SWIMMING & DIVING: As diving finishes, male swimmers prepare for NCAAs

After a stellar season in which both teams placed third in the Ivy League Championships, some of the members of the Yale men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams had one final competition in the NCAA Diving Zones and Championship Meet.

The female swimmers and both diving teams have finished competition, while the male swimmers will be competing this weekend in Iowa City.

For the women’s diving team, Olivia Grinker ’16, Lilybet MacRae ’17, Kelly Sherman ’16 and McKenna Tennant ’18 all qualified during the regular season. MacRae dove last season in NCAA events, placing third in the Zone A Regional competition and 34th overall in the nation.

The first day in Buffalo was dedicated to the three-meter dive. In the preliminaries, MacRae finished 11th in the pool of 54 divers, while Tennant, Sherman and Grinker failed to advance to the finals, as only the top 18 divers from the preliminary competition advanced. MacRae ultimately came in 13th place in the finals.

The one-meter event took place on day two and MacRae again led the team, taking eighth in the preliminaries and qualifying for the next round. But after finishing in the same spot in the finals with a score of 536.00 points, MacRae ended up just 1.10 points away from a seventh-place finish and a spot in the NCAA Finals.

“The NCAA Qualifying Meet was very competitive and intense, but at the same time, I got to catch up with old friends in the diving community that I had not seen in years,” Grinker said. “The combination of the two made me motivated to do well.”

For the male divers, James McNelis ’16 represented the Bulldogs in the one-meter dive. He placed 41st overall in a field of 49. In the three-meter dive, he finished in 46th place and was one of seven Ivy League divers to compete in the event. Teammate Wayne Zhang ’18, a staff reporter for YTV, also qualified for both events, but did not compete in the Zone A competition as he sprained his ankle the night before the diving events.

“By the end of the season, I could really see an improvement in my diving, and the way that I was competing,” Zhang said.

The lone swimmer from the women’s team to compete in the NCAA Championships was Maddy Zimmerman ’18. Her qualification time of 52.74 in the 100-yard butterfly earned her the 36th seed at the championships. In the preliminary competition, Zimmerman tied for 36th place and failed to qualify for the finals, which took just the top 16 swimmers. Her swim marked the final competition for any of the female swimmers and divers this season.

According to Grinker, the teams are hopeful that more athletes will qualify for the tournaments next year, as the swimmers and divers who did qualify have become motivating factors for the rest of the teams.

The only people with events left to swim are Rob Harder ’15, Brian Hogan ’16 and Kei Hyogo ’18, with Hogan the only one to have competed in the NCAA Championships before. Harder will be competing in the 200-yard backstroke as the 26th seed, and the 200-yard freestyle as the 41st seed. Hogan — who will swim the same events he swam at last year’s Championships — will take on the 200, 1,000 and 1,650-yard freestyle swims. His highest seed ranking is in the 1,650, in which he is ranked 17th.

Hyogo, meanwhile, will compete in the 400-yard IM as well as the 500 and 1,650-yard freestyle events. He is currently in the 11th seed for the 1,650.

The men’s competitions will begin on March 26 and end on March 28 in Iowa City, Iowa.

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