After three days of competition, the Columbia women’s swimming and diving team finished in fourth place at the Ivy League Championships, with a team total of 1,057 points.
Favorites Harvard and Princeton, first and second respectively, boasted talented squads that inundated the top heats, and a resilient Yale snuck in to steal the bronze from Columbia by fewer than 20 points. The Bulldogs benefited from the strong performance of senior captain Hayes Hyde, who ultimately captured the Career High Point Swimmer Award, and the return of repeat champion Alexandra Forrester, a junior who took last season off.
The meet started off with a Light Blue win as the 200-yard freestyle relay team of junior Katie Meili, freshmen Mikaila Gaffey and Salena Huang, and sophomore Laney Kluge captured first in an NCAA B cut of 1 minute, 32.58 seconds. The day would end with another relay victory, this time by the team of senior Dorothy Baker, Meili, junior Kristina Parsons, and Huang in the 400 medley relay.
The swimmers also performed well individually. Huang won the consolation final of the 500 freestyle and finished fourth overall in the 200 and fifth in the 100. Freshman Chacha Bugatti claimed third in the mile. Baker placed eighth overall in the 100 backstroke, and Kluge touched fourth in the 200 IM, third in the 400 IM, and sixth in the 200 backstroke.
Meili enjoyed a phenomenal meet. First, she set an Ivy League record in the 200 IM. Her time of 1:57.38 eclipsed the 1999 mark posted by former Columbian and Olympian Cristina Teuscher. The next day, she smashed the Ivy League record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 59.64, becoming the first-ever Ivy woman to finish the race in less than a minute. She wrapped up her individual events with another title on Saturday, winning the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:10.40.
Meili’s performance netted her the title of Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet, as voted on by the eight head coaches and awarded to the most outstanding swimmer of the competition.
Qualifying swimmers will continue their season in mid-March at the NCAA championships, hosted by Auburn.