Three must be their lucky number.
Third place. Three individual titles. Three Yale relay records. Three individual school records.
The women’s swimming and diving team did it in threes, and concluded its season with an impressive third-place finish at the Ivy League Championships Feb. 22-24 at Princeton’s DeNunzio Pool. The Bulldogs finished with 557 points, behind Princeton (870) and Brown (774).
“Everybody swam great,” assistant coach Timothy Wise said. “It was a great accomplishment. There were a lot of positives, and it’s a good springboard into next year.”
In addition to the team success, Bulldogs Bates Gregory ’03 and Meredith Bryarly ’01 won individual titles. Gregory placed first in the 1-meter dive, while Bryarly took first in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. Bryarly swam to three individual school records in the 50-yard, 100-yard and 200-yard freestyles and was also a part of three record-setting relay teams. The 200-yard, 400-yard and 800-yard freestyle relay teams swam to new Yale standards of 1:33.68, 3:24.86 and 7:29.43.
Bryarly began revising Yale’s record books in her first individual swim Thursday. In 50-yard freestyle preliminaries, the star sprinter recorded a pool and school record time of 22.82. Later that evening, she dominated the finals and won the Ivy title in 23.20.
On the final day of competition, Bryarly returned to the pool for the 100-yard freestyle. She won the event at the 1999 Ivy Championships, and it is traditionally her best race.
Bryarly said she was nervous before the finals and was concerned that she might not be able to compete. Once on the blocks, Bryarly regained her confidence and took a quick lead over the competition at the 50-yard mark. She held her position and reclaimed her 100-yard freestyle title in 49.88.
Because of her tremendous individual and team efforts, Bryarly was named the meet’s outstanding swimmer.
“It was a really exciting meet,” Bryarly said. “I am sad that my college career is over, but it was really nice to finish off this way.”
Gregory joined Bryarly as an individual winner after having a season-best performance on the 1-meter board. The diver has struggled this season, but was nearly flawless in the finals Thursday night.
“Everything just clicked,” Gregory said. “It was really satisfying. Being able to contribute to the team, which was doing so well, was a great feeling.”
Susan Cooke ’03 also had an excellent meet. She finished third in the 400-yard individual medley and fourth in the 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley.
Other top performances came from the distance freestylers. Heidi Kraus ’03 finished third in the 500-yard freestyle and fourth in the 1650-yard freestyle. Fellow sophomore Catey Bradford placed fourth behind Krause in the 500-yard, and Laura O’Brien ’04 had a breakthrough swim in the 1650-yard freestyle and finished fifth. The Bulldogs showed their strength and depth by taking four of the top eight positions in the mile freestyle.
For most of the team, the Ivy League meet is the end of a successful season. But some of the Bulldogs are still training and competing. Gregory will join fellow divers Shannon Dunlap ’01 and Kathleen McKeon ’04, and travel to Annapolis, Md., for the NCAA Zone Championships March 9-10. The Zone meet is a qualifying meet for the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 15-17 on Long Island.
Bryarly also has a shot at competing in the NCAA Championships, but will not know if her times have qualified her until Thursday.
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