SWIMMING | Season opens with big wins

The men’s and women’s swimming teams began their seasons on Friday at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool, taking multiple victories in a scrimmage against McGill University from Canada.

On the men’s side, the Elis won nine of 14 events. In seven of those nine events won, the Elis swept the podium, taking the top three places.

The Bulldogs compete against McGill in their season-opening scrimmage on Oct. 24.
Erica Bergman
The Bulldogs compete against McGill in their season-opening scrimmage on Oct. 24.

Captain Alex Righi ’09 said he was very optimistic about his team’s results.

“Overall, I’d say we did really well — it was a chance to really race and see where we’re at in the beginning of the season,” he said. “People got up and swam just like they would in a regular dual meet, and I think that was an important aspect [of this weekend].”

“The final tally was a conclusive victory for Yale,” he added.

A scrimmage is different from a regular meet in that the races are unscored and do not count towards the teams’ overall records.

“Considering it being our first real chance to race, and having a good amount of training before, I think we did pretty well,” Dennen McCloskey ’09 said. “It’s good for the overall outlook of the season.”

Righi, who missed the finals qualifying race in the 50-yard freestyle for the Olympic team by 0.76 seconds, took first place in every event he competed in, as expected. This included the 100-yard backstroke, 50-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay.

Righi cited outstanding performances from Chris Pool ’09, Christopher Luu ’12 and Goksu Bicer ’12 as examples of the team’s overall success during Friday’s scrimmage.

He also said the team has made great strides from last year.

“At this point last season, we only had an intra-squad meet, so compared to last year we’re doing a lot better,” Righi said. “Even though [the scrimmage] was unofficial and unscored, it’s more conducive to the type of focus we’re going to need in a dual meet season in terms of our mental ability to set our sights on our goal.”

The women similarly put up a strong showing against McGill, with many members of the squad taking multiple victories. Abigail Nunn ’12, Erica Kao ’12, Laura Grigerseit ’10, Laura Strittmatter ’09 and captain Aidan McKinlay ’09 all came away with a victory in one of their races, while Emily Dominiski ’12, Susan Kim ’10, Alexis Mann ’09 and Hayes Hyde ’12 all took victories in multiple events.

“I think we did very well overall — it was great to have our first meet of the season and step up and race,” McKinlay said. “I think that we have the best team since my freshman year.”

Mann added, “I think we did very well considering this was just a little practice meet. We all swam very well.”

McKinlay also noted the addition of several talented freshmen to this year’s squad.

“We’re all looking forward to seeing them step up during the season,” she said.

Both Eli teams hope to carry the momentum from this scrimmage into their first league competition against Columbia three weekends from now.

Righi said that McGill’s level of competition was comparable to the likes of Dartmouth and Penn. However, most Ivy League rivals are usually more competitive, and presents more of a challenge to the Elis. He explained that McGill only brought 15 swimmers to Friday’s scrimmage, an unusually small number for most Ivy League competition.

But despite this, he believes that Friday night was no fluke. That will be put to the test when the Elis resume competition on Nov. 14-15, when they are set to host the Columbia Lions at home.

“The McGill scrimmage made me optimistic about the Columbia meet,” Righi said. “I think we’re a very strong team — I’m confident that we can beat [Columbia] pretty handily too.”

McKinlay shares Righi’s optimism.

“Its our first dual meet at home and we want to win — Columbia is one of our biggest competitors in the Ivy League,” she said. “We’re training hard to beat them.”

Mann added that although the team beat Columbia solidly two years ago, this year would be different.

“We beat them pretty bad [my] sophomore year, but this year, it’s going to be a pretty tough meet,” she said. “Hopefully we beat them.”

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