24 February 2007

Princeton Takes the Double

A week ago, it was the Women's program celebrating an Ivy League championship and we watched as Coach Susan Teeter joined her team in a celebratory dip to commemorate the occasion.
Tonight, it was C. Rob Orr's turn to do the same with the Princeton Men and the EISL championship as they put together a performance in front of the home crowd that saw a winning margin eventually rise to 184.5.

The final standings also created quite a stir as Yale rose to 3rd place in the overall by a grand total of 5 points over Columbia.

1. Princeton - 1405
2. Harvard - 1220 1/2
3. Yale - 1036
4. Columbia - 1031
5. Cornell - 963 1/2
6. Navy - 801 1/2
7. Brown - 624
8. Penn - 580 1/2
9. Dartmouth - 316

As for the individual awards ...
High-Point Scorers of the Meet (Moriarty Trophy) -
Geoff Rathgeber - Harvard
Alex Righi - Yale
HIgh-Point Diver of the Meet (Michael Trophy) -
Jeff Lichtenstein - Yale
High-Point Career Swimmer (Ulen Trophy) -
Mike Smit - Cornell

Lichtenstein Takes Home the 3m

Jeff Lichtenstein ('08, Yale) ruined my bold prediction. I had predicted a major upset tonight and I was leaning toward the 3m diving competition as the mode to deliver the bold prediction. I thought that an unknown quantity, most notably freshman Mike Papageorge ('10, Princeton), would come out of nowhere to win the whole thing.

That is until I saw Jeff Lichtenstein dive in the finals.

Although Papageorge proved to the EISL competition that he belonged in the finals as a freshman, it was Lichtenstein that masterfully crafted a program chock full of difficulty and precision. His routine placed him comfortably in first place going into the last dive. However, Papageorge made it very interesting by hitting his final dive to high scores. His statement dive meant that Lichtenstein would need to not only choose a high degree of difficulty on his final dive, but also hit it.

And Lichtenstein did just that.

He selected a dive with a high degree of difficulty registering 3.5 and just narrowly missed nailing it with a slight rotation issue as he entered the water. However, he had certainly done enough to outscore Papageorge and win the competition, by a margin of 359.00 to 347.45.

Excellent spectacle, gentlemen.

EISL Video Highlights from the Final Night!

Congratulations to Princeton on its victory. Take an 8-minute stroll through the land of EISL swimming by clicking below.

Smit Keeps the Pace; Wins 200 Fly

Mike Smit ('09, Cornell) also did his best to be put in the mix for the Swimmer of the Meet by staving off a furious challenge from the rest of the competition and winning in the oft undesirable Lane 2. Smit found himself in Lane 2 after qualifying in 3rd position during the preliminaries.

But in the final, his performance left absolutely no doubt that he was the swimmer to beat in the race. His 1:46.44 outdueled Meir Hasbani ('07, Princeton), the leading qualifier in the preliminaries, and his 1:47.04.

So add Mr. Smit as the 4th deserving candidate for the Swimmer of the Meet.

McKechnie Delivers in 200 Breast

Ready for a 3rd name to the Swimmer of the Meet consideration?

Dave McKechnie ('07, Cornell).

McKechnie smoked the rest of the field to also remain undefeated in the overall competition as he led wire-to-wire in the 200 Breaststroke. His 2:00.18 held off a challenge from two Columbia swimmers and provided much needed points for the overall team competition that now looks much closer than Princeton (the leaders at that beginning of the day) would prefer.

Congratulations, Dave on a superb swim.

All Hail, Righi! 43.19 in the 100 Free

Alex Righi ('09, Yale): You are my new best friend.

You don't even know me, but we're officially best buds ... and it's not because you're parents gave you an equally awesome name to mine.


The reason is because you made a smart man out of this fan. I made a bold prediction on a wing and a prayer, and you brought it to fruition. My words are now prophetic. Heck, I may even consider myself smart now.

You see, the other Alex did exactly what this Alex said he was going to do at 1:33 pm today: he was going to smash his own Meet and EISL records, and by virtue of his exploits, would destroy the existing Pool Record. Not only that, but he also beat his competition by a full second in the process.

