Men’s Ivy League Championship Fan Guide: Home Pool Advantage for Harvard or Six-Peat for Princeton?

2014 Men’s Ivy League Championships

  • Dates: Thursday, February 27 – Saturday, March 1, 2014
  • Times: Prelims 11:00 am, finals 6:00 pm
  • Location: Blodgett Pool, Cambridge, Mass (Eastern Time Zone)
  • Defending Champions: Princeton (results)
  • Psych Sheet: Available
  • Live Results: Available
  • Live Video: Available
  • Championship Central 

 

Princeton won its 5th consecutive Ivy League championship in 2013. Archive photo courtesy of The Ivy League.

Princeton won its 5th consecutive Ivy League championship in 2013. Archive photo courtesy of The Ivy League.

 

The 2013 Men’ Ivy League Championship was the first big meet held at Brown’s Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center. A great new facility, the pool was fast and 4 Ivy records were set over the three-day contest:

200 IM – 1:43.94 – Nejc Zupan, Dartmouth
400 IM – 3:44.39 – Nejc Zupan, Dartmouth
200 breast – 1:53.95 – Nejc Zupan, Dartmouth
400 free relay – 2:52.32 – Harvard (Chris Satterthwaite, Griffin Schumacher, Zachary Walters, Oliver Lee)

In addition, Mike Mosca of Harvard broke Ivy records in both the one-meter and three-meter diving events with 387.05 and 409.85 points, respectively.

The meet began with a Harvard victory in the 200 free relay, after which the Crimson maintained a steady lead over Princeton for the rest of Thursday and through to the 100 breast on Friday. Princeton had an outstanding 100 back and took over the lead. Harvard came within a point of the Tigers after the mile on Saturday but the four-time defending champs from New Jersey dominated in the 200 back and 200 breast and there was no catching them after that.

 

Stars

Brown  –  Tommy Glenn (senior, fly), Jeffrey Strausser (junior, free/fly), Cory Mayfield (sophomore, distance free), Connor Lohman (freshman, breast/IM). This is a solid team with some great talent, but a less depth than Princeton, Yale and Harvard. The squad has nonetheless produced consistent results and is in good position to improve on last year’s seventh-place finish.

Columbia  –  Kevin Quinn (junior, fly/IM), David Jakl (junior, fly/back/free), Micah Rembrandt (junior, diving), Harry Stephenson (senior, distance free). Columbia has finished third for the last several years but they are missing some of the big point-scorers from 2013 Ivies (e.g., Dominik Koll, John Wright, Daniel Gosek, and Omar Arafa). That said, they have a tendency to put up big performances when it counts so they could be a real wild card this year.

Cornell  –  Phillip Truong (senior, diving), Dylan Sali (freshman, back/IM), Tommy Hallowell (junior, diving), Harry Harpham (fly/IM), Victor Luo (sophomore, breast/IM). Cornell had a very successful dual-meet season, including a narrow win at home against Brown. They hope to get a lift from their strong diving contingent and from their breaststrokers.

Dartmouth  – Nejc Zupan (senior, breast/IM), James Verhagen (sophomore, back/fly), Brett Gillis (sophomore, diving), Daniel Whitcomb (free/back). Zupan has been scoring big points for the Big Green at three Ivies in a row now, and we expect nothing less this year if he is healthy. We assume he will swim both breasts and the 200 IM, rather than the 4IM, so he recovers better for NCAAs. Dartmouth beat Penn by 68 points last year to finish fifth; if they can do it again this year they could move up to fourth.

Harvard  –  Chris Satterthwaite (senior, free), Griffin Schumacher (junior, free), Oliver Lee (senior, free/fly), Jacob Luna (sophomore, fly/IM), Mike Mosca (junior, diving), Eric Ronda (freshman, breast/free). The Crimson won the dual meet championship during the regular season on the strength of their incredible depth. They are expected to dominate points-wise in most of the free events, the 400 IM and possibly the 200 fly. Led by Mike Mosca, their divers should help out a great deal. They are eager to end Princeton’s five-year hold on the championship title, and in front of a home crowd it just might be the right time.

Penn  –  Chris Swanson (sophomore, distance free), Jack Stein (freshman, diving), Kyle Yu (sophomore, breast/IM), Eric Schultz (sophomore, free), Rhoads Worster (senior, fly/back/IM), Dillon McHugh (junior, free/back). Penn has had an excellent year with a lot of strong swims. They won the Total Performance Invitational at Kenyon in December and broke quite a few individual and relay school records. This is a program that has been adding depth to its roster, and it’s paying off already.

