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February 26, 2013

2013 Women's Swimming & Diving Championships Open Thursday

Championship Central

PRINCETON, N.J. -- All eight Ivy League women's swimming and diving teams descend on Princeton University's DeNunzio Pool beginning Thursday for the 37th Ivy League Women's Swimming & Diving Championships.

Three days of action gets underway on Thursday and continues through Saturday. Each day will have two sessions -- preliminary events beginning at 11 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

For the first time, IvyLeagueSports.com will provide free live video coverage of the championship's night sessions.

As the Ivy League Women's Swimming & Diving Championships get underway, there are many individual standouts to watch while the team scoring race should shape up to be a close one.

The weekend's host Princeton will look to regain its crown while Harvard will try to continue its strong season that brought it the Ivy League dual meet regular season title. Harvard went 9-0 in dual meets this year, including 7-0 in League action, and appears to have the momentum to defend the title it won last year. Princeton, however, has won 10 of the last 13 titles and would love to win its 21st-ever crown. The Tigers won the championship the last time it was held in Princeton in 2011.

In fact, Princeton and Havard have finished 1-2 in the meet each of the last 10 years. However, Columbia finished the dual meet season red-hot and could be a factor as the weekend plays out, as could Yale.

Here is a quick look at some of each team's top stars heading into the championship:

Brown: The Bears went 5-5 in dual meets during the season. Reia Tong has had a strong rookie season swimming the sprints. She has the fifth-fastest mark in the Ivy in the 50 free and the seventh-best mark in the 100 free. Sophomore Kate Dillione has the fifth-fastest 200 free time and could challenge what should be a talented field. Junor Briana Borgolini has the second fastest time in the 100 and 200 breaststroke this year with a pair NCAA "B" times. She may be the greatest challenge to Columbia's Katie Meili, who dominated the breaststroke last year at the Ivy League Championship. She was second in the 100 breaststroke at the Ivy meet a year ago. Freshman Reia Tong has the fifth-fastest 50 free time in the League this season.

Columbia: The Lions knocked off Princeton late in the dual meet season and might just be a darkhorse to win its first-ever Ivy crown. The Lions were 6-2 overall and 5-2 in Ivy action this season with their losses coming to Yale and Harvard early in the season. Senior Katie Meili leads the way for the Lions. She has the top time this year in the 100 breaststroke with a "B" standard mark of 59.65 -- the only person in the League to swim the event in under one minute this year - that after becoming the first person in Ivy history to swim it under a minute at the championship meet last year. She also has the fastest mark in the 200 breaststroke this year with a "B" time of 2:12.66 -- nearly two seconds faster than anyone else in the league. Meili handily swept both of those events last year. Junior Alena Kluge has the fourth-fastest 400 IM time in the League this season.

Cornell: The Big Red have received a strong rookie season from Jenna Immormino, who has a Top 5 time in the 50 free and a Top 10 in the 100 free. Junior Kim Jerome and senior Jessie Holley have solid times in the 100 breaststroke and could be a factor, as does sophomore Meredith Drummond in the 200 breaststroke.

Dartmouth: Dartmouth's fifth-place finish at last year's Ivy League Championships was its best since 1981. The Big Green will look to the Kerr twins for a strong performance again this year. Now juniors, Christine and Danielle combined for six Top 10 finishes at last year's championship and will hope to continue that success in this year's meet. Senior Erica Serpico won the one-meter diving in 2010 and will be looking to return to the winner's stand this weekend.

Harvard: The Crimson won the title in 2012 and have to be considered the favorites to win this year. Junior Sara Li has been outstanding in the sprints, recording several Top 5 marks that are NCAA "B" marks. She has the second-fastest time in the League this year in the 50 free, 100 free and 200 free. Sophomore Courtney Otto has been at or near the top in the 200 back, and 200 and 400 IMs this season and has "B" standard times in all three. She won the 400 IM last year at the Ivy League Championships and was a part of the winning 800 freestyle relay team to go with a pair of runner-up finishes. Freshman Sherry Liu has Top 5 times in several distance swims and should challenge for her first Ivy League individual title. Freshmen Danielle Lee and Kendall Crawford have also had outstanding rookie seasons for the Crimson.

Penn: Penn finished the dual meet season 5-5 overall and had a strong performance at the Cavalier Invite two weeks ago to tune up for this weekend. The Quakers will once again count on junior Shelby Fortin. She won the 200 and 500 freestyle last year at the Ivy League Championships and was the runner-up in the 1650. Her versatillity shows when you look at the Ivy League top performances list as she has various top times all over the list. Freshman Lauren Church has performed well in her rookie season, recording strong times in the 100 and 200 back.

Princeton: The Tigers will look to reclaim their crown in their home pool this season. Princeton's 20 titles all-time are the most in League history. Supersprinter Lisa Boyce leads a strong lineup. Boyce has the top time in 50 free this year, the event she won at the Ivy League Championships a year ago along with a win in the 100 free and 100 back. All told this season, Boyce has NCAA "B" standard peformances in four events. Senior Carter Stephens earned three first-team All-Ivy honors in 2010-11 and a pair of second-team honors last year and will look to add to that this weekend. Freshman Sada Stewart has had a great rookie year in the backstroke and butterfly. Junior Randi Brown could be considered the leading contender in the diving competitions.  

Yale: Yale went 5-2 in the Ivy duals this season with the setbacks coming at the HYP meet. The Bulldogs have a supersprinter of their own in Alex Forrester. Heading into her final Ivy League Championship meet, Forrester has the top performance in the 100 free this season and the third-best in the 50. Eva Fabian has the top time in the 1,650 this season, the second-best time in the 500 free and the third- best mark in the 1,000, making her a strong candidate in the distance swims. Joan Weaver will look to have another strong championship. A year ago, Weaver finished fourth in the 500 free and second in the 200 free while being a part of the winning 400 freestyle relay team. She was also a part of the runner-up relay team in the 400 medley and 800 freestyle.