Yes, that isn't a typo. A full second. Actually 1.11 seconds to be exact. His swim was flawless and now he owns every record in the discipline.

Oh, and while we're at it: go ahead and add Alex Righi to the growing list (2) of Swimmer of the Meet candidates.

Fantastic swim, Alex ...

... Your friend,

Rathgeber Owns Pool Record in 200 Back

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the first candidate for Swimmer of the Meet:

Geoff Rathgeber ('07, Harvard).

Ho-hum, another race ... another record. Just another day at the office.

Rathgeber led from the onset and was never troubled by the competition as he cruised to yet another victory at the EISL meet, lowering the pool record held by former Harvard swimmer, David Cromwell ('06), from 1:44.20 to 1:43.54.

Kevin Mukri ('07, Navy) was Rathgeber's closest competition, swimming a very respectable 1:45.62.

With the win, Harvard has begun to close the gap considerably with Princeton and now is within striking distance for the overall championship.

Wollner Takes the 1650

Samuel Wollner ('08, Harvard) outkicked teammate Eric Lynch ('09) in the first event of Saturday night: the 1650.

Wollner's heroics follow up on his win last night in a race that mimicked this win almost identically. Once again he waited until the end to make his move, and once again he successfully outkicked his competition in the final 25 yards.

His time of 15:15.37 was a Top 10 All-Time mark.

Congratulations Sam, way to make our collective hearts stop for a second night in a row!

Bring On the Nightcap!

I'm going to make five bold predictions for the nightcap of Day 3 as my normal teaser.

1. Alex Righi of Yale will break his own Meet and EISL record in the 100 Freestyle, and will subsequently smash the Pool record for the event.

2. There will be a major upset tonight that many will say "nobody can honestly say that they predicted that!" Well guess what, I predicted it. And when it happens, I'll gloat. :)

3. A longstanding record will fall tonight.

4. There will be a four worthy selections for the Swimmer of the Meet, but only Co-Swimmers of the Meet will be awarded.

5. I personally will not get out of the DeNunzio Pool before 10pm. And I have to be up at Harvard (roughly 4 hours and 49 minutes away) for a Fencing tournament tomorrow. Good times.

... Stay Tuned!

23 February 2007

Day 2 Leaderboard

Upon completion of Day 2, the leaderboard looks as follows:

Coach C. Rob Orr's Princeton Tigers lead the overall competition going into the final day.

1. Princeton - 916
2. Harvard - 795 1/2
3. Cornell - 681 1/2
4. Columbia - 675
5. Yale - 674
6. Navy - 556 1/2
7. Brown - 441
8. Penn - 414 1/2
9. Dartmouth - 198

This just goes to show you how vital ALL of the points are as Princeton has stormed to the lead by virtue of 2nd-8th place showings. To put it in perspective, Princeton has only officially won 1 discipline, whereas Yale has taken home 2 event wins, Harvard has 4 event wins, and Cornell leads with a total of 6 event wins.

Will it be a Princeton sweep in 2007 in their home pool? Tomorrow will have the answer.

Cornell Holds Off Columbia in the 800 Freestyle Relay

In what was easily the best race of the night, Cornell staved off a fantastic upset bid by Columbia University. Columbia gave everything they had in this race, and prior to the last exchange were actually leading.

Only a fantastic anchor leg by Mike Smit ('07) kept Columbia from staging a monumental upset. The team of Kevin Wakefield ('09), Hyun Lee ('09), John Dragelin ('09), and Tobin White ('07) battled the entire way, and by using exceptional speed and textbook turns, nearly stunned the crowd. To put it in perspective, and if you consider seeding times as valid measures of performance, then Columbia seemingly came out of nowhere to place 2nd.

But at the end of the day, it was Smit, combined with Wes Newman ('09), Dave McKechnie ('07) and Brad Gorter ('08) keeping Columbia and the rest of the teams at bay, to capture the full allotment of points.

We'll see you tomorrow!

