Tanned, sore and ready to swim again

Los equipos nadaron mucho en Puerto Rico.

The men’s and women’s swim teams could probably translate that phrase after their annual training trip in Puerto Rico, but for those who do not know Spanish: “The teams swam a lot in Puerto Rico.”

The Bulldogs spent their vacations down in the Caribbean vigorously practicing and preparing for their upcoming seasons. Upon their return, the teams traveled to Annapolis, Md., to compete against Navy and Ivy League foe Cornell. The women’s team dominated the competition, beating Cornell, 219-81, and the Naval Academy, 174-126. The men fell to the Navy team, 141-159, but defeated Cornell, 167.5-132.5, to remain undefeated in conference competition.

With nonstop swimming down in Puerto Rico, returning to the States and jumping right into competition proved difficult, swimmers said.

“The Puerto Rico trip is always a very challenging week,” Alex Righi ’09 said. “We were all pretty tired, but the benefits will ultimately show toward the end of the season when we will be stronger and better swimmers.”

Hard training over break may have worn down the swimmers before this weekend’s competition, but it set the teams up for better swims down the line, Kyle McElroy ’09 said.

Despite the challenge of swimming through exhaustion, the men’s team earned a key Ancient Eight victory against Cornell. Yale’s “A” 200-meter medley relay team, comprising Righi, Thomas Robinson ’10, Matt Sweitzer ’09 and Chris Pool ’09, united to win first place in 1:43.26. Righi also placed first in three individual events — the 100-meter backstroke, the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter freestyle.

Several solid Eli performances were not enough to overcome the Navy squad.

“If we had gotten an amazing start, we could have beaten them,” Righi said. “We put up a good fight, but Navy had talent and a home-field advantage that played into their win.”

The women’s swim team returned from its demanding week in Puerto Rico to splash Cornell and Navy out of the water. The win against the Big Red brought the team to 1-1 in the Ivy League after a tough loss to Columbia in November.

“It’s hard to come back the first meet and race really well when everyone is tired,” Caroline Dowd ’08 said, “but that was probably one of the best meets we have ever raced following our training.”

Starting off the meet well, Dowd and her teammates, Becca Stern ’11, Andrew Clifford ’10 and Alexis Mann ’09, finished first in the 200-meter medley relay with a time of 1:59.46. Eli teams also placed third, fifth and seventh in the race. Laura Strittmatter ’09, Jane Kim ’10 and Ileanna Lucos ’11 all took first place in their respective events as well.

“The team raced better than they have all season, and a lot of people swam really well,” Dowd said.

To prove they came home from Puerto Rico with more than a tan, both teams will need to defeat Dartmouth and Penn in their upcoming home meet this weekend.

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