It was a bittersweet farewell for 16 seniors as they competed at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool for the last time in their Yale careers.
Both the men’s and women’s swim teams dominated their meets against Brown with final scores of 181-119 and 188.5-111.5, respectively. The women are still undefeated with an impressive 8-0 record. The men have upped their record to 7-1; their only loss is to Cornell.
For many members of the Class of 2007, the triumphant victories were nearly overshadowed by the realization that their swimming days at Yale are almost to a close.
“It was pretty emotional since it was our last home meet,” Moira McCloskey ’07 said. “We’re also starting to realize that it’s almost the end of our entire swimming careers.”
At the beginning of both the men’s and women’s meets, coach Frank Keefe recognized the seniors for their leadership, noting that this class included some of the best leaders he had ever seen. He then presented special patches to the seniors, a surprising honor as Keefe has only given such awards to two classes throughout his 27-year Yale career, team members said.
Between the meets alumni of Yale’s swimming and diving programs held a reception for the team, which seniors said made their last meet at Yale very memorable.
“Since it was our last home meet, it was really nice to see so many alumni, family and friends in the stands and have their support,” captain Meg Gill ’07 said. “The alumni gave us their reception afterwards, which was an extra special way of ending on a positive note with the win.”
The women gave impressive performances throughout the meet. By the halfway point the Bulldogs had already racked up almost twice as many points as the Bears with a score of 87-44 after claiming the top three spots in the 100-yard freestyle. The swimmers continued this domination for the rest of the meet, the seniors leading the way. Both Gill and McCloskey won all of their events with a combined total of six individual top finishes. Both were a part of the winning 200-yard medley relay team, along with Susan Kim ’10 and Andrea Clifford ’10.
Following the women’s meet, the men matched the domination. Alex Righi ’09 won three individual events. Colin Stalnecker ’08 won both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events, finishing 1.56 and 2.60 seconds ahead of his next competitors, respectively. Hardly holding back against the veterans, Dennen McCloskey ’09 also put in a strong performance, edging out senior teammates in the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard individual medley.
“I feel as if the seniors wouldn’t have wanted me to go easy on a race,” Dennen McCloskey said. “A race is a race no matter what day it is, so you don’t want to change things up.”
The Bulldogs were able to comfortably cruise past the Bears, but the team went in with a focused attitude and didn’t take the meet for granted, said captain Geof Zann ’07. Though the seniors see this as the beginning of the end, he said, the team is staying focused on the upcoming events, including the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet and the Ivy League and the Eastern Intercolle giate Swimming League championships.
This coming weekend the Elis head to Princeton for the double-dual meet against Harvard and Princeton, a premier event of the regular season. The meet that determines the Ancient Eight winner — the EISL championship for the men and the Ivy League championship for the women — is an unusually-close two weeks after H-Y-P this year, meaning that the Bulldogs will have to start gearing up for both immediately. The primary focus will be on the Ivy title, though the H-Y-P meet will be especially exciting because there is no clear favorite among the three teams this year, team members said.
“We’re expecting some really fast swimming, and anyone of three of the teams could win, so there’s no definite answer,” Gill said. “Hopefully with everyone feeling good, we can stand up and show them that we’re the best team.”