With seven individual victories and 17 top-three finishes, the Yale men’s swimming team has a powerful Class of 2015.

The Bulldogs, led by the freshmen, kicked off the season with a bang Saturday as they handed Columbia its first loss of the dual meet season, 178–122. This was the last conference game before the New Year, and more importantly marked the first victory in four years against the Lions. The women’s swimming team closely fell 138.5–161.5 but posted a pool record and the divers dominated their diving events.

“The smiles on their faces after the meet told the story of the day,” head men’s swimming coach Tim Wise said.

Wise added that from the moment they dove into Uris Pool in New York, the Bulldogs were hungry for the win. The team of three freshmen — Alwin Firmansyah ’15, Andrew Heymann ’15, and Mike Lazris ’15 — and former first-team All Ivy honoree Goksu Bicer ’12 edged Columbia by 0.22 seconds to clinch first place in the 200-yard relay.

The divers also posted strong showings, as Tyler Pramer ’13 ranked third in the three meter event before Colton Staab ’12 matched the record in the 1 meter.

For the swimmers, Saturday’s meet was all about the underclassmen, especially the freshmen in individual events.

Robby Harder ’15 zoomed through the water several times, winning the 1000-yard freestyle 4.72 seconds ahead of the rest. Just minutes later, he swiped top place again in the 200-yard freestyle, with classmate Josh Ginsborg ’15 touching out just 0.30 seconds later and Pat Killian ’14 clinching fourth. Harder torpedoed toward the end in the 500-yard freestyle, edging Ginsborg by a close 0.17 second margin.

The freshmen continued ranking in the top three, as Lazris placed second in the 100-yard backstroke (51.88). Ronald Tsui ’15 edged teammate Andrew Heymann ’15 by just 0.9 seconds to win the 100-yard breaststroke. And just before the one meter diving event, Paschall Davis ’13 swiped a close win in the 50-yard freestyle, with Bicer following fourth 0.25 seconds later.

The pace did not stop in the 200-yard breastroke, when Danny McDermott ’14 edged Columbia’s Eric Traub by one second to clinch first. Tsui followed third.

When it came to the 100-yard butterfly, no one could pass swimming powerhouse Bicer. Davis came second and Ed Becker ’14 fourth, securing more points for the final tally.

Yale ended the individual events on a high note, with a strong group of underclassmen including Firmansyah, Heymann , Lazris, and Tom Elling ’14 tacked points for the team.

The Bulldogs finished off strong as the team including Bicer, Davis, Killian, and Harder won the 400 yard freestyle relay.

Killian said that the meet set the tone for the season.

“It’s a great first step,” he said. “Columbia is the closest matching rival we have. They are the most competitive and intense competition in the league.”

For the women, captain Rachel Rosenberg ’12 said the meet involved closer races and ultimately, Columbia won because the Lions clinched a couple of critical second and third place wins.

“We put up a good fight,” she said. “But they had more depth.” Rosenberg added that the Lions had an edge in a variety of events, whereas Yale dominates in a few but falls easily in others.

Rosenberg and Paige Meneses ’13 started off the meet with first and second place finishes, respectively, in diving. Their dives were high enough to qualify the pair for NCAA Zone Championships next March.

The relays were close, but the Elis could not catch up to the Lions. The Bulldogs — a team of Cynthia Tsay ’13, Athena Liao ’12, Hayes Hyde ’12, and Alex Forrester ’13 — came up less than a second behind the Lions in the 200-yard medley relay.

In the individual events, Tsay won the 100-yard backstroke, while Hyde swam past her opponents to claim the victory in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:03.34.

Forrester set the pool record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.13.

Next weekend the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will be in Boston for the Boston University Terrier Invitational.