Women’s Swimming & Diving Surges to Finish Third at Ivy League Championships
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

NEW YORK – The Columbia women’s swimming & diving team had an outstanding showing in the final day of the 2011 Ivy League Championships in Princeton, N.J., as the Lions, who entered the day in fourth place, leap-frogged Ivy League rival Penn to finish third overall, by fantastically close margin. Columbia finished third with 894 points, tied for the best finish in program history, while Penn took fourth with 888 points and Yale finish fifth with 860 points.

The finals started with the 1000 free, where a deep distance free crew scored major points for Columbia. Junior Isabelle Vandenbroucke was once again the top finisher for the Lions, as she took eighth place overall, coming in at 10:05.37.First-year Aileen Smith was next in the standings, as she took 12th, in 10:06.86. Senior Abby Reilly and sophomore Molly Dengler finished 14th and 15th respectively, with times of 10:07.47 and 10:08.28.

In the 200 back, first-year Alena Kluge qualified for the championship final, and came in sixths, with a time of 2:01.14. Junior Dorothy Baker also swam well in that event, as she was the top finisher in the consolation final, finishing ninth overall with a time of 2:01.07. First-year Grace Senko also took part in the consolation final, finishing 15th overall in 2:03.94.

Columbia scored major points in the 200 breast, as three Lions qualified for the championship heat in that event. Sophomore Katie Meili was the top finisher for Columbia as she came in fourth with a time of 2:14.44. Seniors Mariele Dunn and Annie Perizzolo were right behind her in fifth and sixth place. Dunn finished with a time of 2:15.07, while Perizzolo came in at 2:15.55. 

At the end of the 200 breast, the battle for third was still led by Penn, who had 790 team points to Columbia’s 766. But the 200 butterfly made all the difference. Junior Caitlin Rogers qualified for the championship heat where she finished sixth overall, in 2:01.90. Sophomores Caroline Lukins and Kristina Parsons scored points for Columbia in the consolation finals, as Lukins came in tenth overall in 2:02.49, while Parsons finished 13th in 2:04.82. And sophomore Lacey Harris-Coble had the top spot in the bonus final, as she won her heat, coming in 17th overall with a time of 2:04.27. And those points were the ones that made the difference, as coming out of the 200 fly, Columbia was now in third with 830 points, to Penn’s 814.

The Lions got some help from first-year diver Liana Diamond, who qualified for the consolation final of the 1m diving competition. Diamond finished the day with 245.20 points, good for 12th place overall, and major points for the team.

The night concluded with the 400 free relay, that saw the team of Meili, Dunn, Vandenbroucke and senior Ashley MacLean take seventh overall, with a time of 3:27.13. The third place finish tied for the program's best finish ever in the league.

"Every swimmer and diver on this team contributed to our third place finish," head coach of swimming Diana Caskey said. "This is our highest ever program finish. It's a new day in Columbia swimming & diving. I'm grateful and honored to have coached this successful, driven group of women. Hats off to everyone."