After a strong season, the Yale women’s swimming and diving team competed in the Ivy League Championships this weekend and placed fourth, behind Princeton, Harvard and Columbia. Despite falling short of its lofty goals, which was to finish in the top two, the team found reason to be excited and encouraged for next season.
“We were very proud of our results as a team,” Courtney Randolph ‘14 said. “We performed as a unit and definitely saw the payoff of our hard work this season.”
The three-day meet produced many exciting events and performances from the Bulldogs. The first day saw five Yale records broken as Yale took third place behind Princeton and Harvard. The last event of the day, the 400-yard medley relay, saw Yale’s team of Cynthia Tsay ’13, Ali Stephens-Pickeral ’16, Alex Forrester ’13, and Captain Joan Weaver ’13 finish fourth. The Bulldogs broke the previous Yale record of 3:40.76 with a time of 3:38.32. Less than one second separated Yale (3:38.32) in fourth place and Harvard (3:38.21) in third. Columbia (3:36.87), which notched first place, was less than two seconds faster than Yale.
Forrester also broke the school record of 22.61, which she owned, in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.29 and finished in second. Yale also saw records broken in the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 500-yard freestyle.
Both Randolph and Jacqui Levere ’15 noticed a stronger competitive field compared to previous Ivies.
“Almost universally, all of the events were pretty significantly faster [this year],” Levere said.
The second day of the meet saw more records fall, as the Bulldogs lost some ground to Columbia, dropping to fourth place. Strong performances from Emma Smith ’16, Eva Fabian ‘16 and Forrester kept the team afloat. Smith finished third in the 400-yard IM and Fabian placed first in the 1000-yard freestyle. Forrester secured first place in the 100-yard butterfly and made the NCAA A-cut in the process. She would go on to make another automatically qualifying NCAA A-cut in the 200-yard butterfly.
The final day of the Ivy League Championships saw several more NCAA cuts, as the meet came to an end with Princeton on top.
Weaver, Smith, Fabian, Tsay and Casey Lincoln ’16 all qualified for B-cuts. Randolph said Fabian seems primed to join Forrester at the NCAA championships in late March.
Competing in her first Ivies, Fabian produced several strong swims, giving the team much needed points.
“I’ve never experienced a meet like that before. It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life,” Fabian said. “It was a good, competitive atmosphere and I really enjoyed racing.”
Fabian took first place in the 1650-yard freestyle, the event in which she made the B-cut. Initially expected to miss the event, Molly Albrecht ’13 overcame early health concerns to finish sixth.
Smith went from being seeded 20th in the 200-yard breaststroke to competing in the A-final for that event, where she placed fifth.
Paige Meneses ’13 finished second in the 3-meter dive A-final event with a score of 292.45, way up from her preliminary score of 277.30. Meneses also finished third in the 1-meter A-final with a score of 275.00. For her performances, she was named Ron Keenhold Career High Point Diver, which is awarded to the most accomplished divers of the season from the Ivy League.
When the event was over, the team was left to reflect on the season and look forward to the next.
“The seniors all had amazing meets, and those of us who’ll be here next year can look forward to a bright future for the team,” Randolph said.
Weaver echoed these sentiments, saying the junior class has big shoes to fill, but that she feels they are up to it.
“When all is said and done, we just want to get faster every year,” Weaver said.
The Bulldogs’ 2012-’13 season is over, but they will cheer on Forrester and Fabian at the NCAA Championships on March 21-23.