The men’s swimming team’s disappointment at the start was understandable. Yale’s 400-yard medley relay team fell to Brown’s by just one-hundredth of a second.
“It kind of put us in a negative state of mind. It was a little depressing,” said Alex Righi ’09, who swam the first leg of the race.
But luckily for the Elis (8-4, 4-4 EISL), meets aren’t decided by just one event. The Bulldogs came back to defeat the Bears (3-6, 2-6) 141-103.
This weekend’s win puts the men’s swimming and diving team squarely in the middle of the pack as it prepares for the EISL championships in two weeks. Though the Elis did not face their harshest competition of the season with the Bears, the performance gives the Yale men confidence leading into Easterns.
Notwithstanding the first event — especially disappointing since the team wanted to win both relays to prove their mettle, Righi said — Saturday’s meet in Providence was the Elis’ for the taking. Yale swimmers swept the top four spots in three different events, the 1000-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard breaststroke. The Bulldogs went on to take first in nine of the meet’s 13 events.
Although the 400-yard medley relay team of Righi, Colin Stalnecker ’08, Tyler Scheid ’09 and Chris Pool ’09 fell to the Bears, the young group turned in a time two-and-a-half seconds faster than the relay team at H-Y-P that included Ben Dzialo ’07 instead of Scheid and Andrew Foss ’07 in the anchor leg.
The Elis were led by a trio of double winners. Diver Jeff Lichtenstein ’08 won both the 1- and 3-meter boards, Righi took first in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events, and Mike Slater ’07 won the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard breaststroke.
While the team did not rest specifically for the meet, some swimmers did shave for it, including Slater and Tom Hardy ’06. Slater was rewarded for his efforts with a more than a four-second improvement in both events over his H-Y-P times. Slater and the other shaved swimmers were trying to make the Easterns team that will travel to the championships March 2-4. Only 20 swimmers will go, and several swimmers said Yale head coach Frank Keefe would be making decisions either on Sunday night or on Monday.
Yale swimmers said they expected to beat Brown, but they knew victory would not come easily.
“We thought it would be a competitive meet, but we thought we’d beat them,” Colin O’Brady ’06 said. “They have a couple really strong swimmers, and we knew if they win a couple events they could win the whole thing. Other than that we were pretty confident.”
Scheid said the win is especially helpful for the Bulldogs’ confidence since Brown nearly beat Columbia, a team that Yale lost to in the opening meet of league swimming. But he said there is no guarantee of how the team will do at Easterns.
“It just depends how you swim week to week,” he said. “We should be able to get third. We might be able to beat Harvard or Princeton, but we can’t control what other teams will do.”