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(Photo provided courtesy of the Princeton Office of Athletic Communications)

caption: POOLING HER RESOURCES: Princeton University women's swimming coach Susan Teeter, left, imparts some wisdom to one of her charges last season. Teeter is in her 20th year guiding the Tigers, who broke a school record when they won their 44th straight meet on November 15. Princeton, which is now 6-0 and has extended its winning streak to 47, hosts the Princeton Invitational from December 5-7. end of caption

Tiger Women's Swimming Glides Into History Setting School Mark With 44th Straight Win

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University women's swimming team rode on the bus to Boston two weekends ago for its first action of the season, head coach Susan Teeter read the team an article about the Kansas City Chiefs.

Noting that the Chiefs thought it was a big deal to be riding a nine-game winning streak, Teeter tried to give her charges some perspective on what they were seeking to accomplish in their first weekend of the season.

The Tigers entered their season on a 41-meet winning streak, looking to eclipse the school record streak of 43 wins set by the men's tennis team in the late 1970s.

While the Chiefs were toppled by the Cincinnati Bengals to snap their streak, the Tigers made history as they sailed past Boston College 199-101 on November 14 and then topped Northeastern 152-90 and Binghamton 186-55 a day later.

For longtime coach Teeter, the program's achievement was something to savor. "Having been here 20 years, I really get how special this is, particularly in today's sports world where nothing is consistent for anyone" said Teeter at DeNunzio Pool last week as she reflected on the record.

"I think that any record of a streak in Princeton sports history is just an awesome accomplishment. You have to consider the number of things that this institution stands for and the years and years of incredible athletes who have gone through here."

Teeter, whose charges extended the program's winning streak to 47 last weekend with victories over Brown (178-122), Cornell (202-90), and Penn (183-106), believes her athletes have carved out a special niche in the rich tradition of Princeton athletics.

"It's a true credit to the women who have come through the program and have helped build it," said Teeter, who has 132 wins in her tenure and has not seen her team lose a dual meet since the 1997-98 season.

"I told the guys that I thought it was a record that will probably be still standing when they come back for their 50th reunion. It is going to be that historical in nature. When you can get a group of great athletes to come here and want to be great students and have a program at this level of success, it's very exciting."

One of the mainstays of the team, senior distance specialist Sarah Fraumann, shares her coach's excitement over the achievement. "I just think that the record is an incredible accomplishment," said the blonde-haired native of Deerfield, Ill. who holds the school records in the 500-yard freestyle (4:49.07), the 1000 free (9:53.07) and the 1650 free (16:25.04).

"This is my fourth year on the team so I've been part of this the last three years. It's obviously gone back much longer, it all started with people I never even swam with. The legacy gets passed down and it's really special to be part of such a tradition."

In Fraumann's view, a major part of that tradition is the special bond that the swimmers develop with each other as they juggle the demands of their grueling sport with their academic responsibilities.

"Most of my closest friends are women on the team, either now or in the past," said Fraumann, an art history major who is also on the pre-med track. "It's like a family, with the camaraderie, the companionship and working together. You're looking at spending 20-21 hours a week working out which is just a large work load. We're all here to support each other. It's such a close group, we have so much fun."

Fraumann, who qualified for the NCAA championship meet last season in the 1650 free, gives Teeter a large share of the credit in creating the supportive atmosphere. "Teeter has kept us going, she has put so much into this team," said Fraumann, who said that the team's sights are now set on winning a fifth straight Ivy League title after setting the win streak mark.

"Every year, she encourages us not to rest on our laurels. She's always pushing us to better ourselves and become an even better and closer team."

Teeter, for her part, has gotten just as much out of pushing her team as they have from her guidance. "I feel like I'm the luckiest person in the world, working with these kids and being at the No. 1 academic institution in America," said Teeter with a broad grin. "It doesn't get any better than this."

Particularly when you haven't lost a meet since sometime last century.

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