The Yale women’s swim team pulled above .500 over the break with victories over Army on Jan. 6 and Cornell on Jan. 9 and 10.

After having barely over a week to rest at home following the end of finals, the Elis regrouped on Dec. 29 to travel down to Puerto Rico to train. The training was meant to be extremely intense — from Dec. 29 to Jan. 8 the team swam approximately 15,000 meters, nearly 10 miles, in two daily sessions.

“We got a ton of training done in Puerto Rico,” captain Amy Hancock ’04 said. “We were in the water 4.5 hours every day and we came back in amazing shape.”

On Jan. 6, the Bulldogs overcame numerous hurdles to defeat Army 110-87. The tough training schedule, pouring rain and long-course format, rather than the normal short-course format for collegiate competition, all posed problems for the eventually victorious Elis. Paige Harazin ’04 and Caroline Stephenson ’05 were both double winners. Harazin took the 100- and 200-meter freestyle events with times of 1:02.00 and 2:13.20, respectively. Stephenson won the 200-meter individual medley and 200-meter backstroke with times of 2:30.06 and 2:31.08, respectively.

“I was pretty happy with my personal swims and the team as a whole swam very well, particularly considering how heavy we had been training,” Harazin said.

The Bulldogs returned home on Jan. 8 and had only one day to rest before diving back into action against Cornell two days later. Despite the absence of several important team members, the Elis were decisive winners, defeating the Big Red by a score of 166-131. Harazin had another big performance, winning the 50-yard freestyle in 24.84 and the 100-yard freestyle in 54.00. Five other Bulldogs won individual events: Laura O’Brien ’04 in the 100-yard freestyle, Daphna Shafir ’04 in the 200-yard butterfly, Allison Rogers ’05 in the 500-yard freestyle, Becca Knicely ’05 in the 100-yard butterfly, and Stephenson in the 200-yard individual medley.

“We did really well at Cornell in terms of keeping our heads in the meet,” Harazin said. “Since a few key swimmers were out due to injury, everyone was given a chance to really step up. The divers gave us a huge head start Friday night and we pretty much just kept it going from there.”

The Eli divers, who competed on Jan. 9, were also a big factor in the victory. Melanie Loftus ’05 won both the one- and three-meter competitions, and the three-meter event was a Bulldog sweep, as Loftus, Kathleen McKeon ’04, and Liz Foglesong ’07 took the top three spots.

With such important meets as HYP and the Ivy Championships coming up, the Elis are ready and confident in light of what they have accomplished over the break.

“The Cornell [and Army] meets were the toughest we have faced this season,” Yale head coach Frank Keefe said. “The team took what they did down south and put it into excellent performances. There are many of the athletes very tired [sic] from the hard training that did great, and we look forward to getting even faster. I feel both the men and women proved to themselves that they can train to true fatigue but still raise to the competition. It shows that they are able to move to the next level.”

The Elis swim next against Lehigh Saturday at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool. Yale is both ready to compete this weekend and is cognizant of the more important contests lying around the corner.

“The team is confident about the meet this weekend,” Hancock said. “We’re trying to get faster each weekend in preparation for HYPs and Ivies.”

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