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Harvard Holds Slight Lead After Night One of the 2012 Ivy League Women's Swimming and Diving Championships

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard holds a slim three-point lead over Princeton in the standings after day one of the 2012 Ivy League Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, but it was Columbia's Katie Meili who stole the show on opening night. The junior helped the Lions to two relay wins and also captured the individual title in the 200 IM in a meet and League record-setting time of 1:57.38.

The night began with the 200-free relay, which Columbia won in 1:32.58. It was the Lions' first win in the event since 1993 - the only other time they won the race. Princeton finished second (1:32.79), followed by Yale (1:32.81).

Next up in the 500-free final that included Dartmouth twin sisters Danielle and Christine Kerr, Penn sophomore Shelby Fortin won for the second consecutive year when she touched in 4:44.91. She now owns Penn's two titles in the event and became the sixth swimmer to win the 500-free at the League Championship more than once in her career. The Harvard duo of Courtney Otto (4:45.58) and Kelsey Hojan Clark (4:46.57) finished in second and third, respectively, while Yale's Joan Weaver took fourth (4:49.55).

In the 200 IM, Meili defended her title from a season ago in sterling fashion as she won in 1:57.38, setting an Ivy Championship Meet and Ivy League record in the process. The record had been held by Columbia graduate and current Yale head coach Christina Teuscher, who won the 1999 championship race in a then record time of 1:57.63. Yale senior Hayes Hyde finished second (2:01.00) and junior Laura Evans of Harvard placed third (2:01.92).

The crowd favorite 50-free was next and based on morning preliminary swims in which Yale junior Alex Forrester (22.71) and Princeton sophomore Lisa Boyce (22.76) turned in top-15 championship meet times, the two were headed for a showdown. Forrester's mark from prelims tied for fourth fastest (which she originally posted when winning the event two seasons ago), while Boyce's ranked 10th. In the 50-free final, Boyce turned in a 22.45 to edge out Forrester and set a Blodgett pool record, breaking the mark set by Jill Sterkel in 1981 (22.51). Both Boyce and Forrester's times were NCAA B-Cuts. Brown sophomore Emma Lamothe finished third (23.59) and Harvard sophomore Sara Li finished just behind her in fourth (23.60).

On the one-meter diving boards, Princeton senior Christina Kirkwood took top honors with a score of 288.90, while Yale senior Rachel Rosenberg – the 2010 three-meter champion – finished second with 280.45 points. The Tigers also saw sophomores Rachel Zambrowicz and Randi Brown place fourth (268.60) and fifth, respectively, to earn a valuable 83 points from the one-meter diving finals.

The night closed just as it started; namely with a Columbia relay win. The Lions took the 400 Yard Medley Relay in 3:40.87, earning the Lions their first ever Ivy Championship in the 400 Yard Medley Relay.  Princeton's Boyce staked the Tigers to an early lead after the first leg of the race, but Meili made that up and then some as her breast stroke leg gave the Lions a lead it would not relinquish. Yale and Harvard did put on hard charges over the final two legs but the Bulldogs finished second (3:41.25) and Harvard third (3:41.27). Columbia, Yale and Harvard's finishes were each good enough for NCAA B-Cut times.

The 2012 Ivy League women's swimming and diving championships continues tomorrow, Feb. 24, with preliminary swims scheduled for 11:00 a.m. and the night finals session slated to begin at 6:00 p.m.

Current Team Standings
1. Harvard -- 432.5 
2. Princeton -- 429.5
3. Yale -- 339.5 
4. Columbia -- 285
5. Penn -- 222 
6. Dartmouth -- 221.5
7. Brown -- 185.5
8. Cornell -- 160.5