This past Saturday marked the last time Frank Keefe stepped into the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool before a meet as the Robert J.H. Kiphuth Director of Swimming. A large crowd of fans, which included the Yale Precision Marching Band, greeted him at the pool, as well as a pre-game ceremony honoring his 32-year career. Despite the meet’s hype, Keefe was focused on the win.
“The most important thing about today? It brought us back to .500 on the year,” Keefe said in a press release. “We harped on it — we haven’t had a losing season since ’89. Twenty-one years without a losing season — that resonated with them.”
The men’s swimming and diving team not only wanted the win to balance their season record, but also wanted to give Keefe a victory in his final home meet — and the Bulldogs did just that, defeating UConn 174–126.
“It was definitely an emotional day for him,” captain Tom Robinson ’10 said. “You could see it in his eyes and hear it in the way he spoke. Having two wins was definitely the way he wanted to go out.”
The Elis started the meet in good form, as Mike Dominski ’13, Sam Goldsmith ’11, Goksu Bicer ’12 and Kyle Veatch ’11 took first in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:32.04. Matt Lee’ 11 followed with a win in the gruelling 1,000-yard freestyle.
The Bulldogs went 1-2 in both the 200-yard freestyle and the butterfly. Lugar Choi ’11 and Veatch come out ahead in the freestyle, while Scott Shinton ’12 and Jared Lovett ’13 did the same in the backstroke. The Elis scored points for second and third place finishes in both the 100-yard backstroke and the breaststroke. Dominski and Robinson went 2-3 in the backstroke, and Steen and Goldsmith fared the same in the breaststroke.
Bicer fell to UConn’s Kyungsoo Yoon in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle in heartbreaking fashion, losing by 0.03 and 0.19 seconds, respectively. In contrast, after a tight race between Robinson and UConn’s Alexander Davidson in the 200-yard backstroke, in which Davidson was initially given the victory with an inaccurate time, Robinson ultimately came out on top.
The Elis continued to prove their dominance with a 2-3 finish from Steen and Chris Luu ’12 in the 200-yard breaststroke, and a 1-2 from Dominski and Lee in the 500-yard freestyle. Bicer (49.71), Veatch (50.84) and Matt Boone ’12 (50.92) swept the 100-yard butterfly, and Lovett won the 200-yard IM with a time of 1:54.02. The Bulldogs ended the day with a convincing, three-second victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay from Veatch, Robinson, Dominski and Choi.
On the diving front, Drew Teer ’10 took third in the 3-meter event, while Colton Staab ’12 finished the same in the 1-meter.
“It was good to end the season with this kind of win,” Matt Lee said. “[The fans] didn’t pack the pool, but in my three years it was the most exciting atmosphere I’ve seen. I’m glad it turned out that way for Coach Keefe’s last meet here.”
With the dual meet season finished, the Elis now look forward to the Ivy League Championships on March 4 in Princeton, N.J.
“At this point in the swim season, your focus heightens,” Robinson said. “You have a week to train and then begin tapering, and you want to make sure you practice right so the team is ready for Ivies.”