Righi Holds Off Mukri to Take 100 Back

Alex Righi ('09, Yale) held off a late challenge from Kevin Mukri ('07) of the Naval Academy to take the maximal points in the event that saw five (5) sub-50 second times registered. First place is certainly not a new experience for Righi, who has already won events this year and has been on the podium in year's past, but it should be noted that Mukri's race was the highest placement by an individual swimmer from the Naval Academy to this point.

The final 25 yards of Mukri's swim propelled him from 4th place up to 2nd place and saw his time of 48.61 only bettered by Righi's 48.01. He was closing the gap with Righi during every subsequent stroke.

McKechnie Delivers Again for Cornell

All Cornell knows how to do is win. It is as simple as that. And Dave McKechnie ('07) added more proof of this unquestionable truth during a smashing performance in the 100 Breaststroke. McKechnie jumped out in front of the competition and coasted back home with a victory that was just as much awe-inspiring as it was ... for lack of a better word ... easy.

McKechnie crushed the competition in a signature race that saw him touch the wall a full 2.16 seconds faster than Zachary Glassman ('09), the second-place finisher from Columbia. His prowess in the pool also broke the meet and EISL records for the event.

Excellent swim, Dave, and congrats on the records!

Smit Owns Pool Record in 200 Free

DeNunzio's Pool is officially Mike Smit's ('07, Cornell) to own. Well at least in the 200 Free it is.

Although he was off the pace that he posted in the 2006 meet by .1 second, his 1:35.52 erased a pool record that has been in existence since 1:36.33. The original mark was held by Mike Kiedel of Harvard, who also owns the EISL record.

Smit is also making a very compelling case for another Swimmer of the Meet distinction. Not surprisingly, Smit and Geoff Rathgeber of Harvard were co-Swimmers of the Meet last year, and both appear poised to compete for the distinction again this year.

Lennox Flies in the 100

If there was ever a race that teams could possibly gain some valuable points on the leaders, Princeton ... this was that race. This was because Princeton only had 1 person represented, whereas challengers Harvard and Cornell sported 3 and 2 racers, respectively.

But if I may steal a horse racing reference: you've gotta have a horse in the race if you want to win.

And Princeton had a horse. Not to mention a very fast one.

Doug Lennox ('09) outlasted the competition in the 100 Butterfly to take home 1st place and 32 vital points in the team competition with a time of 47.94. Although Harvard benefitted the most from the swim, after taking 2nd, 3rd and 6th places, it was Lennox's performance that was the most significant. He did what he needed to do in order to keep Princeton with the most points possible.

Rathgeber Takes Another Title

Geoff Rathgeber ('08, Harvard) seems to only be getting more and more comfortable at the EISL competition. After rewriting the record books in the 200 IM on Thursday night, he went for the encore double on Friday night in the 400 IM. While he did not set any records during this swim, it was plain to see that he was on a different level than the rest of the competition. His final time of 3:47.59 was nearly 4 full seconds faster than his closest competition.

Unfortunately, Harvard's prospects for the team championship took yet another blow as a result of the final of the 400 IM. The reason for this was not from another disqualification, but arguably just as devastating: Princeton took 2nd-4th and 6th place in the competition and extended a lead which may prove to be insurmountable by the end of the night.

A Fantastic Finish in the 1000

For nearly 990 yards, Robert Griest ('09, Princeton) was comfortably in control of the first Freestyle competition of Friday night's program.

Unfortunately, the race was the 1000 yards ... and the 10 yards in which Griest found himself in 2nd place were yards 991 through 1000. That was when Harvard junior, Sam Wollner, overtook him to reach the wall first.

Wollner was nestled in second position for most of the swim and waited for the optimal time to make his move, and based on the results, he chose the perfect time. His 9:06.36 bested Griest's effort of 9:06.61 and allowed for Harvard to regain some vital points that were lost as a result of the disqualification in the 200 Medley earlier in the night.
Sam Wollner (pictured) is joined by Ivy League swimming legend, Tony Corbisiero ('82, Yale), the presenter of the 1000 award.

And We've Got Controversy!

Nothing quite like starting off the night with some old fashioned controversy.

