With Ivy League Championships less than a month away, the Princeton swimming and diving teams began the final stretch of their season, traveling to New Haven for the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton weekend. The men began the weekend on Saturday, placing second in the meet with a 213-140 loss to Harvard and a 194-159 win over Yale. The women took their turn in the rivalry on Sunday, coming in second with a 189-111 loss to Harvard and a 171-129 win over Yale.
Front and center for the Tiger men’s hopes during the annual classic were juniors Michael Strand and Connor Maher, reigning Ivy League champions in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke, respectively. The 100 back proved to be the Tigers’ most successful event, as the Tigers claimed the top three spots. However, Strand finished second in the event with a time of 48.51. He was beaten by teammate and sophomore En-Wei Hu-Van Wright, who won the event with a time of 48.21, giving the Tigers their only first place finish in the 19-event meet; Maher finished third in the sprint event with a time of 48.53.
“The 100 back has been a very strong event for us in the past and being able to finish 1-2-3 in such an early event was huge momentum swing,” Maher said. “The race strategies are very different [swimming the 100 and the 200]. The 200 you definitely have to strategize more about how hard you are going to go, but the 100 is much more of a dead sprint from the beginning.”
Despite strong swims throughout the meet, the Tigers were unable to capture any additional first place finishes. Maher led off the 200-yard freestyle relay team that ultimately finished in second place with a time of 1.19.86, less than a second off of the winning time from Harvard’s top finisher. He was followed by junior Harrison Wagner, freshman Julian Mackrel, and sophomore Jeremy Wong.