PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Ancient Eight's women's swimming teams descend on Brown's Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center for the 2014 Ivy League Women's Swimming & Diving Championships beginning Thursday.
Princeton will look to defend the title it won in its home pool a year ago. The Tigers led wire-to-wire, but Harvard was at their heels throughout the weekend to make for a thrilling final night. In the end, however, Princeton claimed its third title in the last four years.
The Ivy League® Digital Network will provide live coverage all three days of both the preliminary and final sessions. All subscribers to the network will be able to view the coverage.
Columbia won the dual meet title for the first time in League history going a perfect 7-0. Cornell finished in the top half of the League for the first time in 15 years, beating Princeton for the first-time ever and Penn for the first time in over a decade. Still, Harvard showed its strength after an early season loss to Columbia, going 6-1 and winning the annual H-Y-P meet.
Here is a quick look at each team's top stars heading into the championship:
The Bears finished the dual meet season 6-6 overall, 1-6 in Ivy action. Swimming in its home pool, Brown will look to win its first Ivy title since 1999.
Junior Kate Dillione and sophomore Reia Tong enter the championship with top 10 seed times in the 50 freestyle. Dillione also has the second-fastest seed time in the 200 freestyle with a "B" cut time of 1:47.56 and the fifth-best 100 freestyle mark. Freshman Megan Viohl is also in the top 10 in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650.
Senior Briana Borgolini has the second-fastest seed in the 100 breast, swimming a "B" cut mark of 1:01.85 and the fourth-fastest 200 breast. She earned second-team All-Ivy honors in the 200 breast at last year's championship meet in Princeton. Sophomore Gina Matsumoto and senior Leigh Holmes both have strong seed times in the butterfly events, as well.
The Lions won their first-ever dual meet title this season and will look to ride that momentum to their first Ivy League Championship crown.
Columbia senior Alena Kluge, who earned a pair of first-team and a pair of second-team All-Ivy honors at last year's meet, has the top seed time in the 200 IM. She has a "B" cut time of 2:00.26. Freshman Celia Frick also has a top 10 seed time in the same event.
Kluge also has a strong seed time in the 400 IM, an event she won last year, as does sophomore Kristine Ng and senior Grace Senko. Last month, Kluge set the pool record at the Moran Coleman Aquatics Center in the 400 IM with her season-best 4:16.80, fourth-fastest in the League this year.
Junior Mikaila Gaffey owns the top seed time in the 100 breaststroke, swimming a "B" cut time of 1:01.51. Teammates freshman Jennifer Shahar and Frick are right behind her at 1:02.49 and 1:02.95, respectively, good for third and fifth in the League. Freshman Gabbie Toback, meanwhile, has the second-best 100 and 200 backstroke seed time.
Senior Corinna Bertelsen, sophomore Mallory McKeon and sophomore Daniela Rueda all have strong seed times in the distance events, as does sophomore Christina Ray and freshman Trudi Patrick in the butterfly events.
So, in all, the returning champion Kluge has a supporting cast that could give the Lions enough depth to win their first championship.
The Big Red enjoyed their first winning record in League action in 22 years and are now poised to make a run at the championship meet. Cornell last finished in the top three at the championship in 1995.
Sophomore Jenna Immormino has the second-fastest seed time in the 50 freestyle and also has several other strong seed times. Junior Meredith Drummond and senior Kim Jerome will contend in the breaststroke events.
Freshman Currie Murch Elliot has strong seed times in the distance events, as well, while senior Manita Herlitz-Ferguson is the Big Red's top diver and could contend for a title.
Hoping to ride a late season surge, the Big Green go in search of their first Ivy title this weekend.
Senior Danielle Kerr has strong seed times in the distance events for the Big Green, while sophomores Kendese Nangle and Charlotte Kamai will look to challenge in the sprints. Nangle has the sixth-fastest seed in the very talented 50 freestyle field and also has strong seed times in the backstroke events.
Senior Katy Feng will look to challenge in the diving events, entering the championship with the fourth-best mark in the League this season in both the one-meter and three-meter events. She was the High Point Diver of the Meet last year, finishing fifth in the one-meter and winning the three-meter to become Dartmouth's first-ever diving champion.
The Crimson will look to regain the Ivy crown after a one-year hiatus. Harvard's lone dual loss came to Columbia in early November, but have the depth that could bring the trophy back to Cambridge at the end of this weekend.
The Crimson have a strong diving contingent led by the trio of freshman Brittany Wang, senior Alex Stanton and freshman Elina Leiviska.
Freshman Victoria Chan and senior Deirdre Clute have solid seed times in the sprints and will look to challenge in a strong field. Chan has the top seed time in the 200 freestyle with a 1:46.80, good for the "B" cut. Sophomore Danielle Lee has the top seed time in the 200 backstroke and has several other strong seed times, as well. In the distance events, freshman Ashlee Korsberg and sophomore Marlee Ehrlich have solid seed times.
Senior Sara Li was a champion twice and earned three All-Ivy honors at last year's meet and is expected to compete.
Penn looks for its first-ever Ivy title after going 5-5 in the dual meet season (2-5 Ivy).
The Quakers return senior Shelby Fortin, a three-time champion in the 500 freestyle. Fortin will try to become Penn's first-ever four-time champion.
Freshman Rochelle Dong will look to make her mark in that talented sprints field. Dong has the third-fastest seed time in the 50 freestyle at 22.97 and the third-fastest in the 100 fly. Senior Kristi Edleson has solid distance seed times and should contend as should sophomore Lauren Church in the backstroke. Edleson 16:43.08 is the fourth-fastest seed time in the 1,650.
The Tigers won the Ivy Championship last year for the 11th time in the last 14 years. Despite a 4-3 mark in dual meet play, the Tigers have some strong qualifiers that will put them in the hunt.
Senior Lisa Boyce, who has rewritten the Ivy League record book during her first three years, will look to become a four-time champion in the 100 backstroke. The Ivy record holder in the 50 freestyle, she holds the top seed time in the event at 22.33. She also has the top seed time in the 100 fly, and 100 back (which she also holds the Ivy record in) and 100 freestyle.
Freshman Olivia Chan, sophomore Beverly Nguyen and sophomore Nikki Larson each have top five seed times in the 200 IM and Nguyen is near the top in 400 IM, as well. Sophomore Sada Stewart has been solid in the backstroke while senior Maureen McCotter and freshman Rebecca Fleming are the Tigers' top distance swimmers and will look to challenge.
If Princeton's solid relay seed times translate this weekend, it could be enough to give the Tigers a chance for a repeat title.
The Bulldogs finished fourth last year, but hope to challenge for the top this year after going 8-3 in the dual season (4-3 Ivy).
The Bulldogs feature the premier distance swimmer in the league in sophomore Eva Fabian. Fabian won both the 1,000 and 1,650 last year at the Ivy League Championships and finished second in the 500.
Her distance-mate freshman Isla Hutchinson-Maddox gives Yale a 1-2 punch. She has near-the-top seed times of her own in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650. And also owns the top mark in the 200 butterfly with a "B" cut time of 1:58.64.
Freshman Kina Zhou has been solid in the sprints and looks to continue her strong rookie season. Sophomore Emma Smith and freshman Sydney Hirschi have the top two seed times in the 400 IM, where the Bulldogs four of the top six. Hirschi has also been solid in the butterfly this year.