2024 Ivy League Women’s Fan Guide: Princeton’s First-Years Will Be Key to Title Defense

2024 Ivy League Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships

Defending champions Princeton have won two of the last three Ivy League Women’s championships and look poised to defend their title this year. The Tigers earned the 2023-24 Ivy League Dual Meet crown with a 7-0 record in conference play, something they hadn’t done since 2019-20.

But the championship title is earned at the Ivy League Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, and Princeton is hoping for a repeat performance from last year, when they stunned the field, bouncing back to win Ivies after a very difficult 2022 championship meet; that year, the Tigers finished out of the top 3 for the first time 1996, when the conference meet included the 8 Ivies plus Army West Point and Navy.

Princeton returns the vast majority of their scorers from last year, including seniors Margaux McDonald (87 points) and Ellie Marquardt (83), and will be aided by a strong group of first-years including Eleanor Sun and Dakota Tucker, who rank 1st or 2nd in at least 5 events.

Harvard has won 4 of the last 7 conference championships and come into this year’s meet with most of their core scoring group intact. In addition to Anya Mostek (84) and Sydney Lu (64), they have their top 3 divers from 2023 (Nina Janmyr, Remi Edvalson, and Elizabeth Miclau, each of whom scored 54), as well as first-years Alexandra Bastone and Stephanie Iannaccone.

The battle for 3rd place is expected to be tight this year. Yale, who won in 2017 and has been in the top-3 every year since 2014, could be overtaken by Brown. The Bears have all five of their most prolific scorers from last season (Morgan Lukinac and Zehra Bilgin-61; Anna Podurgiel-59; Jenna Reznicek-47; and Sam Scott-46.5), while the Bulldogs return their top 4 (Alex Massey-78; Ava Franks-76; Lilly Derivaux-70; and Jessey Li-67).

Event Schedule

Wednesday

  • 200 medley relay
  • 800 free relay

Thursday

  • 500 free
  • 200 IM
  • 50 free
  • 1-meter diving
  • 200 free relay

Friday

  • 100 fly
  • 400 IM
  • 200 free
  • 100 breast
  • 100 back
  • 3-meter diving
  • 400 medley relay

Saturday

  • 1650 free
  • 200 back
  • 100 free
  • 200 breast
  • 200 fly
  • 3-meter diving
  • 400 free relay

2023 Final Standings

  1. Princeton 1480
  2. Harvard 1254
  3. Yale 1158.5
  4. Brown 951.5
  5. Columbia 910.5
  6. Penn 832
  7. Cornell 552
  8. Dartmouth 255.5

Swimmers to Watch

Brown: Morgan Lukinac (So-Free), Jenna Reznicek (Jr-Back/Fly), Sam Scott (Sr-Free), Gillian Tu (Fr-Breast), Sumner Chmielewski (So-Free/IM/Fly)

Lukinac is one of the top sprinters in the League, with seed times of 22.67/49.09/1:47.40 and seedings of 4/3/2 in the 50/100/200 free. Reznicek won the 100 back as a freshman and was runner-up last year. She comes in seeded 2nd in the event (52.68), .4 faster than a year ago. She ranks 11th in the 200 back. Scott is seeded 3rd in the 50 free (22.59), an event she placed 6th in a year ago. Tu is the 3rd-seeded 100 breaststroker (1:00.91, the Brown program record) and the 20th 200 breaststroker. Chmielewski ranks 5th in the 400 IM (4:15.64, Brown record) and 14th in the mile (16:57.33). All told, 11 Brown Bears are seeded among the top 8 in the League in their events.

Columbia: Aziza Ganihanova (Sr-Free/Back), Emily Macdonald (Jr-Free/Fly), Ashley Hu (So-Breast/IM)

Ganihanova was a top-8 finisher at last year’s Ivy Championships in the 500 free, 400 IM, and 200 back and currently ranks #5 in the 200 back (1:57.26) and #8 in the 500 free (4:49.77). Hu is 6th in the 100 breast (1:01.73) and 7th in the 200 breast (2:14.49); she placed 5th and 6th in the respective events as a freshman last year. Macdonald, the Columbia record-holder in the 50 free, sits among the top 8 in the 50/100 free (22.92/49.87) headed into Ivies; she was 3rd and 4th in those events last year.

Cornell: Anna Gruvberger (Sr-Fly/Free), Priscilla Wongso (Sr-Free), Emilie Boisrenoult (Sr-Fly/Fr), Audrey Holden (So-Breast)

Gruvberger owns the 6th time in the Ivies for the 100 fly (53.97) this season, while her classmate Wongso ranks 6th in the 50 free (22.82, a school record). They were both A finalists in those events last year and Wongso broke the record in the 50 free this season at 2023 Zippy Invitational. Boisrenoult has top-16 seed times in the 100 fly (54.53) and 100 free (50.38). Holden comes in with the 8th-fastest 100 breast time (1:02.21).

