For the whole season, the women’s swimming team has been on the heels of the perennial favorites Harvard and Princeton and at the Ivy League Championships last weekend, it was no different.
The Bulldogs took third place (1038 points) after the Crimson (1st, 1583.5) and the Tigers (2nd, 1334), finishing just ahead of the University of Pennsylvania. Swimmers who did not compete at the Ivy-League Championship went on to compete at the ECAC Championships at Harvard University. In that meet, the men took eighth place while the women, with only one representative, took 22nd.
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“The team did an excellent job at the meet,” said captain Aidan McKinlay ’09. “We reached our goal of finishing third. We knew this was going to be difficult but by supporting each other and believing in ourselves, we did it.”
Every event at the meet — held in Long Island, N.Y. from Thursday through Saturday — had at least one representative from Harvard or Princeton in the top three places. The Elis finished with three first place finishes and two second place finishes as a contrast to Harvard and Princeton’s depth, but were still able to hold third place over Penn.
During the regular season, the Elis’ dual meet against the Quakers on Jan. 17 came down to the final relay in which the team needed a second place finish to pull off the victory. They did just that, and won the meet 152-148. Ileana Lucoss ’11 said that this weekend’s meet was no different, and her teammates were able to step up just as they did before.
“Everyone just swam out of their mind on the last day,” she said.
The Elis gained an early advantage over Penn in the 200-yard freestyle relay, the first relay of the meet. Penn, along with Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton and Columbia, false started in the event which led to their disqualification. With only three teams remaining in the event, the Elis, originally seeded sixth, were able to cruise to a second place finish (1:34.44), giving the team a 56 point advantage over the Quakers.
Susan Kim ’10 and Hayes Hyde ’12 also were instrumental in keeping the Elis in the running for third place. Kim not only took first place in both the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.05) and the 200-yard breaststroke (2:12.86), but she also set all time Ivy-League records in each of the events as well as earning two NCAA ‘B’ cuts.
“I was in absolute shock,” Kim said about her records. “My goal going in was trying to get a couple best times so it was a nice surprise obviously. The people who had held those records previously are Ivy League legends, so I guess shock is the only word.”
Stephanie Hsiao of Princeton previously held the record in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.43). Alicia Aemisegger, also from Princeton, previously held the record in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:14.19).
Hyde took first place in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:59.15, also earning herself an NCAA ‘B’ cut. She also took second place in the 200-yard individual medley (2:00.97) and third in the 100-yard butterfly (55.16). Her 200-yard IM time was just .20 seconds away from a ‘B’ cut.
In the 200-yard butterfly, Hyde’s first place finish along with a fourth place finish by McKinlay (2:02.57), and a sixth place finish by Lucos (2:03.22), helped the Elis expand a 13-point advantage over Penn to 72 points.
At Blodgett Pool at Harvard University, the swimmers on the men’s and women’s team not making the trip to the Ivy League Championships competed at the ECAC Championships. For the men, Christopher Luu ’12 in the 200-yard breaststroke (16th, 2:11.31), Matt Boone ’12 in the 200-yard backstroke (12th, 1:54.75) and the 400-yard freestyle relay (9th, 3:07.39) were among the top performances. Emily Cole ’09 — the sole competitor from the women’s team — took 19th in the 500-yard freestyle (5:08.25) and seventh in the 1650-yard freestyle (17:30.48).
The Ivy League Championships were the last time this year’s women’s swimming team would compete together. The Elis finished the season 4-3 against Ivy League competition and 6-5 overall, culminating in the third place finish in the past weekend’s meet.
“This season was difficult because of injuries, but we prevailed,” McKinlay said. “This is the most enthusiastic and supportive team that we have had in my four years of Yale swimming and diving.”
The team will lose 11 seniors for next year’s season, but Kim expressed her enthusiasm for next year’s team.
“I’m excited because everyone seemed incredibly motivated at the end of the meet,” she said. “We have some great recruits coming in and we obviously have some great talent among our underclassmen. I think it’s going to be a great future for Yale swimming.”
Hyde and Kim’s ‘B’ cuts put them in the running for the NCAA Championships held March 19-21. Swimmers who made ‘A’ cuts are given automatic invites to the meet, while the rest of the invites go to those who have made ‘B’ cuts in order of their times. The men’s team is back in action Thursday through Saturday at the Ivy League Championships.