Those members of the men’s swimming and diving team not competing in this weekend’s Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League Championships saw their final action of the season at the ECAC Championships this past Thursday through Saturday.
Yale came home after placing sixth overall, behind strong performances from Cole Heggi ’04 and Justin Doty ’02, who finished second in the 1,650-yard free and 200 fly, respectively. The Bulldogs used the meet as a chance for those who aren’t going to the championships on March 1-3 to have a chance to perform in competition at a championship meet.
“It’s good experience for the swimmers who aren’t going to the Easterns to be able to go to the ECACs rather than only getting in to one event at the end of a dual meet,” head coach Frank Keefe said.
“The ECACs were a good chance to race lots of competition and see lots of people who we ordinarily wouldn’t get a chance to swim against,” he said. “Overall, we had a bunch of good swims — it was a pretty good meet.”
While the ECACs served as a good way to finish the season for Doty and Heggi, the Elis will send 20 swimmers to West Point for the EISLs, where Keefe has somewhat modest expectations.
“We obviously want to win,” he said. “But we’re probably trying to get up to third and close the gap between Harvard and Princeton. They are so strong, it’s really a battle for third place.”
Team captain George Gleason ’01 is a bit more optimistic.
“If we swim well, we will be fighting with Princeton for second place,” he said.
Gleason also noted the current workout schedule and dynamic changes.
“We are now more race-pace oriented, as opposed to aerobic-paced — that in and of itself gets us fired up for the championships — that we are swimming fast times,” Gleason said.
As for what he does to get psychologically prepared for the meet, Gleason said he is spending a lot of time checking the fast times from all the different leagues around the country.
“I’m just planning for my race strategy — it doesn’t take much to get me pumped up for the championship,” he said.
And Keefe feels the team will be ready to go when they arrive at West Point.
“We’ve got some guys who can do extremely well,” he said. “We’re ready to step up to the next level and swim.”