For the first time since 2008, the Yale men’s swimming and diving team finished in the top three in the Ivy League Championships last weekend. The Bulldogs finished in third place, behind Princeton and Harvard, who took first and second, respectively.
Many of the Elis broke records during the meet, posting some of their best performances of the season and racking up 1,162.5 points by the end of the final day, their highest point total in the event since 2009, when Yale neared its 2015 mark with a total of 1033.5 points.
“One thing that [head coach] Tim [Wise] said after Ivies that really struck me is that while getting third was our goal, it is not our end goal,” said Wayne Zhang ’18, a staff reporter for YTV. “Our hard work paid off this weekend, and we’re going to continue to work hard so that we can eventually do even better.”
The meet began on Thursday with the 200-yard freestyle relay. The Eli team of Aaron Greenberg ’17, Victor Zhang ’16, Andrew Heymann ’15 and Oscar Miao ’16 took fourth. Brian Hogan ’16 brought home the first top-three finish for the Bulldogs on Thursday, placing third in the 500-yard freestyle and qualifying for the NCAA “B” time cuts. Kei Hyogo ’18 finished only 0.08 seconds behind Hogan to take fourth and also qualify for the “B” cuts, while Rob Harder ’15 took fifth and qualified as well. Their back-to-back-to-back finishes brought in 78 points for Yale.
Additionally, Heymann brought in valuable points for the Bulldogs by placing seventh in the 200-yard IM and qualifying for the event’s “B” cuts. In the incredibly close 50-yard freestyle, Greenberg placed third, less than half a second behind the first- and second-place finishers.
On the diving side, James McNelis ’16 was the top scorer for Yale, taking 13th in the one-meter dive and tallying 14 points. The final event of the day — the 400-yard medley relay — finished with the Elis in fourth again. At the end of the day, the team was in third place with 326 points.
Day two began with the 200-yard medley relay, in which the Elis fell to all the other squads save Dartmouth, who was disqualified. Hogan and Ben Lerude ’17 changed the tempo quickly, placing second and fifth in the 1,000-yard freestyle. Hogan broke the meet record for the event last season, but Chris Swanson of Penn managed to break Hogan’s record, as well as the Ivy record with a time of 8:49.55. Hogan’s time of 8:54.32 last year broke the previous pool record set in 2012.
Swanson was the only individual swimmer to qualify for NCAA “A” cuts at the meet. The Princeton 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay also qualified for “A” cuts, as did divers from Columbia, Princeton and Harvard.
Hyogo continued to bring in points by taking fourth in the 400-yard IM and qualifying for “B” cuts. Mike Lazris ’15 followed up with a seventh-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly, bringing in 23 points for Yale’s total. Harder led the way for Yale with a close finish in the 200-yard freestyle, placing third, while Ronald Tsui ’15 placed sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke. Both swimmers qualified for “B” cuts. Meanwhile, Alex Schultz ’17 brought in 23 points with a seventh-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke.
The 800-yard freestyle relay marked the end of the day, and the Elis finished with a stellar performance. The team of Hogan, Harder, Jonathan Rutter ’18 and Hyogo finished second, just one second behind Princeton.
On day three, the Bulldogs were, at the minimum, looking to maintain their third-place standing, as Penn was fewer than 100 points behind them. Yale enjoyed favorable odds from the start, when Hyogo, Hogan and Lerude combined for a two-three-five finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Hyogo and Hogan’s times both beat the previous meet record of 14:53.75. Harder brought in Yale’s first victory of the meet, winning the 200-yard backstroke and bringing in 32 points. Greenberg showed a solid performance in the 100-yard freestyle, placing seventh with Zhang behind him in ninth. Rutter took sixth in the 200-yard breaststroke, the highest placement for Yale in the event.
The three-meter dive saw Zhang placing 15th overall with a diving score of 268.25 points. The final event of the day was the 400-yard freestyle relay and Greenberg, Zhang, Alwin Firmansyah ’15 and Harder combined for a third-place finish, sealing Yale’s overall placement in the standings. In addition to the third-place finish overall, multiple swimmers broke personal, pool and meet records.
“A couple of people had some incredible swims, and we even had multiple swimmers in the same event breaking records,” Lerude said. “There were records broken in a lot of strokes and from people in every class, so it shows how deep the team is getting in a lot of areas.”
Many of the record breakers were younger swimmers, giving the team a bright outlook for the future.
Several swimmers also noted their anticipation for next year, when they will look to improve on this season’s performance.
“We as a team took things differently this season,” Greenberg said. “From the start of unofficial captain’s practices, we have been working at a much more intense level than last year.”
NCAA Zone Diving begins this weekend in Piscataway, New Jersey for any divers who qualify. The NCAA Championships will begin in Iowa City, Iowa on March 26.