Geof Zann ’07 is quick to tell his friends that he spent the last ten days of winter break on the beaches of Puerto Rico. However, they soon find out it was a working vacation — Zann and the rest of the men’s swimming team held seventeen practice sessions off the beach.
In the middle of the ten-day training camp, the Bulldogs faced off against Army Jan. 3. Yale won the meet, dominating with six first-place finishes. Just seven days later, the Elis defeated Navy and Cornell at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool, picking up four first-place finishes to maintain their undefeated conference record.
Zann said the intensity of the training camp, which led to an overall improvement in speed and fitness, accounts for the Bulldogs’ success in the tri-meet.
“We swam [during the camp] twice a day, from six to eight in the morning and then again from two to four in the afternoon.” Zann said. “A lot of the guys have come back and swam their season’s best against Navy and Cornell.”
Captain Alex Nash ’04 set the standard for the team, topping the 200-yard backstroke event, finishing third in the 200-yard individual medley and leading the 400 medley relay team to gold. In the backstroke race, the captain led throughout to clinch the victory in a time of 1:51.20, half a second better than his previous winning time, recorded at the Nutmeg Invitational.
Jack Cooney ’04 also had no trouble in winning the 200-yard individual medley. He led by more than a second just after the butterfly leg in a time of 24.04. Always maintaining comfortable lead, Cooney finished with a strong freestyle performance in a total time of 1:52.91, almost four seconds ahead of second place finisher, Cornell’s Danny Royce. Cooney added to his win total later in the day, placing second in the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 46.57.
Meanwhile, despite losing the 50-yard freestyle to Navy’s Terrence Fenningham by only three tenths of a second, Jimmy Veazey ’04 came back to dominate the 200-yard butterfly, clinching the win in a time of 1:51.92 — almost four seconds ahead of second-place finisher Rob Payne from Cornell.Ê
In addition to Yale’s outstanding individual performances, Nash, Cooney, Tom Hardy ’06 and Quinn Fitzgerald ’05 combined to edge Navy and Cornell in the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:26.97. The medley relay team has proved to be a powerful weapon for the Bulldogs so far this season as they showed individual strengths across all strokes. The same foursome also defeated Army during the training camp in the 200-meter medley relay in a time of 1:51.07.
With winter break marking the mid-way point of their season, the Bulldogs have demonstrated that they have the ability to top last year’s success in the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League Championship. The Elis finished solidly in third place last year, behind Harvard and Princeton. The Bulldogs will continue their campaign next against Lehigh at home and rookie Jack Hutchinson ’07 is confident the team will produce good results again.
“Right now we have really good racing mentality,” Hutchinson said. “We have [had] some good preparation from the camp and we swam well against Cornell, who has some good swimmers. I am looking forward to the rest of this reason.”
Yale will host Lehigh this weekend at 1 p.m. at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool and then travel to Philadelphia Jan. 24 to face Ivy-League rivals Penn and Dartmouth.