.23
  4. Isabella Pytel, Penn – 2:13.75
  5. Eliza Brown, Princeton – 2:14.42
  6. Olivia Paoletti, Yale – 2:15.10
  7. Anna Boeckman, Penn – 2:15.66
  8. Ashley Hu, Columbia – 2:15.73

The 200 breast was a much-needed event for Yale. After winning the season’s dual meet trophy with a perfect 7-0 dual meet record, the Bulldogs are sitting 25.5 points behind Harvard and 256.5 points behind Princeton, and needed a big Day 4 to claim second place in the team standings. They did just that, putting three into the A final and shutting Harvard out.

Jessey Li got off to a strong start in the first circle-seeded heat, leading the field from lane 5 through the first half of the race. Princeton’s Margaux McDonald put up a strong second half and came away with the heat win in 2:12.80, but Li dropped 2.1 seconds off her seed time to finish second in 2:13.23. Harvard’s Victoria Eisenhauer took third (2:15.89).

Yale’s Ava Franks and Olivia Paoletti ruled the next heat from the middle lanes, touching 1-2 with 2:12.22 and 2:15.10. Penn’s Anna Boeckman was third from lane 1, dropping 3.6 seconds to post a 2:15.66.

The final heat was much closer, with five swimmers bunched together at the halfway mark. Princeton’s Eliza Brown broke away from the crowd on the third 50 but Penn’s Isabella Pytel had the strongest final 50 to win the heat in 2:13.75 to Brown’s 2:14.42.

Women’s 200 Butterfly – Prelims

  • Ivy League Record: 1:54.60 – Alex Forrester, Yale (2013)
  • Ivy Championships Record: 1:54.60 – Alex Forrester, Yale (2013)
  • Princeton Pool Record: 1:54.60 – Alex Forrester, Yale (2013)
  • NCAA A Standard: 1:52.86
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 1:56.14

Top 8:

  1. Karen Liu, Columbia – 1:57.59
  2. Lilly Derivaux, Yale – 1:58.61
  3. Alex Massey, Yale – 1:58.83
  4. Nell Chidley, Brown – 2:00.06
  5. Junseo Kim, Yale – 2:00.40
  6. Zehra Bilgin, Brown – 2:00.42
  7. Allison Martin, Columba – 2:00.46
  8. Vanessa Chong, Penn – 2:00.53

Yale closed the morning with another strong performance, this time shutting both Princeton and Harvard out of the A final. The Bulldogs placed three swimmers in the A final of the 200 fly, including #2 Lilly Derivaux, #3 Alex Massey, and #5 Junseo Kim. Massey was third and Kim placed seventh in last year’s final.

Brown’s Nell Chidley won the first circle-seeded heat from lane 3, swimming next to defending champion Abigail Carr of Harvard. Chidley clocked a 2:00.06, taking a second off her seed time. Yale’s Kim was second (2:00.40), while Princeton’s Heidi Smithwick (2:01.10) came from behind to touch out Carr (2:01.23).

Columbia’s Karen Liu led heat 3 from start to finish, clocking a 1:57.59, half a body length ahead of second-place Derivaux (1:58.61). Brown’s Zehra Bilgin was third to the wall in 2:00.42.

The final heat of the morning went to Yale’s Massey (1:58.83), followed by Columbia’s Allison Martin (2:00.46) and Penn’s Vanessa Chong (2:00.53).


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Gummy Shark
1 year ago

Why aren’t people commenting on these ivy league articles as much as they did last year? These women are swimming fantastically!

Reply to  Gummy Shark
1 year ago

I love Ivy League swimming, but I guess everyone’s just following the ACC and SEC – especially since Princeton’s running away with the Ivies this year. Too bad, because there have been some great performances by these student-athletes

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 …

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