It appeared that Harvard was deemed the winner in the 200 Medley Relay, however the 1st place points and bragging rights were very short lived.

Shorter than any Harvard fan would like, that's for sure.

Within seconds after the final swimmer touched the wall to signify the end of the race, the big board at Princeton showed a disqualification of Harvard for an unspecified broken rule.

Harvard took a massive blow to their chances of winning the overall competition as a result of the disqualification, which ultimately penalized them 64 points. But the gaff also rewarded Cornell with yet another relay win in a time of 1:29.11.

A Little History to Hold You Over

Since we had a bit of time before the 2nd Day Preliminaries began, we thought that it might be fun to show a clip of a great race in our sport.

Although it may have nothing to do with the EISL competition, here is a nice little reminder of what many consider to be the greatest race of all time.

Without further adieu, the 2000 Sydney Olympics 4x100 Relay. Get your goosebumps ready. The video is housed on You Tube.

22 February 2007

Cornell Breaks Another; Princeton Leads

The Cornell 400 Medley Relay added another record for the books. With a blistering opening leg, Cornell cruised to Meet, EISL, and Pool Record Gold. Their time was 3:13.61.

As for the First Day scores:

Princeton leads the competition with consistently strong showings in all events with a 442.

Princeton - 442
Harvard - 353 1/2
Cornell - 304
Navy - 266 1/2
Columbia - 266
Yale - 260
Brown - 197
Penn - 147
Dartmouth - 120

We'll see you tomorrow for Day 2.

Thanks for the Memories, Rick!

Rick Gilbert has given so much to the Ivy League and sport of diving, that it is time for us to repay him with our gratitude.

Rick will be retiring after 39 years worth of coaching at Cornell. Thank you for everything that you have done for our conference and student-athletes everywhere.

Enjoy your retirement, and come back and see us sometime. We'd be honored to have you back around.
Joining Rick in the above picture are, from L to R; Andy Noel (Cornell AD), Joe Lucia (Head Coach), Rick Gilbert, Paul Steck and Larry Moore (former Cornell divers)

Sanders Takes the Crown in the 1m

Luke Sanders ('08, Harvard) used a pretty unconventional means to upset the rest of the field in the finals of the 1m Diving competition.

He basically played "possum".

But as the old adage goes in sports: it's not how your start, it's how you finish.

And finish he certainly did. Sanders positioned himself comfortably in the "A" Final with conservative dives and putting together a routine that would place him in 5th place at 277.90. Essentially, he did what he needed to do to ensure he'd be in the final.

After that, all bets were off.

In the final, Sanders emerged as the guy-to-beat with strong dives combined with a calculated degree of difficulty. This delicate balance allowed LUUUUUUUUUUUUKE!!! to distance himself from his competitors, and run away with the 1m championship. His 305.90 in the final was a full 10 points better than his closest competitor, Mike Papageorge ('10, Princeton).

Yale's Righi Ties Pool Record in the 50 Free

Alex Righi ('09, Yale) sprinted to victory with a blistering clip in the 50 Freestyle. Righi, for all intents and purposes, left his competition in the dust by .75 seconds.

In a nutty night of competition, it would only seem fitting that the shortest race in distance and quickest in time would set up to arguably be the most convincing blowout. I'm sure that Geoff Rathgeber ('09, Harvard) would put up a pretty convincing argument from his dismantling in the 200IM, but to win in such a short distance by such a convincing margin is pretty impressive.

Righi's 19.68 tied the DeNunzio Pool mark set last year by Tennessee's Barry Murphy.

Rathgeber's 200IM Romp; Record Smashed

Geoff Rathgeber ('08, Harvard) blasted his own existing Meet and EISL League records Thursday night by putting together a near flawless effort that saw him shave a large chunk of time. His existing records both stood at 1:46.11 and were set last year in front of his home fans. Now he can lay claim to 1:44.67 in the discipline.

His margin of victory, to further display the clinic he put on in the pool, was nearly 4 full seconds.

In addition, Rathgeber's heroics erased a pool record that was held previously by Andrew Thirlwell of the University of Tennessee (2006) that stood at 1:46.92.

