The men’s swimming team had high hopes for its weekend dual meet against Columbia and Brown after beating Harvard and Princeton last week. Unfortunately for the Elis, those hopes made a belly flop in the pool Saturday.

Yale had an easy time against the Lions, defeating the team in its own den 221-79, but the Elis fell to the Bears 154-146 in a meet they expected to win.

Perhaps the expectations were the problem.

“Brown caught us off guard,” Jack Cooney ’04 said. “We didn’t really expect them to be that good.”

Captain George Gleason ’01 agreed, and he also gave credit to the Bears.

“We swam pretty well, but Brown was really fired up to beat us, and they did,” Gleason said. “We only made a few mistakes, but Brown capitalized on all of them.”

Head coach Frank Keefe was disappointed in the team’s performance, especially coming off a strong effort the week before.

“The competition [this weekend] was nowhere close to where it was the week before,” he said. “We just didn’t show up.”

The Bulldogs did get some strong performances, however.

Gleason brought home first in the 100 free with a time of 45.87 seconds, and his 1:52.07 in the 200 individual medley also was good enough to capture the top spot. The team of Alex Nash ’04, James Esposito ’01, Cooney and Gleason won the 200 medley relay in 1:33.85.

Nash also captured victory when he swam the 100 backstroke in a time of 51.66 seconds. Freshman Jimmy Veazey’s 1:52.71 earned him first in the 200 butterfly. Cooney notched a lifetime best 1:50.26 to win the 200 backstroke. Cooney’s time of 51.58 seconds was also a lifetime best, but only placed him third behind Kevin McCann and Gary Plotz Jr. of Brown.

Yale had a number of performances that sank Columbia, but they weren’t good enough to defeat the Bears.

While disappointed over the loss, the Elis see this as an opportunity to re-focus for the ECAC championships on Feb. 22-24, where they will face the Bears once again.

“We are all really focused on the championships now,” Cooney said. “We should have no trouble taking Brown and turning some heads at the championships.”

Gleason also feels the team will use this meet to regroup and zero in on the conference title.

“We can use this loss as motivation to get back at them at the Easterns,” he said.

Keefe feels the Bulldogs could be in good shape for the championships, noting that only the best swimmers compete there.

“The teams drop a bunch of swimmers now,” Keefe said. “Only those who qualify for the championships compete.”

Gleason feels this plays well into the Bulldogs’ hands.

“We have better skill at the top end than Brown,” he said.

The Elis have cancelled the Yale Invitational for this weekend to prepare for the championships in two weeks, where they will look to make a splash.

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