The women’s swimming team (7-0 Ivy) completed its first undefeated season in program history after beating Princeton, 165-131, on Friday and Dartmouth, 167-124, at Senior Day on Sunday.
For the Lions, Friday’s win was their third in a row over the Tigers (4-3 Ivy). It was highlighted by junior Mikaila Gaffey’s three wins, as well as a new program record in the 100-yard backstroke set by first-year Gabbie Toback, who broke her own record set in December.
Against Dartmouth (6-6), Toback capped off a historic first season by setting a new school and pool record in the 200-yard backstroke, breaking the record previously held by senior captain Alena Kluge.
“It feels absolutely amazing to finish 7-0, the best we’ve ever been as a team,” Kluge said. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my fellow teammates, and being part of a team that could go out like this—I couldn’t ask for more.”
The eight seniors ended their remarkable final season by teaming up in the final event—the 400-yard freestyle relay—to pull out one final first-place finish, in a time of 3:25.62.
“If you said this to us as freshmen, it would have been completely unbelievable, or even last year as well. To do something completely unprecedented, it’s exciting to be part of history,” senior captain Corinna Bertelsen said. “This year, beating Harvard for the first time, we thought we could do this. We can win it all and get a trophy at the end and have a great way to go out.”
Now, the Lions have their sights set on the Ivy League Championships in Providence.
“We’ve stepped it up at every meet,” head coach Diana Caskey said. “To start thinking about winning Ivies as a real possibility that has continued to develop throughout the season.”
Drawing from their past success, the Lions say they are confident that they are legitimate contenders for the Ivy League Championship.
“It’s going to be impossible to lose that momentum,” senior Caitlin Jokubaitis said. “With every win, with every hard practice we’ve conquered, we can look back and say that no other team has done this, so why not us?”
Meanwhile, the men’s team split its weekend dual meet, suffering its worst defeat of the season, 186-94, to defending Ivy champion Princeton before beating Dartmouth, 170.5-129.5, at Senior Day.
The Princeton meet had few bright spots, with junior Kevin Quinn accounting for two of the Lions’ three total wins. But at the Dartmouth meet, Quinn set a pool record in the 200-yard butterfly after junior David Jakl set a pool record in the 100-yard backstroke, helping Columbia end its season on a positive note.
The Lions also continued their dominance in the 50-yard freestyle events, with senior Philipp Gaissert leading yet another top-three sweep in the event.
The women’s team will travel to Providence, R.I. for the three-day championship on Feb. 20, while the men’s team will head to Cambridge, Mass. for the Ivy League Championships on Feb. 27.