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Ross's Top 10 Rivalries: 3. Harvard-Yale-Princeton

By Andy Ross

Every team has one. Every school has that one other school that they refuse to cheer for. The one school that they cannot stand to watch win. The one school that they bust their butt every single day to beat. The one school that is circled on the schedule from the first day of practice. The one school where everyone brings their A-game. The one school where season records are thrown out the door, reputations are on the line, and bragging rights are at stake.

3. Harvard-Yale-Princeton

Known as the "HYP" meet, it is one of the oldest rivalries in swimming, and it makes its way in at #3. This is not a two team rivalry, but three teams that meet each other in a tri-meet every single year. 

The athletes and coaches involved with the programs note that this is sometimes bigger than the Ivy League Championship itself. In fact, out of the 73 Ivy League champions in men's swimming, 66 of those come from Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, and one of these three teams has won the Ivy League every year since 1989. On the women's side, 37 of the 42 champions in the Ivy League were either Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, and since 2000, one of the three have won the championship. On the men's side, Harvard leads both series, leading Yale 40-39 and Princeton 38-37. Yale leads Princeton 78-45. The Bulldogs from Yale and the Tigers from Princeton have been meeting every year since 1949, and even have meet info dating back to 1906. 

The three teams have been meeting in a tri-meet every year since 1993. Harvard and Princeton had built up such a huge rivalry in the 1980s, that the two teams would often shave down and taper for the dual meet in mid February. Some of Yale's school records were broken in the HYP meet (Brian Hogan in 200 and 1650 free and Rob Harder in 200 back). In "…And Then They Won Gold" by Chuck Warner, he focuses on David Berkoff and references the 1986 HYP meet in Cambridge where Berkoff led off the 400 medley relay going 48.81 for Harvard. Not only was that two seconds faster than Berkoff had ever gone, it was only six tenths off the NCAA record of 48.21 held by Tom Jager and was faster than Berkoff swam at NCAAs later that year. Harvard went on to lose to Princeton that year on the final relay 59-54.

The first tri-meet was in 1993 held in New Haven. The Crimson won both meets for the men, 132-111 over the Bulldogs and 129.5-115.5 over the Tigers. Yale ended up beating Princeton 123-119. 

One of the biggest moments in this rivalry came in 2012 when Princeton and Yale both came into Cambridge undefeated. After winning 12 of the 19 events, Princeton cruised to a win over Harvard 207-146 and defeated Yale 285.5-67.5. Harvard however beat Yale 268-85. One big moment in this meet was freshman Caleb Tuten from Princeton overcoming a three second deficit at the 350 of the 400 IM to out-touch Matthew Karle of Harvard and give the Tigers a one-two finish in the event. The final race of the meet was also a good one. The two-day dual meet had been dominated by Princeton and going into the 400 free relay on the last day, the Tigers had the meet won. But the 400 free relay in a college dual meet is all about school pride, and Harvard was not going to go down without a fight. Colin Cordes of Princeton had a small advantage over Griffin Schumacher of Harvard at 44.46-44.83. Harrison Wagner extended that lead for the Tigers over Oliver Lee of the Crimson at 1:28.50-1:29.13. Zachary Walters of Harvard closed the gap a little bit over Connor Maher but the Tigers had the lead at the 300, 2:12.92-2:13.41. Sophomore Chris Satterthwaite of Harvard used a strong second 50 to blow by Michael Monovoukas and the Crimson won the final relay at 2:57.04, while Princeton was second at 2:58.05. 

The women first started competing against each other in a tri-meet in 1999 in New Haven. That year was highlighted by Harvard squeaking out a win against Yale, 157-143. Harvard also had a close win in 2004 against Yale, 162-157. Harvard has since won three straight over Princeton in the HYP women's meet in one of the most hotly contested meets in all of collegiate swimming. 

When these three teams meet in February, dual meet records are thrown out the door, reputations are on the line, and school bragging rights are at stake in the HYP meet: the oldest rivalry in collegiate swimming.

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