After spending all its energy in last weekend’s H-Y-P tri-meet, the women’s swimming team appeared to suffer a Brown-out this weekend.
The Bulldogs (8-4, 4-3 Ivy) finished their Ivy League season with a disappointing loss at Brown (6-4, 5-2) Friday night, 169-131. Despite a strong finish, the Elis could not overcome a poor start to the meet. With the loss, Yale slips to fourth in the conference while the Bears assume the third spot.
Friday’s action was a tale of two halves. Yale won the second half outright, taking five of the last six swimming events and sweeping the diving. But Brown dominated the first half, winning eight races before any Eli could claim a win.
“Brown’s always a good team, but we had a shot to beat them,” Caroline Stephenson ’05 said. “We showed that in the second half of the meet. But we had a rough start, and we couldn’t dig ourselves out of the hole we got in early on.”
Headlining the late Eli push were a pair of seniors, Stephenson and Melanie Loftus ’05, each of whom left Providence with a pair of wins.
One week after falling just short on both boards at H-Y-P, Loftus came back in a big way to sweep of the 1- and 3-meter diving competitions.
“My scores were a little better, and I was relaxed,” Loftus said. “It was nothing spectacular, but I didn’t miss. It’s a good, solid meet before Ivies.”
Stephenson came through in the usual places, but not without a little drama. The Yale captain cruised to victory in the 200-yard breaststroke, with her nearest competitor — teammate Kirsten Cartoski ’07 — more than two seconds behind.
But in the 200-yard individual medley, Stephenson trailed Brown’s Meredith Cocco by well over a second at the halfway point. In the breaststroke leg, Stephenson gained over two seconds on the Brown swimmer, and held on in the freestyle to win by half of a second.
The other Yale event victories came from the Elis’ ever-solid underclassmen. Moira McCloskey ’07 came back from a rare stumble in the 100-yard backstroke to dominate the 200-yard distance.
Meg Gill ’07 followed up last week’s win in the 50-yard freestyle with a second-place finish in that event, and a win in the 100-yard butterfly. Rounding out the Eli victors, Laura Aronsson ’08 took the 500-yard freestyle.
But even when an Eli swimmer found the front of the pack, usually there were only Bear swimmers nearby. The 200-yard breaststroke was the only one-two Bulldog finish of the night.
Yale’s depth, a vital team asset for most of this season, has been relegated lately to a select few events.
An undeniable role in the Eli loss is the meet’s placement one week after the H-Y-P meet. The big tri-meet was at home, the Bulldogs were given a day to rest beforehand, and the meet is by far the most important regular-season contest on the Yale schedule.
After the H-Y-P meet, the Elis went right back to work, in the pool and in the weight room. As a result of the renewed workload, few, if any Elis swam at last weekend’s pace.
In contrast, the Yale-Brown meet is one of the Bears’ biggest contests of the season — one that they were undoubtedly prepared for, as evidenced by the quick start.
“I think that we weren’t mentally prepared for their fast start,” Gill said. “We were ready to swim, but we weren’t necessarily as ready as they were.”