Miranda Escobar

The Yale men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams each emerged victorious in their Ivy League openers this past Saturday at Yale’s Kiphuth Exhibition Pool. A sound 403–192 defeat of Brown — the men won 211–89 while the women won 192–103 — displayed the wealth of returning talent and showcased a promising freshman class as Yale swept its opening weekend for the second year in a row.

The Bulldogs took almost every event of the meet, claiming 14 of the 16 events on the men’s side while the women were victorious in 14 of 17.

“We’re really excited about where we are right now at this point in the season,” swimmer Paulina Kaminski ’18 said. “It was our first meet and we’re feeling pretty good about the outlook for the rest of the season. We did well last year but we’re looking for steady improvements going forward so we can do well in Ivies.”

The meet opened up with a pair of diving events, starting with the women’s 3-meter and men’s 1-meter dives. The Yale divers started off strong with a 1-2-3 finish for the women, where Lilybet MacRae ’17 took first place, McKenna Tennant ’18 followed in second and Olivia Loucks ’17 rounded off the trio.

MacRae’s first-place finish of 312.01 was six points higher than her performance in last year’s Ivy opener against Columbia. The victory is another impressive accomplishment in the third-year diver’s career. MacRae already holds the pool records at Yale for both the 3-meter and 1-meter at 344 and 320 points, respectively.

“I think it was a great start to the year and is going to give our team a lot of positive momentum moving into our next meet,” MacRae said. “I dove better than I expected for the first meet. I’m excited because it was a stronger start than the previous two years and this is a promising start to the season leading up to the Ivy championships and to NCAA zones which I qualified for on Saturday.”

The swimming portion of the schedule began with the 200-yard medley relay, where the Bulldogs’ A and B teams clinched first and third place for both the men and the women. The relay race demonstrated a balanced distribution across class years, as six freshmen, five sophomores, three juniors and two seniors teamed up for the Yale victories.

Following the medley, the distance swimming began with the 1000-yard freestyle. Eva Fabian ’16 and Cailley Silbert ’18 finished in first and second with a 0.22 second margin between their touches, and over 16 seconds faster than any other competitor. The duo’s finishing order was reversed but their finishes were even closer for the 500-yard freestyle later in the day, with a 0.17 second split.

A parallel story of senior and sophomore pushing each other took place in the men’s events. Brian Hogan ’16 and Kei Hyogo ’18 finished first and second, respectively, in the 1000-yard freestyle with a 0.29 second difference between their times, and Hyogo later edged out Hogan in the 500-yard freestyle by 0.12 seconds.

“Kei has come in and he’s a huge factor on the team,” Kaminski said of the sophomore swimmer. “[Hyogo and Hogan] are really good training partners. He’s really influenced the distance program, he made NCAAs and he’s looking to get top-eight [at NCAAs] this year.”

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Newcomer Scott Bole ’19 came out strong in the 200-yard freestyle, following up a strong performance on the winning team in the opening relay. He later took the 100-yard butterfly and contributed to the Elis’ victory in the 400-yard relay that closed out the day’s competition. Bole’s performance was one of several freshman efforts that contributed to the wins on Saturday.

In the 200-yard butterfly and the 50-yard freestyle events, Carrie Heilbrun ’19, Bella Hindley ’19 and Cassidy Richards ’19 all picked up points for the Bulldogs.

The men and women earned victories in all of the first 10 events of the day, until the women nearly got shut out of a podium finish in the 100-yard breaststroke. Kaminski managed to come back during the event to snag a third-place result and earn the Bulldogs three points.

“After the first 50, I was behind and after that turn I knew I had to have a really big second 50 and a good comeback,” Kaminski said. “I brought it home and hoped for the best and it came out pretty well.”

Kaminski came out even stronger in the 200-yard breaststroke, finishing nearly three seconds ahead of second place in what she described as her “favorite event.”

In the men’s 200-yard breaststroke, Jonathan Rutter ’18 and Derek Kao ’18 finished with only 0.30 seconds between their touches.

Midway through the meet, the divers returned to the deck and switched boards. With the women at the 1-meter height, MacRae again took home first with a score of 316.57. Hannah Walsh ’19 claimed second place while Tennant finished in third.

“It was a great way to kick off the season,” Walsh said. “Having our first Ivy meet at home was nice because it was so familiar.”

For the men’s 3-meter dive, James McNelis ’16 came in first and Wayne Zhang ’18 earned the Elis another two points thanks to his fourth-place finish.

When swimming resumed, both the Bulldog men and women continued to earn first-place finishes, with notable 200-yard backstroke performances from both teams. Both the men and women swept the top three positions in the event, with the men led by Shawn Nee ’18, Kevin Stang ’16 and Ed Stolarski ’19 while the women were carried by Michelle Chintanaphol ’17, Olivia Jameson ’17 and Lilla Felix ’19.

While Brown’s women earned two victories in the final events of the day, it was because Yale had already clinched the meet and the Elis’ times were thus considered exhibition times and did not count toward the official scoring.

The swimming and diving teams will take to the road for their next meet against Columbia. The women will compete on Friday while the men will take to the pool on Saturday for another Ivy meeting.

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