Penn women’s swimming and diving left the DeNunzio Pool in Princeton, N.J. with multiple new program records, a pair of Ivy titles, and a new Ivy League record set by senior Anna Kalandadze.
After a disappointing first day where Penn finished seventh in the 200-yard medley relay and sixth in the 800 freestyle relay, Kalandadze created some momentum for the Quakers on the second day after leading a 1-2-3 Quaker finish during preliminaries of the 500 free, setting them up as the favorites going into the evening finals.
During finals, Kalandadze won the 500 free and led another 1-2-3 Red and Blue finish. Defending two-time Ivy League champion in the 1650 free and fellow senior Catherine Buroker finished in second and freshman Anna Moehn followed two seconds later in third. This result is eerily similar to last year, when Penn recorded a 1-2-4 finish in the 500 free with now-graduated Lia Thomas, Buroker, and Kalandadze, respectively. Kalandadze’s time of 4:38.58 not only set a pool record but also earned her Arena Swim of the Week and the ninth-best time in the country this season.
More records continued to be set on the third day, when sophomore Izzy Pytel broke Penn’s 100 breaststroke record with a time of 1:01.63. She finished in sixth place in a tight A-final where the difference between third and sixth place was only 0.27 seconds. In the 400 individual medley, Kalandadze moved up from 28th on the psych sheets to third — finishing finals with a time of 4:15.13, adding another medal to her collection.
On the final day of championships, Kalandadze’s final individual event of the meet cemented her as a swimmer to watch this championship season. In another déjà vu moment, she led a podium sweep for the Quakers, and in a Katie Ledecky-like fashion, she won the 1650 free by over 25 seconds and broke three different records at once: A 14-year-old Ivy League record, Penn's record set by Thomas last season, and a DeNunzio pool record. The 1-2-3 finish showcased Penn's youth talent with freshmen Sydney Bergstrom and Anna Moehn following Kalandadze in second and third place, respectively.
In addition, Pytel broke another record during the third day's prelims: her 200 breaststroke personal record with a time of 2:13.75. After finishing fourth at her Ivy League championships debut last year, she returned to A-finals and raced to a strong fifth place finish following some strong freshman talent from the Bulldogs and Tigers. Two-time Ivy League finalist in the 200 breast and fellow sophomore Anna Boeckman finished the A-final in eighth place.
At the end of the meet, Kalandadze was named first team All-Ivy and tied for second-most individual points with 91 — five points shy of the title of High Point Swimmer of the Meet. Despite multiple records being smashed and several top finishes, the Quakers didn’t return to their program-high 1,256 points from last year’s Ivys. This time around, Penn finished in sixth place with 832 points — besting Cornell and Dartmouth. Home team Princeton took the crown — collecting 1,480 points — and defending champions Harvard took second with 1,254 points.
Penn women’s swimming and diving season is not done yet, though, with select swimmers and divers heading to Annapolis, Md. next weekend for the ECAC Championship before NCAA Championships next month.