"Good ol' Rocky Top! Ousted by a better Ivy!"

In the 500 Free, It's ...

... A TIE?!?!

No way. I don't believe it. Not possible.

But yet that is where we stand. The one thing we can say is that Cornell takes another 1st place point setting (err...make the 2 1st places). After 500 yards of water, the Cornell tandem of Mike Smit ('07) and Wes Newman ('09) decided that they would rather tie than have to go back to Ithaca, N.Y. with dissention in the ranks and bragging rights.

The good news for Cornell is that this random act of kindness and unselfishness has distanced Cornell atop the leaderboard for the time being.

Good teamwork, lads!

Cornell's Dual-Meet Triumphs Recognized

Ladies and gentlemen,

Before we get into tonight's action, the Ivy League would like to make a special presentation. As is the case every year, the Ivy League champion will be crowned at the end of Saturday's session.

During the regular season, however, the nine schools of the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League compete intensely in a dual-meet season that begins in November and concludes in early February. It is the League's honor present this year's dual-meet winner with a trophy to recognize this very significant accomplishment.

With an undefeated 8-0 dual-meet record, the 2006-07 version of the trophy was awarded to the Cornell Big Red.

Congratulations to Cornell on a tremendous dual-meet season.

Cornell Propels to the Lead

Cornell laid down the gauntlet in the 200 Freestyle Relay to win quite comfortably in the first event of the night. The team was led by strong swims in each of the disciplines by Mike Smit, Dave McKechnie, Brad Gorter and Wes Newman. The winning time of 1:19.96 was second only to Princeton's Ivy Record swim in 2003.

The excitement in the event actually came in the race for 3rd through 5th place, which saw a logjam of 3 teams differentiated by .01 seconds. Tobin White's anchor leg allowed Columbia to nip both Yale and Pennsylvania and secured the vital 3rd place points.

What's On Tap?

The first night of competition should carry over from the first day of preliminary competition. This year's EISL competition is absolutely wide open and there will no doubt be some interesting movement up and down the leaderboard for this competition.

Chuck Yrigoyen ('82, Syracuse) of the Ivy League kicked off the night's festivities with a presentation of the Dual Meet Championship trophy to Cornell University.

The first competition to be contested will be the 200 Freestyle Relay.

Stay here for updates.

Men's Preview: Thursday

The men are in the pool currently in preparation for the Thursday preliminaries. In the morning session, the men will be swimming in the following disciplines:

200 Free Relay
500 Freestyle
200 IM
50 Freestyle
1m Diving

Gentlemen, the women have set the bar high...so swim fast and let's break some more records...

Best of luck, fellas!

21 February 2007

Women's Championships Video

I'm pleased to provide 6-1/2 minutes or so of video from the final night of the 2007 Ivy League Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. Here's the disclaimer: Not every school is represented equally. That's a fact of life when trying to do something like this. What I do regret is that I was unable to get any diving action footage because I was editing this piece and just missed a chance to get the final dives of the 3-meter competition. You'll note Katie Giarra's photo towards the end, recognizing her as the Diver of the Meet. Giarra's performances at both 1- and 3-meters earned some of the biggest cheers of the meet. Congratulations to Katie and her coach, Greg Gunn of Princeton. The video is hosted by YouTube.com.

Honoring EISL Past: Schollander and Graef

Sometimes it is always great fun to honor the past when describing the present. As the EISL competition draws near, we have exhausted the archives to find some of the great Ivy heroes of the past. Below is a fun little Uncle Sam propaganda video that highlights Donald Schollander (Yale, '68) in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics breaking an Olympic Record in the 100m Freestyle. In addition, at the tail end of the video, Jed Graef (Princeton, '64) is also highlighted for his Gold medal in the 200m Backstroke. So take a fairly deep trip down memory lane to reminisce with some former Ivy Leaguers that won on the "World's Grandest Stage" [the Olympics] and enjoy the video provided by YouTube.com.
Schollander also combined with fellow Yale swimmers, Michael Austin and Stephen Clark ('65) to win Gold in the 400m Freestyle Relay.