It has been nearly seven months since the Yale men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams splashed into the water together, but they are back in action this weekend as they compete in their first official meet against Southern Connecticut State University.
At the end of the 2013–14 season, the women’s team tied for third in the Ivy League with Cornell and Princeton with a 4–3 record. The men’s team finished in identical fashion, except its third place tie was with Columbia and Penn. Harvard finished among the top two in the Ivy League in both men’s and women’s swimming and diving, with Princeton taking second on the men’s side behind the Crimson and Columbia finishing first for the women.
Heading into a new season, many new faces have joined the teams and have brought their own unique skills to the squads. The Yale men’s team welcomes nine freshmen — eight swimmers and a lone diver — from the class of 2018. The newcomers bring with them a remarkable amount of recognition, including an Olympic trial qualifying time and multiple state championships. The freshmen recruits also come from very different backgrounds, with athletes who have lived in South Africa, Singapore, Japan and South Korea, not to mention a variety of states.
The women’s team, meanwhile, added ten swimmers and one diver from the class of 2018. Five of the freshmen were ranked in Collegeswimming.com’s top 250 swimmers this year. They come from across the U.S., including from state swimming powerhouses such as California, Florida and Illinois.
“We have an amazing freshman class,” Eva Fabian ’16 said. “They’re extremely hardworking, positive, fun and motivating.”
In addition to the new swimmers and divers, familiar faces will continue to make a splash for Yale this year. For the women, all eyes will be on Fabian, who was recently named to the U.S. National Open Water Team. She was elected a first team All-Ivy swimmer and took first place in the 1650-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle in last year’s Ivy League Championships. In addition to Fabian, Sydney Hirschi ’17 and Emma Smith ’16 both hold the best Ivy League times in the 2013-14 season in the 200-yard butterfly and the 400-yard individual medley, respectively.
Meanwhile, sophomore diver Lilybet MacRae ’17 qualified last season for the 2014 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in the one-meter and three-meter dives. She took third place in both of her NCAA Zone A Regional competitions and secured first place dives in multiple meets during her first season with the Bulldogs.
On the men’s side, Brian Hogan ’16 was the only swimmer to compete at the NCAA tournament. He was given first team All-Ivy honors and set multiple records for Yale and Kiphuth Pool. Alongside Hogan, teammates Rob Harder ’15 and Ben Lerude ’17 also hold top-five times in the 200-yard backstroke, 500-yard freestyle, 1650-yard freestyle and 1000-yard freestyle.
“I’m excited to start racing again,” Hogan said. “It’s been a while since most of us have seen competition.”
With the season starting up this weekend, the Bulldogs’ practices have changed to adjust to the incoming freshmen and prepare for the rigor of competition season. Hogan and Fabian agreed that because last year’s team was so intense, things have only been more energized this season, even without the graduated seniors and the new freshmen.
The swimmers will head to SCSU on Friday, while the divers will be competing at home in the Kiphuth Pool. Competition begins at 3 p.m.