NEW YORK – The Columbia women’s swimming and diving team will be back on the road on Saturday, Jan. 25 to take on Ivy League foe Brown at 12 p.m. The Lions are 4-0 in the conference this season and will look to stand strong against the 5-3 Bears.
LAST TIME OUT
In its first dual-meet action in two months, Columbia picked up where they left off on Saturday, Jan. 18 in Uris Pool for another win. The Lions were dominant all afternoon winning 14 of 16 events to defeat Cornell 197-94 in its annual Homecoming meet.
FEATURED ARTICLE: WSWIM Downs Cornell 197-94 At Homecoming
AT THE TOP
At 4-0, Columbia has remained the only unbeaten team in the Ivy League. With wins over Harvard, Penn, Yale and most recently Cornell, the Lions will look to hold onto its top place in the conference heading into Saturday’s dual-meet action.
Mikalia Gaffey has emerged as one of the top 100 breaststroke swimmers in the Ivy League this season. She currently holds the top time in the conference with her 1:02.45 effort at the AT&T U.S. Nationals last month. The junior bested teammate Jennifer Shahar, who now holds the second-best time at 1:02.52.
The 200 IM is where Alena Kluge has led the way this season. The senior captain remains unbeaten in dual-meet action in the event with clutch wins against both Harvard and Penn. Kluge posted the Ivy League’s best 200 IM times this season at the AT&T U.S. Nationals in December, clocking in at 2:00.26. Kluge has embraced her roll as leader of the team this season and her performance in the pool has continued to raise the bar for the Columbia squad.
BIG DAY FOR RAY
Christina Ray had a big day for the Lions with a pair of individual victories and a relay win on Jan. 19 against Cornell. The sophomore grabbed her first individual win in the 50 freestyle, clocking in with a time of 23.96 and went on to take the 100 freestyle at 51.28. Ray also aided the 200 medley relay squad on Saturday that set a new Uris Pool record with a combined time of 1:40.90.
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Through the opening dual-meets, first-year Gabbie Toback has been nothing short of stellar for the Lions. The Merrick, N.Y., native has set the program 100 backstroke record twice and has collected eight wins already this year, including four individual events and four top finishes as a member of the 200 medley relay squad.
In her last outing against Cornell, Toback set the Uris Pool record in the 100 backstroke for the second time this season. With a time of 54.24, she bested her previous record time 54.52 set back in November against Yale.
In her first collegiate win, Toback set the Uris Pool and program record in the 100 backstroke against Yale for the first time this season. With a time of 54.52, she broke the previous record of 54.54 set just a week earlier by Harvard’s Danielle Lee. Toback also posted a first-place finish in the 200 back on the day and swam for a repeat winning effort in 100 back against Penn.
Toback bested her 100 back record time just two weeks later at the U.S. Nationals. She led the 400 medley relay with the fastest 100 back split in program history at 54.12.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCKS
The future for Columbia swimming looks to be in good hands with a number of young swimmers having strong performances this season. Along with Toback, the first-year class is off to an amazing start to begin their collegiate careers. The newcomers have combined for a total of 15 individual and four relay wins in four dual-meets.
Celia Frick notched two victories in the Lions defeat over Cornell last Saturday. Frick swam the 100 breast in a first-place time of 1:02.95 and continued to impress in the 200 breast with a winning time of 2:17.47.
Jennifer Shahar picked up her first win in the 100 breaststroke in the home opener against Harvard. The New Jersey native has only been eclipsed in the event this season by teammate Frick. Trudi Patrick has emerged as an early contributor to the Lions success with a pair of wins in the 100 butterfly against Yale and Penn.
Tiffany Warmuth has also posted a trio of wins on the year with a victory in the 200 free over Yale, Cornell and at the Frank Elm Invite. On last Saturday, Michi Aisawa added another win with her first in 100 fly this year.
For the third time this season, Columbia received a top-20 national ranking in the latest Collegeswimming.com performance polls. With a 197-94 win over Cornell, the Lions garnered its second No. 20 ranking. Columbia was impressive in its annual homecoming meet setting a pair of Uris pool records, highlighted by the fastest weekly 200 medley relay in the nation at 1:40.90.
On Nov. 18, following a weekend with dual meet wins over Yale (185-115) and Penn (166-134), Columbia jumped to hits highest ranking so far this season at No. 15 on Nov. 18. This ranking came just a week following its first No. 20 ranking on Nov. 11 with the Lions first win over Harvard in program history (163.5-135.5).
SCOUTING THE BROWN
The Bears have dropped their last two meets at Harvard and Penn for a 1-3 Ivy League record. Brown will host the Lions on Saturday after a non-conference meet against Bryant on Friday. Columbia has won the last six meetings, dating back to the 2005-06 season.