NEW YORK - The 2011-12 season saw the Columbia women's swimming and diving team put together a spectacular season. After the exciting first program win over Princeton and securing a second place dual meet finish in the Ivy League, Columbia carried that great momentum into the 2012 Ivy League Championships on Thursday, Feb. 23 - Saturday, Feb. 25 in Cambridge, Mass.
With an 8-1, 6-1 Ivy League record, the Lions fed off a six meet winning streak to finish fourth in the Ivy League Championships. En route to a team career best 1,057 points, Columbia captured five Ivy League titles in the 100 breast, 200 breast, 200 IM, 200 free relay, and 400 medley relay. The 2012 Ivy League's Most Outstanding Swimmer, junior Katie Meili, led Columbia with three individual titles.
Meili began the meet with her teammates capturing a win in the 200 freestyle relay with a school record time of 1:32.59. After setting a school, pool, and Ivy League record time in the 200 IM with a time of 1:57.38, Meili swam with the Ivy League champion 400 medley relay team, winning with a time of 3:40.87. She returned in day two to set another school, pool, and Ivy League record in the 100 breaststroke with a NCAA qualifying time of 59.64. Her final victory came in the 200 breaststroke with a NCAA 'B' cut time of 2:10.40 to cap the meet.
Meili continued to represent Columbia well with a stellar weekend at the USA Swimming Grand Prix in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, March 9-12. She swam in the 100 breast, 50 free and 200 IM and qualified for the US Olympic Team Trials in those events with a time of 1:09.69 in the 100 breast, 26.30 in the 50 free, and 2:18.26 in the 200 IM. She finished third in the 100-meter breaststroke placing her in the top 20 nationally going into the Olympic Trials and giving her a top 30 world ranking.
VIDEO: Meili Discusses Recent Success And Preparations For NCAAs
From March 15-17, Meili she was a participant in the 2012 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. In the first day of competition she swam a personal best and a qualifying 'B-final' time of 1:57.08 in 200 IM preliminaries. She finished in 13th place capturing an All-America honorable mention, becoming the first Lion to score since Cristina Teuscher in 2000. Her time of 1:57.08 was a new Columbia mark, breaking her own record of 1:57.38 set in the 2011 Ivy League Championships.
She returned in the 'B-final' to swim a personal best 1:56.73, to yet again set a program best, breaking her own record set in the preliminaries. The time earned her a second place finish in the heat and a tenth place finish overall in the 200 IM.
Meili began her second day at the 2012 NCAA Championships with another impressive performance in the preliminaries of the 100 breaststroke. She set another program record in Auburn, Ala., hitting the wall at 59.44 on her way to a fifth place finish. With a top-five finish, she captured All-America honors in the event, her second honor of the meet. Meili went on to finish fifth in the championship finals of the 100 breaststroke with a time of 59.74. Columbia capped the amazing 2011-12 season with a Top 25 team finish in the 2012 NCAA Championships.
2012 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships Final Rankings
1. Cal Berkeley
6. Texas A&M
12. Arizona State
16. Southern Methodist
18. Virginia Tech
19. North Carolina
20. Ohio State
21. George Mason
22. Notre Dame
22. Penn State
26. West Virginia
26. Miami (Fla.)
29. South Carolina
30. Florida State