WOMEN’S SWIMMING | Strong pre-season for the Elis

After besting Colgate and Lehigh at a tri-meet scrimmage Saturday, the women’s swimming team aims to echo its third-place finish in last year’s Ivy League Championships with another strong season.

In the scrimmage, the Elis had greater success in the longer distance events, placing first in the 500- and 1000-yard freestyles and in the 800-yard freestyle relay. But the shorter distance events proved more elusive — Yale struggled with the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyle events.

Captain and freestyle swimmer Joan Weaver ’13 was quick to note that many losses were in very close races. In the 50-yard freestyle, for example, Yale fell to Colgate 24.69 to 24.67.

“A lot of the races we didn’t win came down to the slightest margin,” Weaver said.

Despite the challenges of shorter distance events, the team was able to pull out a win. Freestyle swimmer Courtney Randolph ’14 said the team was determined to use the scrimmage as a chance to practice racing and build chemistry. The Bulldogs will look to build on this success with renewed intensity in practice, focusing especially on the minor skills like starts, turns and stroke technique, she added.

Besides returning some of last year’s top scorers, the team features a slew of highly impressive freshman swimmers. Ali Stephens-Pickeral ’16, Emma Smith ’16 and Eva Fabian ’16 all have Olympic Trials cuts. Weaver cited strong freshman performances as a highlight of the tri-meet.

“They represented us quite strongly in the freestyle events.”

The Elis will start their season against Columbia Nov. 9. Freestyle and butterfly swimmer Jacqui Levere ’15, who holds Yale’s top time for the 200-yard freestyle, expressed high hopes for the team.

“We’re hoping to beat Columbia not only at Ivies but in our dual meet and try to give Princeton a run for their money for second-place Ivy,” Levere said.

Although the Bulldogs won the scrimmage meet this weekend, Randolph said their next competition will be very different. At the scrimmage, Randolph said, not all of the Bulldogs were swimming their primary events, and the team could only enter two swimmers per event.

“I don’t believe the event wins and losses were all representative of an Ivy League meet line-up,” she said.

The Elis will next face Southern Connecticut State University for a scrimmage at 3 p.m. Friday.

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