NEW YORK- After an exciting win over Princeton and securing a second place dual meet finish in the Ivy League, the Columbia women's swimming and diving team has great momentum heading into the 2012 Ivy League Championships and the 2012 ECAC Open Championships this weekend. The Lions are 8-1 overall this season, 6-1 in Ivy League play, and currently posts a six meet winning streak with their latest win over Dartmouth.
From Thursday, February 23 - Saturday, February 25, Columbia will compete for the Ivy League title at the 2012 Ivy League Championships in Cambridge, Mass. Junior Katie Meili leads the way for the Lions holding top Ivy League times in three events including the 200 yard individual medley at 2:01.37, the 100 yard breaststroke at 1:02.11, and the 200 yard breaststroke at 2:13.58.
"This team has worked so hard and raced so well all season that we have more confidence than ever heading into Ivies and ECACs, " said Diana Caskey, Head Coach of Women's Swimming.
"We stand as a threat to Harvard and Princeton at Ivies. On paper, both of those teams have a little more depth in their performances this season, but we have shown that we are a force to be reckoned with," said Caskey.
The Lions showed that force two weeks ago when they headed into Princeton to defeat the Tigers for the first time in program history 173-127. Columbia won 11 of 16 events to take the meet behind strong showings from Meili and emerging first-year swimmers Salena Huang, Chacha Bugatti, and Mikaila Gaffey. After capturing second place in the Ivy League for the regular season, the bar is high for the Lions heading into this year's Ivy League meet.
"We want to qualify athletes for the NCAA Championships, win Ivy Titles, have best times for every athlete, and enjoy this culminating experience more than any other team on deck," explained Michael Sabala, Assistant Coach of Women's Swimming.
"At last year's meet our team was third but because every athlete swam lifetime bests and because we tied our program's best finish, it was a total victory. We want to capture that magic again and we will," said Sabala.
The Ivy League Championships will begin at 11 a.m. with preliminaries on Thursday, February 23 in Blodgett Pool. The finals will follow at 6 p.m. and the same schedule will ensue for the duration of the tournament.
Members of the women's swimming and diving team will also head to Annapolis, Md. for the 2012 ECAC Swimming and Diving Open Championships on Friday, Feb. 24 - Sunday, Feb. 26 to compete with over 20 teams.
Columbia finished 12th out of 22 teams in the 2011 ECAC Championships last season. Sophomore Margaret D'Arcy finished 14th overall in the 500 free in the consolation final of the 2011 ECAC's and senior Erin Kampschmidt came in 16th overall. D'Arcy would also place 14th in the 200 free with a time of 1:55.16. The Lions believe they have the confidence they need to do even greater things in this year's ECAC Championships.
Day one trials of the ECAC Champions will begin at 10am on Friday, February 24, followed by the finals at 6pm. Follow live results of the meet HERE.