Dartmouth: Julianne Jones (So-IM/Breast), Carinn Bethea (Fr-Free), Jamie Legh (Fr-Free/Back/Fly), Maggie Lambdin (Fr-Diving)

Jones leads an incredibly young Big Green roster (11 first-years, 8 sophomores, and 5 upper-classmen) for second-year coach Milana Socha, and they are beginning to make their mark on the resuscitated program. Jones became the first Dartmouth swimmer to go under 4:20 in the 400 IM at Ivies last year, when she dropped 5.8 seconds in prelims to make the A final. This year, at Miami Invitational, she took another 2 seconds off the record (4:16.66) and ranks 9th in the Ivy League. She’s also seeded 8th in the 200 IM (2:01.01) and 14th in the 200 breast (2:16.39). Bethea is ranked among the top 16 in the 200/500 free (1:49.40/4:50.59), while Legh is 11th in the 200 fly (1:59.74). First-year diver Lambdin is ranked in the top-8 on both boards.

Harvard: Anya Mostek (So-Back/IM/Free), Sydney Lu (So-Fly/IM), Molly Hamlin (Jr-Free/Fly/Back/IM), Alexandra Bastone (Fr-Free/Fly), Stephanie Iannaccone (Fr-IM/Breast/Fly), Nina Janmyr (So-Diving)

New head coach Amanda Kulik will head to 2024 Ivies with defending 100 back champion Mostek, 100 fly runner-up Lu, and a handful of high performing first-years. Mostek ranks at the top of the League in the 100 back this season (52.28); she is also 3rd in the 200 back (1:56.71), 5th in the 50 free (22.70), and 6th in the 100 free (49.72) and 200 free (1:48.16). Lu is #1 seed in the 100 fly (52.88) and #4 in the 200 fly (1:58.78) and 200 free (1:48.01). Hamlin ranks 4th in the 200 back (1:56.91) and 8th in the 100 back (54.36). Newcomers Bastone and Iannaccone have already established themselves as potential A finalists in multiple events. Bastone is seeded 3rd in the 500 free (4:45.80) and 1650 free (16:20.99) and 6th in the 400 IM (4:15.91). Iannaccone is 4th in the 400 IM (4:15.46), 5th in the 200 IM (2:00.38), and 6th in the 200 breast (2:13.86). Janmyr and Remi Edvalson are ranked at the top of the diving events; Harvard’s diving is strong and they are likely to send 6 entrants this year.

Penn: Anna Kalandadze (Sr-Free), Anna Moehn (So-Free), Sydney Bergstrom (So-Free), Isabella Pytel (Jr-Breast), Katya Eruslanova (Fr-Back/Free/IM), Joy Jiang (Jr-Fly), Vanessa Chong (Jr-Fly)

Kalandadze (the Ivy League canceled the 2020-21 season so Kalandadze is a senior again this year) led 1-2-3 Penn sweeps in the 500 free and 1650 free last year, with Moehn in 3rd place in both events. This year they are respectively seeded 1,2 in the mile (15:54.93, 16:18.49) and 1,4 in the 500 (4:40.49, 4:46.59). Bergstrom ranks 4th in the 1650 (16:21.85). But Penn has more than just distance freestylers, and Pytel, Eruslanova, Chong, and Jiang are all top-8 seeds, too. Pytel is 7th in the 100 breast (1:01.77) and 11th in the 200 breast (2:15.51); she placed 6th and 5th in those events last year. Eruslanova is 7th in the 200 back (1:57.44), 9th in the 200 IM (2:01.26), and 10th in the 400 IM (4:17.42). Jiang (1:58.88) and Chong (1:59.07) are #5 and #7 in the 200 fly.

Princeton: Ellie Marquardt (Sr-Free/IM/Fly), Margaux McDonald (Sr-Back/IM), Eleanor Sun (Fr-IM/Fly/Breast), Dakota Tucker (Fr-IM/Fly/Breast), Sabrina Johnston (So-Free/Back), Heidi Smithwick (So-Free/Fly), Ela Noble (Jr-Free/Back)

Abby Brethauer is in her first year as Princeton’s head coach and has already secured the dual meet trophy for a perfect 7-0 Ivy season. As assistant coach, she helped recruit one of the strongest classes in recent Tiger memory. To wit, first-year Sun leads the Ivy League in the 200 IM (1:56.26) and 400 IM (4:06.07), is 2nd in the 200 back (1:56.54) and 200 fly (1:58.11), and ranks 3rd in the 200 free (1:47.92). Her classmate Tucker is #1 in the 200 breast (2:09.54), #2 in the IMs (1:56.79/4:07.22), and #6 in the 200 fly (1:59.05). But the Tigers also bring back veterans Marquardt (400 IM Ivy champion last year, 500/1000/1650 as a freshman), McDonald (200 breast champion), Smithwick, and Noble. This year, Marquardt tops the League in the 200 free (1:45.56), is 2nd in the 500 (4:44.90), and ranks 4th in the 100 free (49.34). McDonald, who broke Princeton’s 100/200 breast records this season, is seeded 1st in the 100 back (1:55.61), 2nd in the breaststrokes (1:00.39/2:11.75), 3rd in the 200 IM (2:00.15), and 5th in the 100 back (53.73). Smithwick leads the League in the 200 fly (1:55.51) and is #2 in the 100 fly (53.14). She also ranks 5th in the 200 free (1:48.05) and 7th in the 50 (22.87). Johnston and Noble are seeded 1-2 in the 50 free (22.30, 22.35) and 100 free (48.46, 49.00). Johnston is also 3rd in the 100 fly (53.47) and 4th in the 100 back (53.56).

