In the first weekend of official competition for the Yale swim teams, both the men and women took home resounding victories over Southern Connecticut State University, with the men winning 156–95 and the women defeating the Owls 186–69.
For the swim teams, the opening meet was met with an overall feeling of anticipation, as it had been several months since the swimmers had competed in an official capacity for the Bulldogs.
“I’m so excited the meet season is finally here, and with the hard work that we have put in through the last couple of weeks, I’m excited to see how we perform throughout the season,” Kina Zhou ’17 said.
The women started the meet with the 200-yard medley relay. Yale entered three teams in the event, and they took the three top spots, with the team of Amy Zhao ’18, Ali Stephens-Pickeral ’16, Heidi VanderWel ’18 and Olivia Jameson ’17 coming in first. The next event, the 1000-yard freestyle, highlighted the long-distance skills of Casey Lincoln ’16 and Elizabeth Larsen ’15, as they took the top two spots, respectively. In the 200-yard freestyle, the Bulldogs shut out the Owls again when all four Yale swimmers took the top four spots. Danielle Liu ’18 led the way with a time of 26.86 with teammate Eva Fabian ’16 less than a second behind her.
Stephens-Pickeral shone again in the 100-yard breaststroke, securing first place and adding nine points to the team total. She was followed by Emma Smith ’16 winning the 200-yard butterfly.
The younger Elis showed their skills when the sprint events began. Mackenzie Franklin ’17 took first place in the 50-yard freestyle, followed closely by freshmen Pauline Kaminski ’18, Maddy Zimmerman ’18 and Cheryl Xiang ’18. Wins in the 100-yard freestyle by Michele Chintanaphol ’17 and the 200-yard backstroke by VanderWel added 18 points to Yale’s total.
With sweeps in most events, the women’s team rolled to a comfortable victory over SCSU.
The men’s day was similar to the women’s, with victories in nearly every race. The 200-yard medley “A” team of Shawn Nee ’18, Andrew Heymann ’15, Alwin Firmansyah ’15 and Aaron Greenberg ’17 kicked off the day with a victory and 11 points for the Bulldogs.
But perhaps the biggest surprise of the meet came in the 1000-yard freestyle, when Kei Hyogo ’18 just barely out-touched Brian Hogan ’16 by 0.02 seconds. Hogan, a first team All-Ivy swimmer from the year before, finished first in the event at last year’s Ivy League Championships, setting a meet record.
“The freshmen have done a great job adjusting to the team and Yale in general,” Hogan said. “The freshmen have stepped up to [last year’s team’s] intensity.”
SCSU started to push back against the dominant Yale performance as they headed into the 200-yard freestyle. The Owls took third, fourth and fifth in the event, knocking two of the Bulldogs into sixth and seventh in the eight-swimmer event. The Elis took control in the rest of the events, however, with all of the Yale swimmers finishing ahead of the Owls in every race. Kevin Stang ’16 took the win in the 100-yard backstroke and Heymann sealed the victory in the 100-yard breaststroke. Hyogo and Greenberg took first in the 200-yard butterfly and 50-yard freestyle, respectively, and Greenberg took another win in the following event, the 100-yard freestyle.
Hogan’s speed came to the forefront when he out-touched teammate Alex Schultz ’17 by less than two seconds in the 200-yard backstroke. For the final individual event of the meet, the 200-yard breaststroke, freshmen Jonathan Rutter ’18 and Derek Kao ’18 took the lead and placed first and second for the Elis.
Zhou and teammate Anna Wujciak ’17 both said they were excited to finish the first meet in such great standing and that it gave them a boost of confidence for the next meet.
The Elis will compete against Ancient Eight rival Columbia this weekend, the first official home meet for Yale.
“Regarding the pool, it is a bit of an advantage since we practice there every day,” Wujciak said. “Most teams don’t like it, but the Exhibition Pool is such a special place. However, our largest advantage would be having a lot of students come cheer for us on Friday. We only have three home meets this year, and Columbia will be an exciting one.”
The diving teams did not have official competition, as SCSU had no female divers to compete against the Yale team and the men’s diving events were only exhibitions. As such, the divers’ scores could not contribute to Yale’s point totals.
The Elis take on the Lions on Saturday, Nov. 15. The men’s competitions will start at 2 p.m.. while the women divers will start their events at 4 p.m. The swimmers will follow at 5 p.m.