SWIMMING | Elis win 12 of 16 races

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The Elis’ scrimmage against McGill earlier in the year was definitely no fluke for the men’s team. In that match, the Elis dominated the Redmen, and they’ve done it again — this time in their season opener against Columbia.

Over the past weekend, the men took first place in 12 of 16 events and scored 172 points to the Lions’ 128, despite having lost three seniors from last year’s team. The women fought to the end but fell just short of pulling off a victory against Columbia, scoring 145 points to the Lions’ 155.

“I was very happy with how they performed,” said men’s captain Alex Righi ’09. “Everyone stepped up and swam well and we were able to pull off a pretty good victory. We won by a bigger margin than I expected.”

In the meet’s first event, Eric Olson ’11 began the Bulldogs’ rout of the Lions with a first-place finish in the three meter dive, scoring 288.37 points, while teammate Drew Teer ’10 finished a close second with 274.12 points.

Righi, who competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials along with teammate Chris Pool ’09, led the team with three individual first-place finishes which included the 100-yard backstroke (52.04), 50-yard freestyle (20.27), and the 100-yard freestyle (44.63). He also swam in the 200-yard medley relay along with Pool, Matt Sweitzer ’09 and Goksu Bicer ’12. The relay team was able to take first place, beating Columbia’s team by nearly three seconds with a time of 1:31.25.

Other individual first place finishers for the men were Sweitzer (10-yard breaststroke, 58.77), Pool (200-yard butterfly, 1:51.18 and 100-yard butterfly, 49.84), Matt Lee ’11 (1000-yard freestyle, 9:33.03), Dennen McCloskey ’09 (200-yard backstroke, 1:51.82), Colton Staab ’12 (one-meter diving, 260.88 points) and Christopher Luu ’12 (200-yard breaststroke, 2:06.77).

For Staab and Luu, it was their first collegiate victories of their careers.

“I think the first collegiate dual meet is always a big step for the incoming freshman — to see them get focused and swim that well is always a pleasure and really motivational for the team,” Righi added. “I wasn’t expecting the freshmen to swim as well as they did, so I was really impressed with how they swam.”

McCloskey also expressed enthusiasm about the team’s performance in the meet.

“I think we did very well. It’s a good outlook on the season, just from that meet,” he said. “I think the meet shows that we have good depth and a chance to excel this season.”

On the women’s side, the Elis came close, but ended up losing a close matchup with the Lions. After a victory in the 200-yard breaststroke by Susan Kim ’10 (2:17.99), and a first- and second-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle by Abigail Nunn ’12 (5:05.43) and Laura Strittmatter ’09 (5:07.14), respectively, the Elis were able to pull within three points of Columbia. However, the Lions took first place in the next two events, putting the win out of reach for the Elis.

“I think we performed very well,” Kim said. “Obviously, it was a very closely matched meet and it all came down to lineups and what your fastest swimmers were swimming. It was a vast improvement from the way we performed last year.”

She added, “I thought the atmosphere was just awesome between the two teams. I thought everyone swam really well.”

Nunn also had a victory in the 1000-yard freestyle (10:20.09), while Hayes Hyde ’12 (200-yard freestyle, 1:54.00), Emily Dominski ’12 (100-yard backstroke, 57.13), and Ileana Lucos ’11 (200-yard butterfly, 2:07.03) also had victories of their own. Nunn and Dominski’s victories were their first in a collegiate competition.

“Those are always nice for the freshmen — it shows they’ve adjusted well to college swimming,” Kim said. “I thought the 200 fly was a good turning point for our team in general. We went one, two, three in it which was just a huge surprise. Morale-wise, it was great to see it, and it really just pumped up the team.”

The men and women compete this weekend in Boston at the Terrier Invite, which begins Friday.

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