Princeton  –  Teo D’Alessandro (sophomore, IM/free/fly), Michael Strand (junior, back/fly), En-Wei Hu-Van Wright (sophomore, back/free/IM), Michael Manhard (junior, diving), Connor Maher (junior, back/free/IM), Byron Sanborn (sophomore, breast/IM). Princeton heads north with a ton of proven talent and a crop of freshmen ready to make their mark on the Ivy League. The odds are a little long for a six-peat, but you bet against Princeton at your own risk… they’ve been known to come up with big swims at just the right moment. They’ll want a lot of those this year, as the Tigers are the underdogs on paper.

Yale  –  Brian Hogan (sophomore, distance free/IM), Rob Harder (junior, free/back), Andrew Heymann (junior, breast/IM), Ben Lerude (freshman, free/fly/IM), Alwyn Firmansyah (junior, fly/free/IM). The real winner of the HYP meet this year was the Yale distance program, and the slow and steady buildup of depth in the overall roster. This is the best Eli squad we’ve seen in years and while it may be another year or two before they can challenge the hegemony of Princeton and Harvard, they should be miles ahead of number four in the 2014 standings.

Showdowns

200 IM – Zupac vs D’Alessandro. Enough said. That’s not true; there’s always been a lot of talent in this event. Last year pretty much the entire “A” final qualified with 1:46s (before Zupan blew away the field with a 1:43.9 in finals for the meet record). It’s still one of the most exciting races in the meet and with the likes of Luna, Hu-Van Wright, Heymann, Worster, Bove… it should be a great show this year as well.

200 free – Assuming D’Alessandro opts for the 4IM over the free, we think this event could be a real momentum-changer in the Princeton-Harvard contest. Yale has Hogan and Harder, although we’re assuming at least one of them will be in the 1000, and Harvard has half of Cambridge entered in this event. If Princeton can keep the Crimson from taking over the “A” final it could change things dramatically.

200 back – This was an exciting race last year, with the top three (Maher, Verhagen, and Hu-Van Wright) all finishing together. This time around there are some newcomers to the game (freshmen Manchester and Sali of Harvard and Cornell, respectively), but the Old Guard is back again, too, so it will be interesting to watch this play out.

Distance free – Last year, Yale’s Harder beat Penn’s Swanson by .04 in the 1000, and the rest of the top eight weren’t that far behind. Swanson got his revenge in the mile, and the top finishers were much more spread out. This year Hogan has been the dominant distance swimmer in the League; he won all the distance events at HYP and is the only sub-9:00 in the 1000 and sub-15:00 in the mile coming into Ivies. It will be interesting to see how much more he can drop, or if the others can catch him, or if he is saving his taper for NCAAs, or …. We’re looking forward to these races.

Standings

The story coming out of HYP this year was the vastly improved Yale squad. Whereas we don’t think they have the depth to take over for Princeton or Harvard at the top of the standings, we think they are a good bet for third this year. After that, it bunches up. We like Penn’s depth but really, any of the next several teams on our list could challenge the Quakers.

We are expecting another roller coaster ride full of excitement and emotion in the battle between Princeton and Harvard for the championship. Princeton has the edge in IM, backstroke, and medley relays. Harvard should score heavily in free, fly, and free relays. Like the women’s meet, the game-changer could be the distance events and diving. On paper, it’s too close to call so we’re giving the nod to the team performing in front of their home crowd.

Here are our picks:

Men

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

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Swimfan

Cant forget the 100 back Strand Vs. Verhagen. On their own with 46s in the Ivy League, a full second ahead of the 3rd seeded Hu-Van Wright. Look for a Dartmouth Princeton Showdown in the 400 Medley, with Penn and Harvard also having loaded Relays as well.

newswim

After Day One looks to me as if Penn not Yale is the vastly improved squad and it won’t be easy for Yale to catch Penn for third. Columbia has had a sharp fall from last year.
Harvard swam very well on Day One and Princeton had a rough morning. Day Two is typically a stronger day for Princeton. They cannot afford any more C finalists.
I expect the Harvard lead to narrow going into Day 3. Penn to stay ahead of Yale for third.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/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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