For the graduating seniors who swam at Kiphuth Exhibition Pool for the last time in their Yale careers on Saturday, the sign off was a memorable one as the Elis trounced Lehigh 172-26.
Yale dominated the meet with six individual first-place finishes. However, the real highlight of the afternoon was Elis’ victories in both relay races featuring all-senior lineups arranged by head coach Frank Keefe for the occasion. Captain Alex Nash ’04, Jack Cooney ’04, Matt Bowman ’04 and Jimmy Veazey ’04 combined to win the 200-yard medley relay — the first event of the meet — in a time of 1:35.62. The same foursome won the 200-yard freestyle relay — the last event of the meet — in a time of 1:26.14.
“It is a tradition that the seniors would swim both relay races for the last home meet.” Cooney said. “Frank changed the lineup for today, and it was just a lot of fun to swim with these guys.”
Cooney showed his opponents that he is no fun to compete against, wrapping up his last home meet with two individual wins — the 200 backstroke (1:52.65) and the 200-yard freestyle (1:44.21). Veazey won the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 0:47.86 while Bowman topped the 50-yard freestyle in 0:22.19.
But it was not just the seniors who were impressive. Rookie Lou Krasenics ’07 started off the block slowly in the 200-yard fly, positioned in fourth place after the first turn, but caught up and dominated the last 100 yards in just 57 seconds to upset Lehigh’s William Green.
“I am really happy with my time,” said Krasenics who set his personal best for this event in a time of 1:53.88, shaving almost eight seconds from his previous record time of 2:01.10 earned at the Nutmeg Invitational.
In addition to speed, the Bulldogs demonstrated that they have the necessary stamina for the medium- and long-distance events. Yale took the top two finishes in the 500-yard freestyle, with Quinn Fitzgerald ’05 leading from the first lap to the last in a time of 4:39.56, followed by Kent Garber ’07 in a time of 4:45.29.
Despite leading two thirds of the race in the 1000-yard freestyle, Mark Fisher ’07, who finished in a time of 9:53.61, lost first place to Lehigh’s Chris Caywood by just two seconds. In the same event, Jack Hutchinson ’07 placed third, coming in just under the 10-minute mark for the first time this season.
Hutchinson said the Bulldogs’ success in the distance events could be partly accounted for by the intensity of the Puerto Rico training camp over the winter break.
“[In Puerto Rico] we [were] training in 50-meter-long course pools the whole time, and I think that really helped us to improve our fitness,” Hutchinson said.
The Bulldogs are now getting started on the business end of the season. They will continue their spring campaign on the road, traveling first to Philadelphia to face Penn and Dartmouth this weekend and then heading to Princeton Jan. 30 for the HYP weekend.