When it comes to men’s swimming, Princeton and Harvard are the cream of the Ivy League crop, currently sitting in first (7–0) and second (4–1), respectively. In this weekend’s annual H-Y-P meet, the Crimson and the Tigers did not disappoint in New Haven, as the Bulldogs finished behind both teams. Harvard won the meet after defeating Princeton 189–164, and besting Yale, 266–87.
But despite the third place finish, Yale swimmers said they were proud with their performance.
“We were told by a spectator that if you were sitting in the stands and didn’t know the score, you would think Yale was right in the meet,” freshman Pat Killian said. “We stayed energetic and competitive and raced whomever was next to us. We honestly surprised ourselves with just how fast we were able to go and how well we could hang with the guys next to us.”
The Bulldogs got off to a good start in the 200-yard freestyle relay, as the team of captain Kyle Veatch ’11, Mike Dominski ’13, Matt Boone ’12 and Pat Killian ’14 swam to a time of 1:22.17, a little less than a second behind second-place Harvard. That was the first of two top-three finishes for Yale relay squads on the weekend, as the Elis rounded out the meet in style Sunday, not only taking third in the 400-yard freestyle relay, but also earning an NCAA ‘B’ Cut. Goksu Bicer ’12 joined Dominski, Killian and Veatch on that squad.
In between, Yale’s freshmen continued their strong debut campaigns. West Cuthbert ’14 started that trend with an impressive fourth-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle. Another freshman proved the Bulldogs’ top finisher in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard breaststroke, as well, as Danny McDermott ’14 swam those races in 58.11 and 2:05.79, good for sixth and seventh overall, respectively. Killian swam well also, posting Yale’s second best finish in the 50-yard freestyle (ninth), bested only by his captain Veatch amongst those wearing blue and white.
But the most impressive Yale performance belonged to Mikey Bogese ’14, who earned the best time amongst Yalies in three separate events including a huge win in the 400-yard IM, which he completed in 3:54.84. Just before that, Bogese took third in the grueling 1650-yard freestyle, a race that took him 15:29.40, just over a second off the pace of second-place finisher, Harvard’s Greg Roop.
“I think the freshman class really stepped up this weekend.” Bogese said. “The vast majority of us went lifetime best times … I just think it’s great that the young guys on the team are really showing the league what Yale swimming has to offer, and that we’re ready for the new era of Yale swimming.”
In terms of upperclassmen performances, Dominski took third overall in the 100-yard backstroke (50.03) followed closely by Alex Gornitzky ’11 (50.77), who took fifth. Gornitzky’s teammate Scott Shinton ’12 took fifth overall in the 200-yard butterfly, barely besting Bicer, who finished sixth, by less than three-tenths of a second.
The Bulldogs also made their mark on the 100-yard freestyle in the form of Veatch (4th) and Bicer (6th), and Bicer followed that up with a second-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly (49.13). Dominski took third in that event (49.16), giving the Elis two swimmers in the top three for the first time in the meet.
The Bulldogs head to UConn for their final non-conference tuneup before facing Brown at home in the last meet of the season. The Ivy League Championships will be held on March 3.
“We have to remain focused and tough to end the season on the upswing our performance at HYP has begun,” Killian said. “Two or three weeks of training remain before we wind down to prepare physically for the end of the season. Mentally, I think we all can’t wait to race Columbia, Cornell and Penn again and try to avenge our earlier losses.”