While many of the collegiate swimming teams attending the University of Virginia Invitational over the weekend geared up for the competition, the Yale men’s and women’s teams were simply tuning up for bigger meets to come.
Both Bulldog teams traveled to Charlottesville, Va., for the three-day competition and left satisfied after placing fifth and sixth, respectively.
Nationally ranked UVA won both meets with their No. 11 men’s team scoring 1,064 points and their No. 14 women finishing with 1,197. The Cavaliers nearly doubled the scores of the second-place finishers.
In comparison, the Elis’ final scores were 499 and 381.5, but both teams were pleased with their finishes.
“I think we did just as well or better than we were hoping to do,” said Jack Cooney ’04, who finished in fifth place in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 50.74 and came in sixth in the 200-yard individual medley in 1:54.33. He also took seventh place in the 100-yard backstroke, finishing with a time of 51.72.
Cooney noted that three of the teams that beat Yale had shaved and rested leading up to the meet, while Yale had not prepared in that fashion. The Elis typically shave and taper prior to their conference meet.
“That goes to our disadvantage by a little at that point,” Cooney said.
The invitational was formatted in the same way Yale’s March conference meet will be, with time trials in the morning and the top 24 swimmers in each event qualifying to swim in the finals at night. The finals were then divided into three eight-lane heats, with the top two, the championship and consolation finals, counting for points and the third being a bonus final.
“It’s kind of like our dress rehearsal for our conference meet,” women’s captain Emily Fain ’02 said. “We were getting used to the trials and finals.”
The men’s team had several other strong finishes at the Invitational. In the 1,650-meter freestyle event, the Elis took third through seventh places, with Mike Schulte ’02 finishing third in 15:43.15 and Greg Palumbo ’03 coming in fourth with a time of 15:53.48.
“Our distance swimmers are really strong, and that event really helped us out on the last day to catch up with some of the teams ahead of us,” Cooney said.
Schulte came in third in the 500-yard freestyle, beating his qualifying time by nearly two seconds with a 4:33.32. In the 400-yard individual medley captain Pat Dennis ’02 finished fifth with a time of 4:03.55, and Scott Hartz ’05 finished eighth in 4:15.07.
The team of Cooney, James Cocks ’03, Matt Bowman ’04 and Aaron Lange ’03 swam to a fifth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Meanwhile, the 800-yard freestyle relay team of Schulte, Palumbo, Matt Bowman and Cocks finished fourth with a time of 6:51.02.
Alex Nash ’04 swam to a fourth-place finish of his own in the 200-yard backstroke in 1:51.28.
Susan Cooke ’03 had a phenomenal meet, finishing second in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:21.35 and third in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:05.15. She also finished seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke event.
According to Fain, the women were focusing more on individual times rather than overall placements due to the large number of swimmers at the meet.
“We came up with goal times for all the events that we were hoping to swim,” she said. “Most of them were halfway points for the season, but most of us ended up accomplishing our goals. I think in that sense we were really successful.”
According to Fain, Linda Tivorsak ’02 had a “breakout meet,” accomplishing all four of her time goals, including a 15th place finish in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:10.80.
Becca Knicely ’05 had a strong finish, placing ninth in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 58.03.
The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Knicely, Kristin Ophaug ’05, Fain and Paige Harazin ’04 finished fifth with a time of 1:39.17.
“It was a really fast meet, so even making the bonus heats was a big challenge,” Fain said. “A lot of us were able to swim at night, which was great.”
After their successful weekend, the Elis return home to host Boston College Friday night at 5:00 p.m.
“For the guys it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge,” Cooney said of the meet. “Their women’s team is decent though, so they should give our girls some good races.”