Dolfin Swim of the Week: Venema’s 22.3 Powers Princeton Over Yale in HYP

Disclaimer: Dolfin Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The  Dolfin Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

Heading into last weekend, the Yale women hadn’t lost an Ivy League meet since 2015, and hadn’t lost a regular-season meet since 2016. But Princeton freshman Nikki Venema helped change that with a huge sprint sweep in massive time drops.

Venema cut more than half a second in her 100 free, and about four tenths in the 50 free, putting herself in the mix for NCAA invites in her rookie campaign.

Heading into the season, Venema was a 22.84/49.68 sprinter – an impact addition for Princeton, but still with a ways to go to reach last year’s NCAA invite times of 22.24/48.56.

But her massive showing in the yearly HYP meet puts her right on the cusp of those times. Venema went 22.38 and 48.61, winning both the 50 and 100 frees while powering two big relay wins for the Tigers. Venema also split 22.22 anchoring the 200 medley relay and 49.46 leading off the winning 400 free relay.

Here’s a look at how Venema has improved across her freshman year, with lifetime-bests listed heading into her freshman year, then at mid-season, then again as of now:

Pre-Princeton Dec. 2019 Feb. 2020
50 free 22.84 22.70 22.38
100 free 49.68 49.26 48.61
100 fly 55.05 53.80
200 free 1:49.97 1:47.87
100 back 56.25 55.09
200 IM 2:04.28 2:02.91

Princeton hasn’t had a female swimmer qualify for NCAAs since Lisa Boyce was an All-American back in 2014. Three divers have made the trip since then, but none have scored. Venema could be the one to break the streak, if she can drop a few more tenths at the Ivy League Championships later this month.


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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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