Feb. 5, 2009
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The 2008-09 regular season will come to a close for the Navy men's swimming and diving team this weekend when the squad competes in a pair of dual meets. The Midshipmen will first travel to New York City for a Friday afternoon meet at Columbia before returning to Lejeune Hall for a 2 p.m. meet Saturday against Princeton.
"This is a very important weekend for us," said Navy head coach Bill Roberts. "First will be the challenge of facing Columbia and Princeton on consecutive days. This also is our final chance to race prior the start of our championship season. Finally, for the Class of 2009, this is the final opportunity for them to compete in Lejeune Hall, and I know the rest of the team wants to honor them with a great performance."
Navy enters the weekend with a 16-1 record in dual meets this season. The 16 wins surpasses the school record of 15 set by last year's team, while the Mids are looking to become the first team to end a season with one or fewer losses since the 1976-77 squad posted a 9-1 record.
Navy tallied a 176-119 victory over Columbia last season to end a five-year losing streak to the Lions. The Mids have not defeated Columbia in New York since the 2000-01 campaign.
Victories in nine of the first 11 events helped Navy jump out to a commanding lead over Columbia during last year's meet between the teams. Five of the eight Mids who won an individual event during last season's meet are back for Navy this season. Alex Oldenkamp (Sr., Coppell, Texas) won both sprint freestyle events last year, with teammates Andrew Hetzner (Jr., Riverside, Calif.) winning the 100 backstroke, Ari Molina (Sr., Arlington, Va.) winning the 100 breaststroke, Adam Meyer (Jr., Bethesda, Md.) winning the 200 breaststroke and Jon Galinski (Sr., Phoenix, Md.) winning the three-meter diving event.
Columbia, 4-4 on the year, returns each of the three swimmers won combined to win five individual events against Navy last year, including Hyun Lee who won the 400 freestyle, 800 free and 200 fly during the meet.
Navy dropped a 183-109 decision to Princeton last year in New Jersey. That setback for the Mids came one season after Navy posted a 165-135 victory over the Tigers in Lejeune Hall.
Princeton, 6-0 this season, totaled 14 event victories against Navy a year ago. Eight of the 11 Tigers who recorded at least one individual event victory for Princeton are back for the Tigers this season. The lone Mids to emerge with an event victory last year were Meyer in the 200 individual medley and Olaf Olson (So., Bainbridge Island, Wash.) on the three-meter springboard diving event.