PRINCETON, New Jersey, January 5. AFTER two years of dramatic meetings, the Princeton and Navy men's swimming and diving teams met in the rubber match Saturday afternoon at Denunzio Pool. Princeton had one advantage it didn't in the previous two seasons, and that would be more than enough in a 182-115 victory.
That advantage was its Class of 2016.
Five different freshmen combined to win seven events to lead Princeton to a victory over reigning conference champions. Freshmen Marco Bove and Byron Sanborn joined sophomore Michael Strand and senior Stevie Vines as double winners for the Tigers, who moved to 5-0 on the season.
A Princeton underclassman finished either first or second in 12 of the 14 individual events, and they would post 1-2 finishes in seven of the 14.
“Coming off of a couple of weeks of hard break training, the team knew this meet was never going to feel comfortable,” assistant coach Mitch Dalton said. “If we wanted to win, we'd have to fight. Having said that, I'm really proud of the way our men were able to race given the workload they have been put through.
“We love racing Navy each year as we know they are in a similar position in their season,” Dalton added. “We're grateful they were able to make the trip to Princeton and push us to post some strong in-season swims.”
Princeton opened the meet in impressive fashion with a 1-2 finish in the 200 medley relay. The quartet of Kaspar Raigla, Teo D'Alessandro, Michael Strand and Harrison Wagner posted an impressive winning time of 1:30.68, but the team of Connor Maher, Jack Pohlmann, Brooks Powell and Brian Barrett edged past Navy's top relay with a second-place time of 1:33.24.
Navy's Thomas Duvall was impressive in winning the 1000 in 9:20.63, but Princeton freshman Zach Ridout earned the second-place points in 9:28.43. Classmates Sandy Bole and D'Alessandro quickly returned the momentum to the Princeton side with a 1-2 finish in the 200 free. Bole won in 1:40.21, while D'Alessandro took second in 1:40.83.
An underclassman trio went 1-2-3 in the 100 back, with Strand earning a win in 49.50. Freshman En-Wei Hu-Van Wright nearly rallied for a win, but he finished second in 49.52, and Maher took third in 50.51. Tiger freshmen went back-to-back in the next two events; Byron Sanborn posted a win in the 100 breast in 56.03, while Marco Bove took the 200 fly in 1:50.06. Bove held off both teammate Oliver Bennett and Navy's Jonathan Debaugh to win a thriller.
Wagner and Powell went 1-2 in the 50 free, with Wagner taking the win in 20.40, and Powell following in 21.01.
Last season, senior Stevie Vines scored a 3-meter win by a quarter point to provide the winning margin in Princeton's victory at Navy. Neither the individual nor the team margin would be as close this year, but Vines repeated the 3-meter win. He was dominant with 372.45 points, while sophomore Michael Manhard took second with 323.33 points.
Freshman Jeremy Wong topped Wagner in an exciting 100 free; Wong took the win in 45.88, while Wagner followed shortly after in 46.07. Fellow rookie Hu-Van Wright picked up his first individual victory in the 200 back with a time of 1:47.36; that led a 1-2-3 finish, with Maher (1:50.78) and Adam Lebovitz (1:53.41) taking the next two spots.
Sanborn got his second win of the day in the 200 breast with a time of 2:01.08. Navy's Duvall grabbed his second win in the 500, while Tiger sophomore David Paulk placed third in 4:40.61. Strand took the 100 fly in 50.45, while Powell (51.11) and Bennett (51.22) finished second and third.
Vines became Princeton's third repeat winner by taking the 1-meter competition with 326.70 points, while junior Mark O'Connell finished second with 280.05 points.
Princeton had clinched the victory at that point, so the final two events weren't included in the Tigers' final score. Bove (1:52.33) and Sanborn (1:53.35) went 1-2 in the 200 IM, while the quartet of Wong, Maher, Wagner and Hu-Van Wright won the 400 free relay in 3:01.69.
Princeton will now prepare for finals, and then will return to the water Jan. 27 in Bethlehem, Pa., for a dual meet at Lehigh. That will be the final tune-up for H-Y-P, while will be held Feb. 2-3 at Denunzio Pool.
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