Yale: Jessey Li (So-Breast/IM), Ava Franks (So-Breast/IM), Caroline Riggs (Fr-Free/IM), Alex Massey (Jr-Fly/IM), Gloria Lai (So-Diving)

Li, who won the 100 breast and was 4th in the 200 at 2023 Ivies as a freshman, tops the League so far this season in the 100 breast (1:00.05) and is 4th seed in the 200 (2:13.34). Franks was runner-up in both the 100 breast and 200 breast last year and this time she comes to the conference meet with the #3 time in the 200 breast (2:12.02) and the #4 times in the 100 breast (1:01.05) and 200 IM (2:00.24). First-year Riggs ranks #3 in the 400 IM (4:13.76) and #5 in the 500 free (4:47.22) and 1650 free (16:27.67). Massey, who was runner-up in the 200 fly and 3rd in the 100 fly at 2023 Ivies, has the 8th-fastest time in the 200 fly (1:59.26) and is also seeded among the top 16 in the 100 fly and 200 back. Yale should score significant points from diving and is expected to take 6 divers to the meet. Their squad is led by Lai, who scored 48 points last year.

Showdowns

200 IM – The Ivy Record has stood at 1:55.09 since Katie Meili of Columbia won the event by three body lengths ahead of teammate Alena Kluge at the 2013 Ivy League Championships. Harvard’s Felicia Pasadyn came close (1:55.88) in 2020 but 2024 could finally be the year to rewrite the record books. Princeton first-years and training partners Eleanor Sun and Dakota Tucker have both already posted 1:56s, over 2 seconds faster than teammate Eliza Brown’s winning time last year. While Sun and Tucker boast the only sub-2:00 regular season performances, five more swimmers have gone under 2:01: Princeton’s Margaux McDonald (2:00.15) and Sabrina Johnston (2:00.68); Yale’s Ava Franks (2:00.24) and Jessey Li (2:00.38); and Havard’s Stephanie Iannaccone (2:00.38). It may or may not be a close race, but the possibility of seeing a new record after 11 years makes this one of our top picks.

200 Backstroke – It took 1:58.73 to make the A final at last year’s Ivy League Championships and this year, 11 swimmers have already been faster. That includes Princeton’s Margaux McDonald (1:55.61), Eleanor Sun (1:56.65), Grace Black (1:57.39), Alexa Pappas (1:57.70), and Sabrina Johnston (1:57.73); Harvard’s Anya Mostek (1:56.71), Molly Hamlin (1:56.91), and Kate Hazlett (1:57.64); Columbia’s Aziza Ganihanova (1:57.26); Penn’s Katya Eruslanova (1:57.44); and Brown’s Jenna Reznicek (1:58.42).

200 Butterfly – Princeton’s Heidi Smithwick leads the League with 1:55.51, but the next 7 qualifiers are separated by only 1.1 seconds: Eleanor Sun (1:58.11) and Dakota Tucker (1:59.05) of Princeton; Brown’s Zehra Bilgin (1:58.63); Harvard’s Sydney Lu (1:58.78); Joy Jiang (1:58.88) and Vanessa Chong (1:59.09) of Penn; and Yale’s Alex Massey (1:59.26). The 200 fly was the *only* event last year where Princeton failed to make the A final but this year, Smithwick is 4 seconds faster than she was a year ago and within shooting range of the meet record of 1:55.35, set by Yale’s Alex Forrester in 2013.

100 Breaststroke – For the last two years we’ve seen first-years take home the Ivy crown in the 100 breast. Harvard’s Aleksandra Denisenko won in 2022, while Yale’s Jessey Li led a 1-2 Bulldog sweep last year. Li edged Princeton’s Margaux McDonald in a tight race at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton double dual and is the favorite to repeat her title this year with the top seed time of 1:00.05, but could we see another first-year pull an upset? Brown’s Gillian Tu comes to mind, having already broken her school record in the event with 1:00.91. The top 7 seeds have all swum under 1:02 this season, so it should be a much faster final than last year, when it took 1:02.59 to make the top 8.

SwimSwam Picks

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

Princeton broke 3 school records en route to victory at the H-Y-P double dual meet earlier this month, portending good things for the Ivy Championships. With the top seed times in all five relays (counting double points), 4 event winners from 2023, and a very strong freshman class, the Tigers are poised to defend their title. Harvard, always in contention for the top spot, will keep Princeton on their toes. On paper, Yale and Brown will be in close contention for third place, and it will likely come down to the relays. We give Brown the edge, thanks in part to their depth in sprint free, but Yale’s diving and medleys could shake up the field.

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Ivy Swim Fan
1 month ago

1. Princeton- has been excellent this year and deeper than any other team
2. Harvard- based on their 25 divers may sneak into second
3. Brown- will outswim Harvard but lacks diving

Exciting times in the league! Love getting names other than HYP fighting for top spots.

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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