In their first official collegiate meet, Yale’s freshmen swimmers swam circles around their opponents and helped the Bulldogs open their season with a win.
For the first meet of the season, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams met Southern Connecticut State at home at the Robert J.H. Kiphuth Exhibition Pool. The Bulldogs made a statement as they soundly defeated the Owls; the men won 210–88 and the women won 204–77.
The diving team started off the competition, scoring 32 points and placing in the one-meter and three-meter dives. Freshman Anthony Mercadante ’17 scored 321.52 points, the highest score for a freshman first dive in several years. Swimming began with a multitude of victories, including wins in the 400-yard medley relay, the 1000-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle and the 50-yard freestyle. The Bulldogs edged out the Owls in the 100-yard breaststroke, as Ronald Tsui ’15, Alwin Firmansyah ’15 and Nick Sehlinger ’17 took all three of the top places.
“Being able to practice with the team for over a month now has given me an idea of the potential we have,” Sehlinger said.
SCSU proved to be serious competition, with victories in the 200-yard butterfly, the 200-yard IM and the 200-yard freestyle relay, but the Bulldogs pulled far ahead with a much deeper lineup of swimmers. Josh Ginsborg ’16 swam in his first race since an injury sidelined him for all of last season and won the 100-yard freestyle.
“I was satisfied with last week’s performance given where I was at physically at the end of the week,” Ginsborg said. “Our entire team trained hard all week, so it was good to see what we could do when we were tired and hurting.”
The freshmen proved themselves capable of handling the pressure, as Aaron Greenberg ’17, Alex Schultz ’17, Alex Gross ’17 and Oscar Miao ’17 all placed in their first meet as Bulldogs.
The pressure was on as the women started their meet and they showed off their youth in the first few races. Five of the eight swimmers on the two 200-yard medley relay teams were freshmen. The team of Ali Stephens-Pickeral ’16 and freshmen Kina Zhou ’17, Sydney Hirschi ’17 and Olivia Jameson ’17 placed first, while their teammates finished just behind them in second. The women also placed in the 1000-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke. SCSU fought back with finishes in the top three spots in the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard IM, as well as first and second place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The Eli freshmen helped out their team, contributing first-place finishes in the 200-yard butterfly, 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke.
“We had a strong recruiting class, but the upperclassmen motivated us and contributed largely to our success,” Zhou said.
Both the men’s and women’s teams put the freshmen in the spotlight and the new Bulldogs took advantage of these opportunities. After these blowout victories, the Bulldogs will head to Columbia for their first Ivy League meet on Nov. 15. The Columbia women edged out Yale by only 83 points in the Ivy League Championships in February. Zhou added that she was excited to see where the Bulldogs stood in comparison to another Ancient Eight opponent.
The men finished almost 100 points behind Columbia when the two last swam against each other in the Ivy Championships.