SWIMMING | Elis fall to Harvard, Princeton at rivalry meet

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Photo by Brianne Bowen.

Yale swimming and diving fell to rivals Harvard and Princeton at the H-Y-P tri-meet this weekend, but the Bulldogs said they are unfazed and are saving themselves for the Ivy League championships.

The men’s team (5–2, 4–2 Ivy ) lost to Princeton (7–0, 6–0 Ivy) 285.50 to 67.50, and to Harvard (5–2, 5–1 Ivy) 268.00 to 85.00. The women’s team (3–3, 3–3 Ivy) suffered a similar defeat to Princeton (5–1, 5–1 Ivy) 231 to 69 and to Harvard (7–2, 7–0) 235 to 65. Despite losing by wide margins all around, members of both teams said they were satisfied with their performances.

“Our times were great,” Joan Weaver ’13 said, “but the score wouldn’t necessarily indicate that.”

For the Bulldogs, winning H-Y-P was never their primary goal. Unlike Harvard and Princeton, who rested swimmers leading up to the meet and wore LZR racing suits to gain extra speed, Yale continued rigorous training to prepare for the Ivy League Championships, which begin Feb. 23 for the women and March 1 for the men. For this reason, Yale was not concerned about finishing the H-Y-P meet in third place, men’s swimming and diving captain Christopher Luu ’12 said. Instead, the team’s goal going into the meet was to put up season-best times, he added, and many swimmers did.

Since both Harvard and Princeton headed into the meet undefeated in the Ivy League, this meet determined the in-season champions of the Ivy League. At the men’s meet, Princeton was the victor, and at the women’s meet Harvard beat Princeton for the first time in three years. This in-season rivalry is the reason Harvard and Princeton rest swimmers for the event, while Yale, which does not have enough swimmers to compete against Harvard and Princeton, is more concerned with posting fast times at the Ivies than performing better than its rivals at this meet.

Luu said there were too many best times to name all of them. A standout performance came from Alwin Firmansyah ’15, who finished his 200-yard butterfly (1:47.04) almost two seconds faster than any other swimmer in the event. Rob Harder ’15 also had a season-best time of 15:43.17 in the 1,650-yard freestyle, which earned him third place in the event.

Diving was a strong point for the Bulldogs. Women’s captain Rachel Rosenberg ’12 won the one-meter diving event (267.65) and the three-meter diving event (292.3). In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Weaver swam a personal best time of 52.88 for her leg of the race, and the relay (3:31.20) took fourth. Hayes Hyde ’12 placed eighth in the 200-yard butterfly with a season best time of 2:03.16.

Although Yale removed itself from the rivalry mentality, the atmosphere may have impacted Yale’s swimmers.

“It always brings out the best in you when you see the level of your competition is higher,” Luu said.

Harder added that while the meet was primarily a battle between Harvard and Princeton, any added pressure felt by the team was positive.

The women’s team had a different reaction to the rivalry. During the first day of competition, the team was a little intimidated and did not swim as fast as expected, Weaver said. But the Elis were able to turn their times around on the second day of competition when they realized they “had nothing to lose,” she added.

But Rosenberg said he is not sure the Harvard-Princeton rivalry had anything to do with the team’s results, as the swimmers approached this meet like a regular dual meet.

The goal of the men’s team is to finish in the top three at Ivy League Championships. As of now, the team “feels good” about achieving that goal, Luu said. Harder agreed that the team is performing at the level it needs to in order to be successful at Ivy League Championships.

The women’s team is also optimistic about its Ivy League Championships in late February.

“We’re at a good point in our season,” Weaver said. “When we’re finally rested for Ivies we’re all going to swim very fast.” She added that the team will begin resting this week in preparation for Ivy League Championships.

Yale’s next meet is against Brown at the University of Rhode Island, next Saturday, Feb. 11 at 5 p.m.

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