The Bulldogs added another chapter to the Yale-Columbia rivalry with a win in both men’s and women’s swimming last weekend.
After both teams competed in successful scrimmages against Southern Connecticut State University, Lehigh University and Colgate University over the past month, the women’s team opened its season on Friday against the Lions and the men’s team took to the pool the following day.
The women’s team won 11 of the 16 events overall, including the first five events of the meet. Captain Joan Weaver ’13 said that the Elis overcame a tendency to start slowly and opened the meet with a strong effort.
“Typically, we tend to back-half our meets — we swim much stronger in the second half,” she said. “We like the comeback mentality. This time we made a conscious effort to start strong and be ready at the start instead of waiting and playing catch-up.”
Columbia and Yale split the next six events, before the Elis regained the advantage with first-place finishes in the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly events.
The Lions had hung close to the Bulldogs throughout the day, and Yale led by a mere seven points going into the final event: the 400 freestyle relay.
Yale’s top relay team of Cynthia Tsay ’13, Weaver, Callie Fosburgh ’16 and Molly Albrecht ’13 lagged behind Columbia after the first leg, but Weaver’s 51.35 split, the fastest of the event, put Yale ahead for good. Fosburgh increased the lead and Albrecht swam the anchor leg as the team hung on for a two-second margin of victory. The final score was 158–142.
Weaver noted the importance of the team’s training for the meet, but she stressed that the contest was just the first of many.
“We trained hard for it, but we treated it as just another dual meet,” she said.
The freshmen performed particularly well for the Elis, oftentimes outpacing Columbia’s own freshmen and making an impact in every event.
Eva Fabian ’16 and Fosburgh had impressive outings. Fabian placed first in both the 500- and 1000-yard freestyle, while Fosburgh won the 200-freestyle and produced the second fastest split in the deciding freestyle relay. In addition, the freshmen managed many second-, third- and fourth-place finishes, winning the team additional points.
“We won all of the close races,” Weaver said. “Even if it was a battle for fourth or fifth, we would push for fourth.”
Other standouts included Alex Forrester ‘13, who won three events, and Molly Albrecht, who pulled out a narrow 0.01 second victory in the 200-yard backstroke.
The men’s team also won 11 of their 16 events but produced a greater margin of victory than the Yale women. The Elis bested Columbia 170-140, prevailing over a rival that finished one place ahead of them at last year’s Ivy League championships.
“We couldn’t have planned a better start to the season,” said team captain Jared Lovett ’13. “We always want to beat Columbia.”
Alwin Firmansyah ’15 and Andrew Heymann ’15 excelled for the men’s team, winning three events apiece. Firmansyah placed first in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly events and the 100-yard freestyle. Heymann won the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, as well as the 200-yard individual medley, each time finishing just ahead of a Columbia swimmer.
Firmansyah pointed to his mental preparation and focus as keys in his success.
“[Head coach Tim Wise] did a great job at teaching us the right mindset,” he said. “I guess it was confidence. It really is a mental sport.”
The sophomores’ performances did not go unnoticed by Lovett, who said that the two have elevated their swimming to a new level this season. He also stressed the importance of maintaining focus through the rest of the season.
“I’ll do everything I can to keep the team focused and enthusiastic about the prospect of what we can accomplish this season,” he said. “We have the personnel, we just have to get after it.”
The Bulldogs head to Boston on Friday for a three-day invitational at Boston University.