After experiencing their first ever Harvard-Yale weekend, most freshmen were enjoying the comfort of their own beds back home. But for the rookies on the Yale men’s swimming team, that thought of escape had to be put on hold.
On Nov. 24, the men’s swimming team, consisting mainly of freshmen and sophomores, beat Maine 147-101 at home, winning eight individual events and the 200-yard medley relay. Despite entering the meet with a young squad, Yale showed some promising talent and depth across all strokes.
In the freestyle races, three Elis took away top prizes. Veteran Alberto Fuentes ’04 led the team by winning the 50-yard sprint (22.93). Geof Zann ’07, who was also on the winning 200-yard medley relay team, came in first in the 200-yard race (1:47.83). Mark Fisher ’07 also won the 1,000-yard event, breaking the 10-minute mark (9:58.45).
“We really swam well as a team [against Maine],” Zann said. “We’ve been training hard since preseason and I think that’s why we are starting to swim fast.”
In other strokes, Robert Schotter ’05 won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.17), Andres Foss ’07 the 200-yard backstroke (1:58.89) and Matthew Thunell ’07 the 200-yard fly.
Talking about his victory, Thunell humbly said that while he enjoyed winning, he would still like to swim faster and is looking forward to the Nutmeg Invitational, the last meet held before Christmas break.
“[Winning the race] definitely feels good,” Thunell said, “but it wasn’t really that much of a big competition. Most of the people who competed were freshmen and sophomores, and it was just good to swim in races.”
To many people’s surprise, Thunell is actually a walk-on but enjoys the opportunities that have been given to young members of the team. Like all the other freshmen swimmers, Thunell is keen to put all the practice over the last two months together in the hopes of earning a place on the traveling team’s list and then in the ultimate line-up for the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League Championship, held in the spring.
“The next invitational is really our last chance of the year to show the coaches what we are capable of doing,” Thunell said, “So far the coaches are constantly checking on the freshmen, but it is really up to the freshmen to impress the coaches over the next week.”
Thunell, Zann, Kevin Pudas ’07 and Cameron Hendrick ’06 made up the relay team that beat Maine with a time of 1:40.63.
Just like Thunell, Hendrick is excited about the upcoming invitational at home and believes that good competition will help to make the Bulldogs swim even faster.
“This is still really preseason for us,” Hendrick said, “but this weekend there is going to be some good competition. UConn and University of Massachusetts are both coming, and so there should be some fast races.”
Hendrick feels the team is very tight this year and the positive squad atmosphere will help the Elis succeed.
“[The team bonding] has been great,” Hendrick said. “The freshmen class is really starting to fit in, even socially and the seniors have really been good leaders. We are just a fun team.”
The Nutmeg Invitation will commence on Friday, Dec. 5 and will continue throughout the weekend. The meets will be held at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool in the Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
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