For the first time this year, the women’s swimming team’s weekend meet came down to the very last race.
Coming into that event, the 200-yd butterfly, the Bulldogs found themselves with only a 114–112 advantage over the University of Vermont’s Catamounts and needed a win to pull off a victory. The relay team was down by half a second coming into the fourth leg and a Vermont victory seemed likely. But in a picture perfect finish, anchor Michelle Huang ’14 swam the last 50 yds in 24.38 seconds, clinching the relay by just five-hundredths of a second and the meet victory for Yale, 125–118.
“We were really excited at the end when Michelle had that amazing relay leg,” Nunn said. “After the relay won, Annie started chanting ‘Bulldogs’ and everyone joined in. It was awesome.”
The dual meet proved to be the most exciting and intense meet of the year thus far, as the two teams battled back and forth for any slight edge throughout the competition.
Despite what swimmers described as an unusually cold pool and the hoards of Vermont student and resident supporters, the Bulldogs won seven of the 12 races. Cynthia Tsay ’13 led the way in the swimming events, winning two individual races. With the fastest last lap in the field, she came from behind to win the 200-yd freestyle with a time of 1:54.60. Her second victory came in the 100-yd freestyle where she touched in 52.81, over two seconds ahead of the next finisher.
Kao won the 50-yd freestyle in 25.19, as teammate Gabrielle Bunney ’14 also scored points for the team, placing fourth in 26.21.
Nunn found success despite having three closely scheduled races. Less than half an hour after placing second in the 400-yd individual medley with a time of 4:35.54, Nunn dove in for the 200-yd butterfly. With a final surge in the last 50 meters, Nunn touched the wall in first with a time of 2:09.29. Ten minutes later, she was in the pool again, this time for the 500-yd freestyle. She placed second in 5:11.00.
“I was happy with my performances given the circumstances,” Nunn said. “Normally if I’m swimming that much, the events are more spread out. I was pretty tired by the 500. I knew the meet was close so I just kept going.”
Courtney Randolph ’14 and captain Annie Killian ’11 rounded out the scoring for the Bulldogs in the 500-yd freestyle, placing third and fifth respectively. The same distance duo had strong swims in the 1000-yd freestyle, finishing in second and third with times of 10:37.21 and 10:44.57 respectively. Both distance freestyle events were won by Kailey Gardner of University of Vermont.
The competition was not confined to the pool. The Yale team valiantly combated Vermont supporters with their own Bulldog cheers and chants, particularly during the diving events. The divers thrived off of the energy of their shouting teammates and convincingly won both diving events with 1–2–3 finishes. Rachel Rosenberg ’12 finished on top in both the 1-m and 3-m events with scores of 275.62 and 288.30 respectively. Paige Meneses ’13 and Christina Brasco ’14 were second and third respectively in both events.
“It was awesome,” Rosenberg said. “The swimmers went nuts after every dive. The louder they were, the higher the scores the officials flashed.”
After the 3-m diving event, the Bulldogs led the Catamounts, 107-100. However, the Catamounts won the next event, the 200-yd breaststroke, to pull within two points, 114–112. Chelsea Dunlap ’14 and Angela Lee’s ’14 second and third place finishes in the race helped Yale keep their narrow lead before the Bulldogs’ 200-yd freestyle relay team took first place for the meet win.
While their teammates braved the cold in Vermont, Molly Albrecht ’13, Alex Forrester ’13, Hayes Hyde ’12, Athena Liao ’12, Ileana Lucos ’11 and Joan Weaver ’13 headed west to Ohio to compete at U.S. Short Course Nationals alongside other collegiate swimmers and Olympians like Jessica Hardy and Ryan Lochte.
“It was a great opportunity to compete with some of the best teams in the college circuit,” Hyde explained. “In the 200 fly I was in a heat with a girl who won NCAAs last year. That was when it hit home. I was like ‘Wow, this is cool.’”
Forrester had a strong meet, placing fifth in the 100-yd butterfly in 52.70, 18th in the 50-yd freestyle in 23.03, and sixth in the 200-yd butterfly in 1:55.51. Hyde finished 15th in the 200-yd butterfly in 1:59.70, a time with which she was particularly pleased.
“My 200 fly was the first time I’ve broken two minutes since freshmen year. It was exciting to get back to that level again,” Hyde said.
Liao also had a great meet, swimming personal best times in the 100-yd and 200-yd breaststroke. She touched in 1:03.43 in the 100-yd breaststroke, and 2:15.23 in the 200-yd breaststroke, which placed her twenty-third overall in that event.
“The whole meet was really fun,” Hyde said enthusiastically. “I think it’s a great thing to swim on a national level this early in the year. It’s really good mentally, and I would definitely hope we do something like this again.”
The next meet for the Bulldogs is during winter break on Jan. 3 at Cornell University.