Jack Cooney ’04 said before last Saturday’s meet that nobody at Columbia likes to lose his last home meet. But nobody at Yale likes to lose his last meet either.
In the end, the Lions (4-4, 3-2 EISL) got exactly what it was trying to avoid — a 175-121 defeat at the hands of the Elis. The Bulldogs (9-3, 7-2 EISL) also defeated Brown (5-6, 3-5) 193-95 in the tri-meet held this past weekend at the Uris Pool in New York City.
“Our performances were some of the best I have seen ever against Brown and Columbia,” Jimmy Veazey ’04 said. “Usually we swim a little flat after HYP, but this weekend was exceptional. The whole team came together with a great performance to dominate Brown and Columbia.”
Veteran Veazey was the star for the Elis, winning two individual events — the 200-yard butterfly and the 100-yard freestyle. He was also part of the victorious 400-yard freestyle relay team.
Veazey’s day started with an impressive performance in the freestyle leg of the 200-yard medley relay, posting a time of 20.22. Captain Alex Nash ’04, Tom Hardy ’06 and Cooney swam the other legs and the Elis — with a combined time of 1:33.00 — narrowly yielded first place to the Bears by a quarter of a second.
Veazey went on to win the 200-yard butterfly in 1:49.93 and top the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 45.82. His excellent form continued right through to the very last event of the day — the 400-yard freestyle relay. Veazey posted an even faster 100-yard freestyle time than before, posting a 45.76 in his leg, and together with Cooney, Kieran Locke ’06 and Matt Bowman ’04, the relay team helped the Bulldogs finish the regular season with a double win.
Quinn Fitzgerald ’05 was the other double-winner for Yale, as he touched the wall ahead of his teammate, rookie Andrew Foss ’07, twice. Fitzgerald first took the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 1:39.81, ahead of Foss’s 1:40.28, and then finished first in the 500-yard freestyle in a time of 4:34.91, ahead of Foss’s 4:35.38. After 700 yards of competition, less than a second separated the two swimmers.
“Last weekend was the seniors’ last dual meet and everyone wanted to go out with a bang in honor of them,” Fitzgerald said. “Foss and I did our part by placing one-two in both of our races. This meet gives us a lot of confidence to carry through three more weeks of training and then our championship meets.”
Despite losing their last home meet, the Lions did have something to cheer about. Junior Ben Collins, who was already Columbia’s school record holder in the 400-yard individual medley, set a Uris Pool record in the same event in his last home meet with a time of 3:56.28. Rookie Mike Slater ’07 was the top finisher for Yale, finishing in a time of 4:06.11.
The Bulldogs now have two and a half weeks off before the ECAC Championship over the weekend of Feb. 26. After that, the Elis will travel back to Princeton to compete for the EISL Championship on March 4, where they will encounter all of their Ivy rivals once again, especially powerhouses Harvard and Princeton.
After nine meets in the EISL, the Bulldogs recorded their only two losses to the Tigers and the Crimson, who were both ranked in the top 25 in the nation. The Elis will be training very hard over the next few weeks and will hopefully have a shot at their old rivals for the big prize.
“This weekend has made the whole team really excited for EISL’s and shows that we are contenders for the title,” Veazey said.