Women’s Ivy League Championship Fan Guide: Expectations High for the Lions

  • Dates: Thursday, February 20 – Saturday, February 22, 2014
  • Times: Prelims 11:00 am, finals 6:00 pm
  • Location: Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center, Providence, R.I. (Eastern Time Zone)
  • Defending Champions: Princeton (results)
  • Live Results: Available
  • Live Video: Available

The 2013 Women’s Ivy League Championship was an exciting back-and-forth between meet host Princeton and defending champion Harvard. Princeton racked up a lot of points early on with some key relay wins and then continued to maintain a slight lead over its Crimson rival for most of the meet. Several swimmers broke meet records during the three-day contest: Lisa Boyce of Princeton (50 free, 100 back), Katie Meili of Columbia (200 IM, 100 breast), Alex Forrester of Yale (100 fly, 200 fly), and Kendall Crawford of Harvard (200 back). In addition, Princeton’s 200 free relay reset the meet mark, as did Yale’s 400 free relay, Harvard’s 200 medley relay, and Columbia’s 400 medley relay.

Meili and Forrester graduated, but returning event winners include Boyce, Crawford, Eva Fabian of Yale (1000 free, 1650 free), Shelby Fortin of Penn (500 free), Sara Li of Harvard (200 free), Alena Kluge of Columbia (400 IM), and diver of the meet Katy Feng of Dartmouth.

 

STARS

Brown  –  Kate Dillione (junior, free/fly), Briana Borgolini (senior, breast), Megan Viohl (freshman, free/back), Reia Tong (sophomore, free). The Bears will be looking to improve on their seventh-place finish of 2013, and just might make it happen in their home pool. They have particularly strong sprint free relays this year that could add valuable points.

Columbia  –  Alena Kluge (senior, back/breast/IM), Mikaila Gaffey (junior, breast/free/IM), Gabbie Toback (freshman, back/free), Trudi Patrick (freshman, fly), Corinna Bertelsen (senior, distance free). In addition, Columbia has very strong medley relays. The Lions are coming off their best year in program history, having won the dual meet championship during the regular season. But the title of Ivy League Champion is awarded based on results at this meet. Given their phenomenal season, the Ivy title is Columbia’s to lose.

Cornell  –  Jenna Immormino (sophomore, free/fly), Manita Herlitz-Ferguson (senior, diving), Kim Jerome (senior, breast) , Meredith Drummond (junior, breast/IM), Currie Murch Elliot (freshman, distance free), Billy Murch Elliot (freshman, back/IM). The Big Red posted its first-ever dual meet win over Princeton and has had one of its most successful seasons in program history. There is a lot of depth to this 2014 team.

Dartmouth  –  Katy Feng (senior, diving), Kendese Nangle (sophomore, free/back), Charlotte Kamai (sophomore, sprint free), Danielle Kerr (senior, distance free/fly), Christine Kerr (senior, free/fly). The Big Green has been getting stronger over the last several years; the women broke 9 individual and all 5 relay records at 2013 Ivies.

Harvard  –  Victoria Chan (freshman, sprint free), Danielle Lee (sophomore, free/back/fly), Brittany Wang (freshman, diving), Ashlee Korsberg (freshman, distance free/IM), Sherry Liu (sophomore, distance free), Elina Leiviska (freshman, diving), Kendall Crawford (sophomore, back/fly). The Crimson have arguably the most depth of all the Ivies. While they lost to Columbia in their dual meet, they have a good chance to deny the Lions of their first Ivy crown.

Penn  –  Rochelle Dong (freshman, free/fly), Lauren Church (sophomore, back/free), Shelby Fortin (senior, free/back), Kristi Edleson (senior, distance free). Penn is looking to improve on its sixth-place finish at last year’s Ivies. The Quakers have had some solid performances this year and could have a great meet here.

Princeton  –  Lisa Boyce (senior, free/back), Caitlin Chambers (freshman, diving), Olivia Chan (freshman, IM/breast/fly), Nikki Larson (sophomore, fly/free/IM), Lisa Li (freshman, diving), Beverly Nguyen (sophomore, IM/fly), Sada Stewart (sophomore, back/IM). The Tigers aren’t out of the running for the Ivy Championship by any means. This is a squad that swims with a lot of heart, and when every point makes a difference at The Big Meet, titles get won.

Yale  –  Eva Fabian (sophomore, distance free), Isla Hutchinson-Maddox (freshman, distance free/fly), Emma Smith (sophomore, IM/breast), Sydney Hirschi (freshman, fly/IM), Michelle Chintanaphol (freshman, IM/back), Ali Stephens-Pickeral (sophomore, breast), Kina Zhou (freshman, free/IM). The Bulldogs have been getting increasingly stronger every year, and this year’s squad is really solid. The Elis will pick up huge points in all the distance free and IM races but will lose ground in diving.

 

SHOWDOWNS

200 yard IM – There is a lot of talent in the 200 IM. The top four times in the league are all under 2:02: Alena Kluge (Columbia), Olivia Chan (Princeton), Emma Smith (Yale), and Beverly Nguyen (Princeton). The next three have 2:02s: Nikki Larson (Princeton), Kina Zhou (Yale), and Sydney Hirschi (Yale). Any one of these women could win here. Yale boasts five of the ten fastest 200 IMers, while Princeton has three. The key will be to stack the “A” final and get those points.

200 yard back – This event is loaded with talent and should be a lot of fun to watch, with Danielle Lee (Harvard), Gabbie Toback (Columbia), Michelle Chintanaphol (Yale), and Sada Stewart (Princeton).

100 yard fly – Lisa Boyce of Princeton has the League’s top time with 52.76. If this isn’t one of her events, then Penn’s Rochelle Dong will be top seed with 53.76. The next six all range from 54.4 to 54.7: Hirschi, Larson, Christina Ray (Columbia), Morgan Karetnick (Princeton), Courtney Otto (Harvard), and Trudiann Patrick (Columbia).

200 yard breast – The top eight times are only separated by 1.5 seconds, which isn’t much in a 200. Columbia could pick up a lot of points with four of the eight fastest seed times, including top qualifier Kluge. Chan (Princeton), Ali Stephens-Pickeral (Yale), and Briana Borgolini (Brown) are all contenders as well.

 

STANDINGS

2014 could finally give us an Ivy Champion that is not Princeton or Harvard. But it will take near-perfect execution because both perennial champions have deep squads and can pick up points in “B” and “C” finals.

A big drop here, a relay DQ there… a lot of shifting can -and will- go on when the meet gets underway. We did a little math and any one of the top four teams could come out on top. Likewise, Penn and Brown are very evenly matched, as are Cornell and Dartmouth. It should be exciting up to the very last event.

Here are our picks:

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

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Let’s go Lady Lions! Go Columbia! Roar!

newswim

Seems unlikely Columbia will win. Hard to compare rested swims against in-season swims but at the end of the day the Lions will do well to finish second to Princeton and that will require that everything go well for them and Harvard has some miscues.

Guest

I have commented on this kind of prediction all season, much to the ire of Columbia fans, who consider it “bad sportsmanship” to doubt their assumed prowess. It is not bad sportsmanship, it is not smack talk, just facts. Columbia’s in season times have been achieved on a very different playing field. They have never been a threat to the so called Princeton-Harvard hegemony. When you know swimming, you know that there is a whole lot more to peak performance than in season, dual meet times, especially regarding various factors such as training, suits, taper, rest, etc., so doing a little math does not predict a winner. When you know about Ivy League swimming, then you know that Columbia suits… Read more »

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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