There were tears of joy on Saturday as members of the women’s swimming and diving team realized they had reached their year-long goal — to place third at the Ivy League Championships in Cambridge, Mass.

The team was behind only Harvard (1478.5) and Princeton (1310.5), and defeated Columbia (8–1, 6–1) by the small margin of 1075.5 to 1057. Captain Rachel Rosenberg ’12, who placed first in the three-meter diving event, and Hayes Hyde ’12 who placed first in the 200-yard butterfly, both had standout performances.

“It was the perfect ending to our season,” Cynthia Tsay ’13, a freestyle and backstroke swimmer said.

This meet has been the team’s focus since the beginning of the season. On the final day of Ivies, team members wore shirts that said, “One meet, one taper.” As the slogan suggests, Yale swimmers (3–4, 3–4) did not taper until the very end of the season, a sign of their discipline and dedication to their goal of third place at the Ivy League Championships.

The team knew beating Columbia and placing third would be no easy task. Columbia had an impressive 6–1 record in the Ivy League and had defeated Princeton in a previous dual meet. But by the time Joan Weaver ’13 touched the wall in the last event of the meet, the 400-yard freestyle relay, it was evident the Bulldogs had clinched third place ahead of the Lions. This year’s third-place finish is a substantial improvement over last year’s fifth-place mark.

Rosenberg’s first-place finish in the three-meter diving event was a huge contribution to the team’s success. As a seasoned diver with victories on three-meter at every dual meet, expectations for Rosenberg were high, and she exceeded them. She executed even her difficult dives, such as a reverse two-and-a-half, to the best of her ability. She finished the event with a 340.00, which was over 40 points above her closest competitor, and earned her the honor of diver of the meet.

“Every dive was as good as I could have I imagined,” Rosenberg said.

The Elis enjoyed individual successes in swimming events as well as diving events. Alexandra Forrester ‘13 (52.53) and Hyde (54.36) took first and second in the 100-yard butterfly. Hyde won the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:57.65. Forrester set the Yale record in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 49.58 and took second in the event.

Relays were also strong for the Bulldogs. The team’s first win of the meet was in the 200-yard medley relay, where Tsay, Hyde, Forrester and Athena Liao ’12 broke the pool record with a time of 1:41.05. They also won the last race of the event, the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:20.21). Forrester, Hyde, Tsay and Joan Weaver ’13 were behind Yale’s victorious Ivy League finale.

The Ivy League Championships is the biggest meet of the season for Yale. The deck was packed with swimmers from every Ivy League school cheering as loudly as they could for their teammates. About half the Yale swim team lost their voices, Rosenberg said.

The “energy level, excitement, and pressure are all inherently raised since [it’s] Ivies” Liao said in an email.

While this meet marks the end of the season for most swimmers, some will continue on to NCAA championships. Swimmers with the best B cut times, a national cut-off standard, will advance to championships in mid-March. Although Yale swimmers with B cut times are still waiting to see if they will receive an invitation to nationals, the team is hopeful that Forrester will qualify in the 100-yard butterfly. As for the divers, Rosenberg and Paige Meneses ’13 will compete in the Zone Diving Championships on March 9-11.

Forrester’s preliminary time of 52.51 in the 100-yard butterfly is well under the NCAA B cut time of 54.62.

Princeton (5–2, 5–2) won last year’s championships while Harvard (7–2, 7–0 Ivy) took second place.

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