PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, March 8. HARVARD is looking to end Princeton's four-year streak of men's Ivy League swimming and diving titles, and started that campaign Thursday with three wins in the first finals session.
The Ivy League remains the only major swimming and diving conference in the United States to run a schedule identical to the NCAA championships, instead of shifting events around and spreading it out over four days. Harvard scored 80 big points in the meet's first day by winning the 200 free relay and 400 medley relay. The 400 medley relay posted a 3:12.18, while the 200 free relay time of 1:18.06 gave the Crimson an automatic qualifying time. New NCAA procedures dictate Harvard must qualify at least one swimmer to the NCAA championships in an individual event for any relays to get invited to the Big Dance.
Though no one posted an automatic qualifying time in an individual event on Thursday, Nejc Zupan of Dartmouth got close, winning the 200 IM with a 1:43.94, the 12th-fastest time of the season and a lifetime best for him. His time missed the automatic cut of 1:43.62. On its own, Zupan's swim would be fast enough to make it into the NCAA meet, but he's already got his spot at the meet with a 1:53.87 in the 200 breast from December, just under the automatic standard and the fifth-fastest collegiate swim of the season.
Placing second in the 200 IM was Princeton freshman Teo D'Alessandro with a 1:45.47, and Chuck Katis of Harvard was third with a 1:46.88.
Rob Harder gave Yale the victory in the men's 500 free with a lifetime best 4:19.20. Dominik Koll of Columbia, who posted the fastest qualifying time with a 4:21.10, settled for second with a 4:20.62, another lifetime best.
Princeton also got into the win column with a win in the 50 free, thanks to Harrison Wagner's 19.61. Chris Satterthwaite, Oliver Lee and Griffin Schumacher gave Harvard more big points on the team leaderboard, going 2-3-4 in the event with times of 19.67, 19.79 and 20.01, respectively.
Harvard's other win of the day came in the 1-meter diving competition. Michael Mosca earned 387.05 points, a pool record, while Princeton's Stephen Vines placed second with 348.30 points. Michael Stanton was third with 332.90 points.