The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are ready to improve upon last year’s success as they face their first competition of the year, an exhibition meet against McGill at Kiphuth Competition Pool this Saturday.
Last year the Bulldogs underwent several coaching changes and used the season as an adjustment period to acclimate to the new coaches’ programs.
Cristina Teuscher, formerly a coach at Crimson Aquatics in Boston, and Tim Wise, formerly an assistant coach for the Bulldogs replaced Frank Keefe—who retired after 32 years—to coach the swimming teams while Chris Bergere came from Michigan to coach the diving team.
“It was a big change,” Jared Lovett ’13 said. “We had a team that was used to the old coach, but once we bought into the new coach’s program it really got us going.”
The men’s team ended the season placing fourth at Ivy Championships in March, up from fifth the previous year. At the same competition, the women’s team wrapped up the year with some of its best times of the season. Six swimmers, including Hayes Hyde ’12,who won Yale’s first and only win of the meet in the 200-yard butterfly, punched their tickets for NCAA Championship. And the diving team qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, a consistent occurrence.
The Bulldogs are looking to start off this season on better footing with 17 strong incoming freshmen and a more rigorous training regimen.
The diving team has always trained really hard, but diver Paige Meneses ’13—a two-time Zone qualifier—said that this year’s training program, featuring new dry-land equipment and a new diving routine, makes the team excited to post even better scores this upcoming season.
“We feel like we’re getting stronger,” Meneses said. “Hopefully that will give us stronger results.”
The men’s swimming team welcomes back a talented group of swimmers, including the three Mid-Major All-America awardees Goksu Bicer ’12, Mike Bogese ’14and Mike Dominski ’13.
But Lovett added that the 10swimmers in this year’s men’s freshman class will bring strong contributions to the team.
Although the Elis have only been in season for a month, Domonski said he has already noticed positive changes in the team dynamic.
“This is by far the most focused we’ve been as a team,” Dominski said. Although swimming can be an individual sport, he said that beyond relay racing, the sport really does depend on teamwork.
“In terms of the sport, you have to be strong top to bottom,” he said.
This year, the women’s swimming team will compete with a larger squad with an incoming class of six swimmers and one diver. The team graduated three seniors, but welcomes back three of the four Mid-Major All-America honorable mentions: Molly Albrecht ’13, Athena Liao ’12 and Hayes Hyde ’12.
McGill is a nonconference team that the Bulldogs last faced in 2007. Last weekend McGill swept both divisions of the Quebec Cup Meet—the first time in eight years—and won 10 races overall, including five of the six Quebec Cup relays.
Despite McGill’s early season success, the Bulldogs are not worried about their first competition of the season.
Lovett said the exhibition meet will be more important for the practice it can give the team.
“It’s our first opportunity to… get some really good times,” Lovett said. “We’re trying to use these as tuneups for getting ready for Columbia, the first Ivy [meet of the season].”
The women’s team will also face Colgate for a scrimmage on Sunday.