NEW YORK -The Columbia women's swimming and diving team continued their Ivy Leauge schedule Friday, hosting a double dual tri-meet, facing Harvard and Penn. Columbia beat Penn, 247-51, while nearly beating Harvard in the closest dual meet in Columbia history, 157-143.
Columbia began the meet strong with sophomore Kathleen Furr taking first in the women's 3m diving event with 264.20 points. The Lions flexed early strength in the women's 200 yard medley relay. The squad of senior Dorothy Baker, first-year Mikaila Gaffey, junior Caroline Lukins, and first-year Stella Zhao finished with a Uris Pool record time of 1:43.47. The previous record, held by teammates Katie Meili, Gaffey, Lukins, and Zhao, was set in the first week of this season with a time of 1:44.06.Through the third event of the meet, the women's 1000 freestyle, Columbia took an early 47-7 lead over the Quakers, and trailed the Crimson by only three points, 29-26.
The Lions would surge with strong showing in the women's 200 freestyle led by first-year Salena Huang. Huang with a time of 1:48.95, captured a first place finish in the event. First-year Anne Steele took third place overall, with a time of 1:52.67.
Columbia continued to roll the pool record wave, as co-captain Dorothy Baker set a new record when she took first place in the 100 backstroke, with a time of 56.32. The senior broke a record set over two decades ago, by the Badgers' Lea Loveless in 1990. Meili added one more pool record, as she broke Yale Bulldog Susan Kim's record set in 2009, hitting the wall first in a time of 1:02.11. Gaffey would also place third in the event for the Lions with a time of 1:05.06. At the culmination of the 100 yard backstroke, the Lions built on their early lead of the Quakers at 94-17, and would take the lead over the Ivy League-leading Crimson, 62-50.
Harvard would battle back in the women's 200 yard butterfly placing all top three finishers. It was clear that Columbia and Harvard were in for a battle heading into the next event, the women's 50 yard freestyle. Zhao and Gaffey stepped up for the Lions, taking second and third place finishes. Zhao took second with a time of 24.05 and Gaffey followed at 24.19.
Huang continued her impressive showing in the women's 100 yard freestyle, taking first with a time of 50.97. The Lions battled in the women's 200 yard backstroke with a second place finish by sophomore Grace Senko in 2:02.99. Baker would finish in third for the Lions with a time of 2:03.24.
Meili added another first place finish for Columbia in the women's 200 yard breaststroke with a time of 2:15.71. The Lions' dual with the Crimson would surface again in the women's 500 yard freestyle. In a race that came down to the wall, Huang would place second with a time of 4:53.37, only losing first place by four hundredths of a second. The women's 100 yard butterfly would finish in similar fashion but in Columbia's favor, as Lunkins took first place with a time of 56:42, winning by four hundredths of a second.
Her third of a total four first places finishes for Meili would come in the women's 200 yard IM. With a time of 2:02.92, she continued to lead the Lions in their historic battle with the Crimson. Columbia capped the meet with yet another Uris Pool record setting time in the women's 400 yard freestyle relay. The squad of Gaffey, Huang, Meili, and Zhao set a record time of 3:27.37 on their way to a first place finish in the event.
The Columbia swimming diving team went on to beat Penn 247-51. The Lions would also suffer a bittersweet performance loss to the Harvard Crimson. The 143-157 loss notes the closest match between the schools in history, four Uris Pool records, and 10 first place finishes.
Up next, the Lions will host their first meet of the 2012 year, Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 1 p.m. in Uris Pool, facing Wagner.