After three days of intense competition, the women’s swimming and diving team blew away five other Ivy League schools with an upset third place finish in the Ivy League Championships this past weekend.
The Bulldogs’ competition began on Thursday with a shaky start in the 200-yard freestyle relay. But in the next event, the 500-yard freestyle, Eva Fabian ’16 pulled out a victory with a time of 4:44.00, less than half a second ahead of the second-place Penn swimmer. Kina Zhou ’17 made the next big contribution to the Elis, taking third in the 50-yard freestyle, right behind Princeton and Harvard.
Lilybet MacRae ’17 continued her year of spectacular diving with a first place finish in the one-meter diving final. She scored a 310.35, the only diver to break 300-points in the finals or preliminaries, and was less than two points behind the meet record of 312.05, set in 2009 by Princeton diver Katie Giarra. At the end of day one, the Bulldogs were in third with 351 points, while Princeton was in first with 441 and Harvard in second with 424.
Day two began with second- and third-place finishes in the 1000-yard freestyle by Fabian and Isla Hutchinson-Maddox ’17, bringing the Bulldogs’ point total to 55. Emma Smith ’16 then won the 400-yard IM, earning more valuable points for the women. Courtney Randolph ’14 took fourth in the event as well, earning 26 points. Zhou took second in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:47.92, a time that would have broken the previous pool record of 1:48.92 had it not been for the first-place Penn swimmer.
After a shutout in the next three events, the Elis came back with a vengeance, taking second in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The “A” team of Zhou, Fabian, Anna Wujciak ’17 and Olivia Jameson ’17 finished two seconds ahead of third-place Princeton. At the end of the day, Harvard took the overall lead with Princeton in second and the Bulldogs in third, over seventy points ahead of fourth-place Columbia. Columbia was the only undefeated team entering the competition.
The younger swimmers on the Bulldog team managed to produce excellent results during the first two days, a remarkable feat considering it was their first collegiate conference championship.
“We have such a young team: 17 of the 22 girls on the Ivy team were either freshmen or sophomores — and our depth really paid off,” Randolph said.
Fabian kept her winning streak alive with a victory in the first event of the meet’s third day, the 1650-yard freestyle. Fabian broke the pool record earlier in the season with a time of 16:18.75. Casey Lincoln ’17 took second and Hutchinson-Maddox took fourth, all recording valuable points in the last day of competition. In the 200-yard backstroke, Michelle Chintanaphol ’17 just out-touched Sada Stewart of Princeton, taking second place by only one-tenth of a second. Ali Stephens-Pickeral ’16 placed third in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:16.20, while Sydney Hirschi ’17 placed first in the 200-yard butterfly.
On the diving side, MacRae placed again, taking second in the three-meter dive with a score of 299.85, four points higher than her preliminary score. In the 400-yard freestyle relay, the final event of the meet, the “A” team of Zhou, Jameson, Wujciak and Hirschi took fourth, earning 52 points among them. At the end of competition, Harvard was in first with 1409 points, Princeton was in second with 1384 and the Elis were in third with 1163.5 points, well ahead of fourth-place Columbia at 945 points.
The freshmen on the team finished their first championship with great standing, an experience Jameson said will stick with them for a long time. She added that the meet made the team truly come together, but expressed sadness over seeing the season finish and watching the seniors swim for the last time.
“It was bittersweet because that was the last time we would ever compete with the same group of girls,” Zhou said.
The three seniors on the Ivy team — Randolph, Allison West ’14 and Christina Brasco ’14 — felt the emotions that came with swimming in their last meet. Randolph said that it was amazing to finish the season in the top three and that she is excited for the future of Yale swimming and diving.
Now that the women are done for the season, they will be cheering on the men as they travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts for their Ivy Championships this weekend. Competition begins on Thursday, Feb. 27.