CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, February 4. IT may have lacked the late drama of its last trip to Blodgett Pool, but the 24th-ranked Princeton Tigers left Cambridge Saturday afternoon with the same result it earned after Harvard hosted the 2011 Ivy League championships — victory. Princeton swept the 2012 H-Y-P meet with a dominant two-session performance against its two top rivals.
Princeton, which improved to 7-0 overall and 6-0 in the league, defeated Harvard 207-146 and Yale 285.5-67.5. The Tigers avenged their last regular season loss, which came to Harvard during H-Y-P last season, and they did so with strong performances from every class.
Harvard wouldn't lead for long, but it did get the first win of the meet in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:02.50. Princeton took the next two spots, with freshman Harrison Wagner and junior Kaspar Raigla joining seniors Matthew LaMonaca and Michael Monovoukas for a second-place finish in 1:21.02. The second Princeton relay featured one swimmer from each class, as freshman David Paulk, sophomore Ian Rea, junior Brian Barrett and senior Charlie Wang placed third overall in 1:22.14.
Princeton went 1-2 in the first individual event of the weekend. Senior Colin Cordes, a reigning Ivy League champion, held off Paulk to win the 200 free in 1:37.91. Paulk placed second in 1:38.09. The Tigers topped that finish by going 1-2-3 in the 100 back, with freshman Michael Strand taking the event in 49.10. Raigla placed second in 49.57, while freshman Connor Maher took third in 49.91.
Senior Jon Christensen, Princeton's most decorated senior swimmer, won the 100 breast in 53.83, while freshman Oliver Bennett placed third in the 200 fly in 1:49.25. The 200 fly had three freshmen finishing first, with Yale's Alwin Firmansyah winning in 1:47.04.
Wagner grabbed his first win of the weekend by holding off a Harvard pair in the 50 free. The Tiger freshman, who went below 20 seconds at the Big Al Open, won in 20.11, while Harvard's Oliver Lee placed second in 20.51.
Harvard freshman Chuck Katis won a tight 200 IM with Christensen in 1:47.06. Christensen finished in 1:47.41, and nobody else in the field was under 1:50. Maher took third in the event in 1:50.26.
Crimson freshman Michael Mosca announced himself as a major contender at the Ivy League Championships by winning the one-meter event with 363.80 points. Making the win more impressive was that he defeated both of the last two Ivy League Championship Divers of the Meet, Princeton's Stevie Vines (second, 314.00) and Harvard's Michael Stanton (third, 310.55).
Princeton sophomore Paul Nolle was in control of the 1650, winning in 15:30.62, which was more than nine seconds faster than anybody in the field. Friday's opening session ended with the 400 medley relay, which the Tiger team of Strand, Christensen, Wang and Cordes won in 3:15.52.
Princeton came back to Blodgett Pool Saturday with no intentions of letting Harvard get any closer, and it took care of business early. The team of Raigla, Christensen, Strand and Wagner won the 200 medley relay in 1:28.60, while the foursome of Wang, Barrett, Monovoukas, and LaMonaca took third overall in 1:30.98.
Sophomore Daniel Hasler spent the 2011 H-Y-P meet dealing with an illness that would cost him the rest of his season. That had to make his 400 IM win all the sweeter, as his time of 3:54.47 was nearly four seconds faster than anybody in the field. Freshman Caleb Tuten held off his Harvard opponent by .06 of a second to place second (3:58.23).
The Crimson had plenty of strength in its sprint corps, but none could catch Wagner for the win. While Harvard took four of the top five spots, it was Wagner who won the event in 43.99. It was his second win of the weekend, and Cordes quickly followed with his own double; the senior won the 200 back in 1:46.70, while Maher (1:48.09) and senior Robert Coe (1:48.86) finished in the next two spots.
Princeton went 1-2-3 in the 100 fly, as senior Charlie Wang won the event in 48.81, with Raigla placing second in 49.33. Strand came in third with a time of 49.46.
Harvard won its first event Saturday in an exciting 500 free, as Crimson freshman Kyle McIntee rallied in the final 50 to pass Paulk for a win in 4:28.31. The Princeton freshman finished in 4:28.43, setting up a potentially exciting rivalry for the next four years. Their next meeting could come in the first session of the Ivy League Championships, which will be held Mar. 1-3 at Princeton's DeNunzio Pool.
Mosca won the three-meter diving competition with 394.80 points, while Vines took second again with 343.95 points. Christensen gave Princeton a third double-winner by taking the 200 breast in 1:59.75, and the Tigers closed the meet with a second-place finish in the 400 free relay; the team of Cordes, Wagner, Maher and Monovoukas finished in 2:58.05.
Princeton won't have to leave DeNunzio Pool again throughout the Ivy League season. The Tigers will honor their impressive senior class, which is going for Princeton's first Ivy four-peat since 1989-92, during Friday's Senior Day meet against Columbia. Three weeks later, it will invite the best in the league for the three-day championship meet at DeNunzio Pool.
And whether it's as dramatic as last year or as dominant as this weekend, Princeton will be looking for nothing more than another victory.
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