The Yale women’s swim team concluded the first half of its competitive season at its home pool this past weekend with the Nutmeg Invitational, held from Dec. 5-7 at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool.

Several Bulldogs performed extremely well over the course of the three-day meet, as five swimmers took first-place finishes.

On Friday, Meg Gill ’07 was the sole Eli victor, winning the 50-yard freestyle in 25.06.

On Saturday, Caroline Stephenson ’05 won the 400-yard Individual medley with a time of 4:36.96, and Moira McCloskey ’07 won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 58.60.

On Sunday, Allison Rogers ’05 won the 1650-yard freestyle in 17:32.50, and Kirsten Cartoski ’07 won the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:23.82.

Originally, the meet was supposed to feature six teams and provide an opportunity for the Bulldogs to swim the NCAA/Ivy League Championship format, which features preliminaries and finals. Unfortunately, Friday’s snows forced three of the teams to pull out of the meet, leaving only Yale, Central Connecticut State University and the University of Massachusetts to compete.

Several other factors contributed to the meet’s being treated more as training than racing. First and most importantly, the match was not scored. Also, with finals looming, work-burdened swimmers were allowed to pull out of events for certain reasons.

“At the beginning of the season, everyone filled out a goal sheet with goals for four events at different points in the season,” captain Amy Hancock ’04 said. “If you made your December goal time, you were allowed to [pull out of some races] to get some work done.”

In what seems to be a continuing trend, the team did not lighten its intense training load at all prior to the meet. Unlike most of their opponents, the Bulldogs have been and will be training right up to the championship meets held in the late winter and early spring.

But despite often-packed meet schedules on top of intense training regimens, the Elis seem to be taking their workload in stride.

“There were many good swimmers, and those that went out there and gave it their best have every reason to be happy with their swims,” Cartoski said. “Considering the heavy training we all have endured in the past week, we swam well.”

Even the swimmers who seemed to be the most frustrated with their exhaustion conceded the long-term necessity of the difficult training.

“We have been working very hard so our bodies are broken,” Rogers said. “Everything is painful now, but it will pay off at the end of the season, when it counts.”

The team’s next meet is against Army in Puerto Rico on Jan. 1. The meet serves as a break in what team members suggest will be an intense period of training.

“At training trip, we’ll practice twice every day, trying to break down our bodies as much as possible so when we rest for big meets in February, our muscles will be rebuilt stronger than before,” Stephenson said.

However, despite having the Army meet and several crucial dual meets in January, now that the first half of the season is complete, swimmers are beginning to look to the championship meets in earnest.

“Right now, we’re focused on getting through our winter training trip and the meet at Army, but in the long run, we’re thinking of those important meets in late winter, like [Harvard-Yale-Princeton] and Ivies,” Cartoski said.

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