Columbia surprised the women’s swimming and diving team Friday.

Columbia (1-0) upset Yale (0-1) 182-117.5 at the Kiphuth Memorial Exhibition Pool. Last year, Yale finished second in the Ivy League with a 12-1 overall record. Columbia was sixth at 5-5 overall.

Right from the meet’s outset, Columbia demonstrated it was a far different team from the Lions squad that fell to Yale 159-141 last November. The Lions opened the meet with a close win in the 200 medley relay and went on to win 12 of 16 events.

“Columbia apparently got a lot of talented freshmen and rested a bit for the meet. We certainly underestimated their level of talent,” said breaststroker Susan Cooke ’03, last year’s Ivy League Swimmer of the Year.

Despite the loss, many Yale swimmers performed better against Columbia than they did at this time last season.

“Improvement is the most important thing,” head coach Frank Keefe said. “We swam pretty well our first time out. In many places we swam better than last year.”

Heidi Krause ’03 swam a 5:09 in the 500 last year against Columbia. This weekend, she swam a 5:03.

Paige Harazin ’04 played a role in three of the four Bulldog victories, winning the 100 and 200 freestyles in 52.46 and 1:54.03 respectively, and anchoring the 400 freestyle relay, which won in 3:35.61.

Cooke was the only other Yale champion, winning the 200 breaststroke in 2:24.62.

“The difference was that Columbia swam faster and chose to be very ready at this point in the season,” Keefe said. “It is only November. We need to take it week-to-week and see what we can do this week. We’re where we need to be: tired and training hard.”

This week, Bulldog swimmers prepare for road meets against Boston College on Friday and, split-squad, Bowdoin and Maine on Monday — the first meets of the men’s 2002-03 season.

What the women’s team will do this season remains to be seen, but there is no question now where its focus lies.

“One good thing that comes out of the loss is that it wakes us up and serves as an impetus to work harder because what we did last year is just not going to cut it,” Cooke said. “We will have to focus on our final meet, the Ivy Championships, and try to win that meet with our depth, something we didn’t possess last year.”

Following Thanksgiving break, the Bulldogs will host the Nutmeg Invitational and then take time off for exams before heading to Puerto Rico for training camp and preparation for the bulk of their season in January and early February.

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