After a strong showing in the regular season, in which the Yale men’s swimming and diving team lost only one dual meet, the Bulldogs will face their toughest challenge yet as they head into the Ivy League Championships this weekend.

The Elis are currently tied for second in the conference at 5–2 with Columbia and Princeton. While Yale beat Columbia early in the season for its first Ancient Eight victory, the Bulldogs lost to Princeton at the annual HYP meet earlier in the month.

The Bulldogs have won 15 Championships in the school’s history, the last coming in 1993. Since then, either Harvard or Princeton has won every year. On the individual side, Robby Harder ’15 holds multiple records from previous Ivy League Championships. Harder is currently fourth and 12th all-time in the Ivy League for the 500-yard freestyle, and he also holds the eighth-best record in the 1,000-yard freestyle.

During last year’s competition, Brian Hogan ’16 set a meet record in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 8:52.88. Hogan holds the 10th–best championship record in the 1,650-yard freestyle, which he swam in last year’s event. In addition, several of the athletes made the NCAA tournament time cutoffs for their respective events, including Kevin Stang ’16, Mike Lazris ’15, captain Andrew Heymann ’15, Harder and many younger swimmers.

Kei Hyogo ’18 has set blazing paces in the pool in the 1,000-yard and 500–yard freestyle. In November, Hyogo recorded the second-fastest 1,000-yard time in the nation for this season.

For the divers, James McNelis ’16 has been at the head of the pack, placing sixth in the one-meter and three-meter dives at the HYP meet nearly a month ago.

The upperclassmen who have competed at the Ivy League Championships know the intensity of the meet and are preparing the freshmen for the energy that will be in the pool.

“Ivies is a fun, exciting meet,” Stang said. “The preliminaries-finals format adds an extra boost of energy unlike [single] session meets.”

According to Stang, other meets during the season have a “one-and-done” rule in which the swimmers do not have to qualify in a preliminary round, and they instead just swim one race for the best possible time.

The swimmers and divers know that mental toughness will be one of the keys to having a successful meet. Derek Kao ’18 added that the main focus would be staying calm and mentally prepared for the competition that lies ahead.

Both Aaron Greenberg ’17 and Jonathan Rutter ’18 added that their entire season has come down to this final meet, and that all of their hard work would lead up to this weekend.

“From pre-season to our last taper practice, we’ve been working hard and preparing for this meet,” Stang said. “I have no doubt that Yale men’s swimming and diving is going to make some noise this weekend.”

Preliminary competition begins today at 11 a.m. at DeNunzio Pool in Princeton, New Jersey and will continue until Saturday, Feb. 28.