After falling below expectations last week against University of Connecticut on the Huskies’ senior day, the Elis were able to come back on their own senior day.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs delivered two crushing defeats to Brown in what was Yale’s last dual meet of the season. The men defeated the Bears 186-114, while the women had a sharp turnaround from the previous week, winning 181-119.
“I thought it was great — it was a really good way to end the dual meet this season and I was proud of the way people got up and swam,” captain Alex Righi ’09 said. “I think it meant a lot to everyone on the team, especially the seniors on the team.”
He added, “It was nice to pull off the win and a decisive win at that.”
The Bulldogs dominated from the very start, taking first place in the 200-yard medley relay which included Righi, Matt Sweitzer ’09, Goksu Bicer ’12 and Chris Pool ’09 (1:30.44). Brown finished the race over two seconds behind them, 1:32.72. Yale finished the meet with 10 first place finishes through 16 events.
Among the first place finishers was Righi, who competed in the 100-yard backstroke (48.45) and the 100-yard freestyle (44.03), while taking second place in the 50-yard freestyle (21.13). Pool won the 200-yard butterfly in a landslide (1:49.69), winning his race by over three seconds. Head coach Frank Keefe said he was impressed with the performance of Sam Goldsmith ’11 at the meet.
Goldsmith took first place in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:07.43), followed closely behind by teammate Sweitzer (2:07.61).
Off the diving board, Eric Olson ’11 took second place in the 3-meter diving (289.25) while Colton Staab ’12 took second in the 1-meter diving (271.64). Drew Teer ’10 took third in both the 3-meter (283.50) and the 1-meter (262.94).
“I think right now we’re trying to hit our stride and we’re positive about our swimming,” Righi said. “So the meet was a good motivator and a good indication of how far we’ve come since January when we lost to Cornell.”
On the women’s side, captain Aidan McKinlay ’09 said she believed the team was more focused and motivated coming into this meet than they were last week when the team lost to the Huskies.
“We wanted to improve on our attitude during the meet,” she said. “This meet was kind of a trial run, and we’re going trying to keep that atmosphere at Ivy’s.”
That new attitude, along with time to recover from injuries, definitely helped. The women finished with a total of 11 first place finishes, compared to only three last week. Ileana Lucos ’11 who was previously out with an ankle injury, was able to compete in Sunday’s meet, finishing fourth place in the 200-yard butterfly (2:07.73).
Susan Kim ’10 led the way for the Bulldogs, taking first place in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:15.96), the 200-yard individual medley (2:08.33) and the 100-yard breaststroke (1:04.22). Rachel Rosenburg ’12 dominated the diving boards, taking first place in both the 3-meter and the 1-meter diving, scoring 260.62 and 246.21, respectively.
For the seniors, it was their last meet at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool, and Keefe said it would be difficult to find a similar group.
“The group of people that we have is just going to be very difficult to replace on the men’s team,” he said. “You don’t replace an Alex Righi. You lose a kid who’ll give you three first places in almost every meet. You probably need three or four people to try and do that — that’s hard to find.”
Both teams continue competition at the Ivy League Championships, scheduled for Feb. 26 to 28 for the women and March 5 to 7 for the men. Harvard and Princeton will be huge obstacles for both teams to overcome at the meet.
“Realistically Harvard and Princeton are going to be hard to beat,” Righi said. “So I think that shooting for as close as we can come to them will ensure that we perform well and hold ourselves to a higher standard.”
He went on to explain that focusing on the other teams will not help the team to rise to a new level.
Keefe noted that Harvard and Princeton are too deep, saying that recruiting is difficult due to the success of Yale’s rivals.
“When you’re the champion, people want to flock to the championship team,” he said.
For the women, Kim said it would be a hard fight for third at the championships, noting that Columbia and Penn would likely be the toughest competition for the Elis.
“I think it’s going to be tough for us,” she said. “I’m excited to see how fast our girls can go. We have 20 girls and we all need to step up.”