Sports | Feb. 22 1:07 pm EST
ivy championships

Women’s swimming—Ivies day 2 recap

Deniz Rosenberger / Staff Photographer

The fight for the championship title looks to be another two-horse race this year as Princeton and Harvard continue to distance themselves from the rest of the pack. After the second day, Columbia remains in fourth place. Here’s the lowdown on the results from yesterday, what they mean for the team, and where the main action’s at today.

As always, you can follow the live results here and watch for a fee on the Ivy League Digital Network.

1. Closing the gap
From the outset, Columbia knew Yale would be its chief rival for third, and at the start of the day Yale, had over a hundred points’ advantage on the Lions. Columbia managed to make up roughly 30 of those points on Friday to shrink the Bulldogs’ lead, but whether it was enough remains to be seen. Given that many of its go-to events were yesterday, the Light Blue had certainly hoped to do better and were undercut by some close finishes and disappointing swims.

2. 3 Lions, 400-yard individual medley
Senior co-captain Alena Kluge failed to defend her 400 IM title in the finals session last night, falling to Yale sophomore Emma Smith and a Tiger, Beverley Nguyen. However, Lions flooded the A-final, and joined by her teammates Kristine Ng and Mallory McKeon, Kluge led the way to three top-eight finishes for some valuable Light Blue points.

3. Breaststroke dynasty
For the past several years, Katie Meili, now an alumna, dominated Ivy league breaststroke. In the first season since her graduation, the field appeared to be wide open—and teammate Mikaila Gaffey stepped up to fill her shoes, handily winning the A-final in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:01.05. She was joined on the podium by first-year Jen Shahar. Shahar’s bronze, coupled with fellow first-year Celia Frick’s ninth-place finish, indicates that Columbia will continue to own the breaststroke in the years to come.

4. NCAA watch
While there was only one individual victory for Columbia yesterday—Gaffey—multiple Columbia swimmers hit NCAA B-cut marks, provisional qualifying times that could earn them invitations to the national championships. So far, the athletes who have matched the standard are Gaffey (200-yard individual medley, 100-yard breaststroke), Kluge (200 IM, 400 IM), first-year Trudi Patrick (100 fly), sophomore Christina Ray (100 fly), and Shahar (100 breaststroke).

What to watch for today:

  • First-year and school-record holder Gabbie Toback steps up to the block for the 200-yard backstroke, in which she is seeded second. Yesterday, she added nearly two seconds to her personal best to wind up in eighth for the 100 distance, so it remains to be seen how she’ll handle the pressure in her second go-round.
  • Gaffey returns in two back-to-back individual events, the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard breaststroke. The junior is having the meet of her life so far, but if she swims in both finals, it could be an exhausting double—not to mention the fact she’ll likely be called upon to pull relay duty in the final 400-yard freestyle relay.
  • Speaking of breaststroke, Kluge has another shot at an Ivy title in the 200-yard breaststroke, which she enters with the fastest time. Four Lions are seeded in the top eight, so like yesterday, the breaststroke could be a place for the Lions to grab a bunch of points and chase Yale.
  • Don’t forget about diving. Senior Katie Furr made the B-finals of the 1-meter dive Thursday, and she’ll look to repeat or improve upon her finish in the 3-meter event today.
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