SWIMMING | Bulldogs show improvement at tournament

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Photo by Brianne Bowen.

While many Yalies were watching The Game last weekend, the men’s and women’s swimming teams were competing in their own battle.

Yale’s swimming teams kicked off Thanksgiving break with strong showings at the Boston Terrier Invitational Tournament from Nov. 18-20. The men’s team took the tournament while the women’s team came in third. Both teams improved on their standings from last year, when the men came in fourth and the women fifth. Tim Wise, head coach of the men’s team, said the victorious meet evidences the team’s growing strength this season.

“To improve this much in only a years’ time bodes well for the future,” Wise said. “We were pleased with the results,” he said.

Wise, Andrew Heymann ’15 and Jared Lovett ’13 all said the men’s first-place finish was the first in years. The win was decisive at 800.5, 88.5 points ahead of second place Boston College.

In all preliminary and final events, the Elis found their way into the top 10. Heymann, who placed in the top 10 for eight events, said the team had been training hard leading up to the race and clocked in fast times despite being tired from the intensity of their workouts.

Yale’s 200-yard freestyle relay squad — consisting of Paschall Davis ’13, Heymann, Alwin Firmansyah ’15, and Pat Killian ’14 — kicked off the weekend with a second place finish, just .22 seconds behind first squad Boston University.

Lovett, who placed eighth in 200-yard backstroke Sunday, said the team entered the weekend with the confidence needed to succeed.

“We were pretty confident that we could win the whole thing with the talent level this year,” Lovett said.

The freshman have played an integral part in the team’s success so far, Lovett said. Every freshmen on the team placed in the top 10 of an event, with Robby Harder ’15 and Firmansyah clinching four wins each.

Harder said the team is gearing up for its next meet, against the University of Massachusetts on Dec. 3 at Kiphuth Pool.

“The team has already put up some fast times,” he said. “But as we gain momentum and experience, we’ll continue to improve.”

After its third place finish, the women’s team has its sights set on setting faster times for the rest of season, Joan Weaver ’13 said.

“We had some fast swims,” she said. “We’re fired up and ready to take it to the next level.”

Yale torpedoed through the pool from start to finish. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Alex Forrester ’13, Cassidy Lapp ’15, Hayes Hyde ’12 and Weaver placed second, just 0.01 seconds behind Columbia.

The Bulldogs clocked in personal best times and top 10 finishes. On Friday, Molly Albrecht ’13 clinched second with a 4:59.69 finish in the 500-yard freestyle prelims, her first time under five minutes this season. That evening, Weaver won the event with a 4:57.24 finish that clocked in over two seconds ahead of teammate Rebecca DeLaFuente ’15 who touched second at 4:59.61.

The team’s momentum kept up through the weekend. Lapp won the final 100-yard breastroke (1:07.48), with Jacqui Levere ’15 following third (1:08.18). Elizabeth Larsen’s ’15 sixth place finish at 1:08.93 put three Yale swimmers in the event’s top 10, and set the Bulldogs up to place in the tournament.

Yale’s fourth place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:32.08) propelled the Bulldogs past UMass to clinch third place overall.

Athena Liao ’12 said the fast swims in Boston were the result of the team’s rigorous training since September both in and out of the pool.

Weaver added that on top of preparing the team for the Ivy Championships in March, the meet was a good checkpoint for individual progress.

“I have my sights set on some fast goal times,” Weaver said. “I’m ready to step it up.”

The Bulldogs will face the 2011 AT&T Winter National Championships Dec. 1–3 in Atlanta, Ga.

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