Elis shift lineups, but still rule the pool

With the conference and national championship meets now only weeks away, it may be crunch time for the men’s and women’s swim teams. But that did not stop them from mixing things up in a couple of season-ending routs.

The Elis closed out their regular seasons with convincing wins against the University of Delaware Saturday. The men rolled to a 213-77 decision while the women posted a 175-123 win.

The margins of victory, while considerable, are not indicative of the Elis’ domination. Neither team swam its normal line-up as they begin to prepare for the upcoming contests.

“Mostly, it was to give the coaches an idea, and the swimmers some experience, swimming “third” events for the championships, to see what some people are capable of should they be needed for a relay at the conference meet,” men’s captain Dave Lange ’05 said.

Despite the scrambled line-ups, the women dropped only six of the 16 events. Three Bulldogs led the way with a pair of wins each, including the usual high-fliers.

For the second weekend in a row, Melanie Loftus ’05 swept the diving competition, including a dominant 73-point win in the 3-meter competition.

Even without her usual staple of backstroke events, Moira McCloskey ’07 still posted two individual wins in the 100- and 200-yard freestyles while Holly Mazar ’06 won both the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes.

The other Eli wins went to Christine Yurechko ’08 in the 100-yard backstroke, Chase Butler ’07 in the 50-yard freestyle, Laura Aronsson ’08 in the 200-yard backstroke, and the 200-yard medley relay team of McCloskey, Caroline Dowd ’08, Meg Gill ’07 and Becca Knicely ’05.

The men took the line-up changes even better, failing to drop a single event to the Blue Hens.

The blowout began in the first event, with the four Yale 200-yard medley relay teams finishing first through fourth and continued all the way through to the diving, in which the uncontested trio of Jeff Lichtenstein ’08, Doug Scott ’08 and Pat Hayden ’08 taking the top three spots on both the 1- and 3-meter events. Scott won the 1-meter and Lichtenstein took the 3-meter.

A pair of familiar Elis led the way with two wins each, albeit in some uncharacteristic events. Quinn Fitzgerald ’05 strayed from his usual diet of middle-distance freestyle to win the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard butterfly while Bulldog sprint leader Kieran Locke ’06 took both the 100- and 200-yard backstrokes.

Other winners of unusual races included backstroker Geof Zann ’07 taking the 100-yard freestyle and breaststroker Tom Hardy ’06 touching first in the 200-yard individual medley.

Completing in their usual races, Matt Thunell ’08 (50-yard freestyle), Kevin Pudas ’07 (1000-yard freestyle), Mike Slater ’07 (200-yard breaststroke), Robert Schotter ’05 (100-yard breaststroke), Alex Goldsmith ’08 (100-yard butterfly) and Kent Garber ’07 (500-yard freestyle) also saw victories.

The meet also saw the return of Colin Stalnecker ’08, who had been out with mononucleosis. Despite the rookie’s prolonged absence from the pool, Stalnecker finished third, less than four-tenths of a second out of first place.

Members of both the men’s and women’s team said they were happy with their swims.

“It’s good to get a win under our belts after our first three losses came all in a row,” Dowd said.

Neither the men nor the women can afford to dwell on their wins for very long. With the dual-meet season over, the championship meets are drifting ever closer.

The bulk of the women’s team will swim in the Ivy League Championships Feb. 24-26, while the main contingent of Eli men will head to the EISL Championships March 3-5. In addition, members of both the men’s and women’s teams will travel to the ECAC Championships Feb. 25-27.

“The taper is going very well and people are excited about Ivies,” McCloskey said.

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