For the final time this year, members of the Yale men’s swimming team splashed into the pool, competing in the 2015 NCAA National Championships in Iowa City. Brian Hogan ’16, Rob Harder ’15 and Kei Hyogo ’18 were the only members of the men’s team to qualify for the meet.
Hogan and Hyogo were the first to compete, taking on the 500-yard freestyle preliminaries on day one. Hogan tied for 32nd while Hyogo took 42nd. The event was Hyogo’s first race at the NCAA Championships and Hogan’s fourth, as Hogan swam in three events at the 2014 races. Hogan’s time for the event was 4:19.85, which was 0.35 seconds faster than his time for the same race last year. Neither swimmer placed high enough to make it to the finals, as only the top 16 swimmers move on.
On day two, all three of the Bulldogs swam. Hyogo took on the 400-yard IM and placed 32nd out of a field of 35 with a time of 3:49.09, roughly five seconds behind the qualifying time for finals. While the results kept him out of the finals, Hyogo was the only Ivy League swimmer to qualify for the event at all.
Harder and Hogan swam the 200-yard freestyle later in the day. Harder finished 40th, less than two seconds behind Eric Schultz of Penn, the only other Ivy League swimmer in the event. Unfortunately, Hogan’s time of 1:37.07 was scratched, as he had a false start. The time would have put him in 38th place. Last year, Hogan swam the event in 1:36.97.
All three swimmers swam their final races of the year on day three, with Harder competing in the final event of his Yale career. He competed in the 200-yard backstroke and placed 39th overall. He and Jack Manchester of Harvard were yet again the only Ivy League swimmers in the event. Harder’s time of 1:44.30 was only 0.42 seconds slower than his career best time, while Manchester finished with a time of 1:41.64, 0.2 seconds slower than the time that put him in the Ivy League Championship record books weeks ago.
Hyogo was the star of the day when he finished in 15th place in the 1,650-yard freestyle. His efforts put Yale on the board, giving the Elis two points for the overall team rankings. Hogan finished 26th in the event, rounding out his second year at the NCAA meet. Last year, Hogan took 18th with a time of 14:56.99, nearly five seconds faster than his time for this year’s event.
Yale had four swimmers qualify for the NCAA tournament, including Maddy Zimmerman ’18 from the women’s team. One of only two Ancient Eight women to qualify for the championships, Zimmerman finished 36th in the 100-yard butterfly.
Other notable performances came from the five Yale divers who competed in their respective zone competitions. McKenna Tennant ’18, Lilybet MacRae ’17, Kelly Sherman ’16 and Olivia Grinker ’16 all competed for the women in Buffalo, New York, while James McNelis ’16 led the way for the men in Piscataway, New Jersey. Wayne Zhang ’18, a staff reporter for YTV, also qualified but could not compete.
Zhang said he sprained his ankle the night before the competition began, making him unable to perform as diving relies heavily on the lower half of his body.
While none of the divers advanced to the championship rounds, the high number of divers who qualified for NCAA Zone competition this year gives reason to the Bulldogs for being optimistic about the future.
“The dedication of the divers who qualified is tremendous and is motivating for the others on the team,” Grinker said. “As a junior, I hope to qualify, and for NCAAs to be my last meet [next year].”
The Elis had several individual highlights throughout the year and the announcement of the all-Ivy teams brought these accomplishments to the attention of the rest of the Ivy League. Eva Fabian ’16, Pauline Kaminski ’18 and Zimmerman were all selected for the first team individual events, while the 200-medley and 400-medley relay teams of Heidi VanderWel ’18, Kina Zhou ’17, Kaminski and Zimmerman were also selected. Second team all-Ivy included Zhou, Cailley Silbert ’18, Sydney Hirshi ’17 and MacRae, as well as the 200-free relay team and the 800-free relay team.
“As a team, we performed very well at Ivies, and hopefully we can qualify even more people for NCAAs next year,” Zimmerman said.
For the men, Harder received the Harold Ulen Career High Point Swimmer Award and was the only Yale swimmer to make first team. Hogan and Hyogo were both selected for second team, along with the 800-free relay team of Hogan, Harder, Hyogo and Jonathan Rutter ’18.