As thousands of their classmates geared up for The Game weekend and the ensuing holiday break, the Yale women’s swim team competed on five of the seven days preceding Thanksgiving. The Elis experienced mixed results in three meets, recording a fifth place finish at the Maryland Invitational, which took place from Nov. 20-22, a victory over Maine on Nov. 24 at home and a loss at Rutgers on Nov. 25.
The team swam at Maryland from Thursday to Saturday before the break. The field was extremely competitive, containing such teams as the currently undefeated and nationally ranked No. 22 Maryland squad and last year’s Invitational runner-up, the University of Richmond. Yale’s top swimmer was Moira McCloskey ’07, who posted fourth, seventh and 10th place finishes in the final heats of the 100-yard backstroke, the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard individual medley, respectively.
“It was a great meet,” McCloskey said. “Even though we were tired, the meet was exciting enough to get us up to race.”
While Yale’s fifth place finish may not seem impressive, the Elis seemed to be extremely proud of the results and their performances, given the circumstances.
“We were very proud of [our performance],” Adrienne Mossler ’04 said. “We were the only team that wasn’t shaved and rested. We didn’t even have a full travel team; we had 21 instead of 26.”
The Bulldogs returned home to host Maine on Nov. 24 and won a solid victory over the Black Bears 158-131. Yale won nine of the 16 events, with Mossler and Melanie Loftus ’05 leading the team with two wins each.
“We were all happy with what we did,” Mossler said. “It almost made up for missing the Yale-Harvard game.”
Finally, the Bulldogs traveled to Rutgers on Nov. 25 for their last meet before Thanksgiving break. Despite a close outcome, Yale fell short by the final score of 166.5 to 149.5. The Elis pointed to their rigorous schedule as a factor in the loss.
“Overall I thought the team swam exceptionally well, especially since most people had four full days of competition before this meet,” Paige Harazin ’04 said.
Rebecca Knicely ’05 corroborated her teammate’s sentiments.
“It’s tough, from both a physical and a mental standpoint,” Knicely said. “It’s hard to swim a three-day, six-session meet, come back, swim Monday and then have to wake up for the eighth time on Tuesday morning.”
But despite the final outcome, most Elis looked on the meet as a valuable learning experience.
“It’s good training,” Knicely said. “If we can swim that fast when we’re tired, we’ll swim even faster when we’re rested.”
Yale’s swims next at the Nutmeg Invitational — which features only Connecticut teams — next weekend in New Haven. The meet is, like the Maryland Invitational, a multi-team event with preliminaries and finals. Aside from the chance to get more used to the preliminary/finals format that will dominate the later portion of the Elis’ schedule, the Bulldogs also mentioned their eagerness to swim in their home pool as a full team, as opposed to just the traveling squad.
“It’ll be nice for the entire team to compete in our home pool since we haven’t gotten a significant chance to do that yet this season,” Harazin said.
As for progress at this point in their 1-2 season, team members seem to be just fine where they are.
“We’re on the right track,” Mossler said. “We’re a small team, but everyone is doing well.”