The Yale men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams continued their Ivy League success this weekend with a pair of wins at Columbia, marking the second season in which Eli squads began their conference seasons 2–0.
The dominant performances Friday and Saturday featured 13 first-place finishes for the women and 10 for the men out of 16 events in each meet. The Eli women more than doubled Columbia’s score with a 197–98 victory on Friday, and the men similarly brought home a decisive 190–110 win on Saturday.
“Our momentum continued in the Columbia meet with a solid performance from the divers and the swimmers,” diver Lilybet MacRae ’17 said. “In the past few years, Columbia has been one of our tougher competitors, but this year we beat them pretty significantly.”
The women’s meet began with 3-meter diving, where Yale’s women swept the boards: MacRae took first with a score of 319.28, Hannah Walsh ’19 placed second and Kelly Sherman ’16 locked up third place.
MacRae’s performance constituted yet another pool record for the junior diver, who already had the pool record for the 1-meter event from her freshman year.
“I’m surprised that I was able to break the pool record, because one of my six dives didn’t go well,” MacRae said. “This dive, my back 2 1/2, is currently my weakest dive, and it’s an area I’m trying to focus on and improve throughout the season. Besides that, I’m really happy.”
The swimmers opened up strong with the 200-yard medley relay, in which Yale’s A and B squads were able to take first and third. The Elis claimed first place in five of the next six swimming events, starting with a sweep in the 1000-yard freestyle. The 1-2-3 finishes of Eva Fabian ’16, Cailley Silbert ’18 and captain Emma Smith ’16 earned the Bulldogs 16 points.
Yale’s freshmen had notable showings in the next few events. In the 200-yard freestyle, Bella Hindley ’19 and Carrie Heilbrun ’19 found first and third, respectively, and in the 100-yard backstroke, Jacquelyn Du ’19 brought home the gold.
In the 100-yard breaststroke — the sixth event of the meet — Columbia swimmer Jennifer Shahar grabbed the Lions’ first win, out-touching Paulina Kaminski ’18 by just 0.17 seconds. The meet continued a rivalry of sorts for the two swimmers, as Shahar edged out Kaminski by just 0.09 seconds in last year’s Yale-Columbia meet.
“[Shahar] is a really good competitor, and she had a really good race,” Kaminski said. “I’m glad I got to compete against her early on in the season because it’s a great lead-up to [the Ivy League Championship Meet] to see how everyone else is doing. I’m excited to race her again.”
The Bulldogs claimed the next two events with 1-2-3 and 1-3 finishes in the 200-yard butterfly and 50-yard freestyle, respectively. Midway through the meet, the divers again took to the boards, 1-meter this time, and once again MacRae came out on top. Her comfortable first-place finish was followed by Olivia Grinker ’16 in second and Walsh again claiming a spot in the top three. Sherman’s score placed her in fourth, but her score was counted as exhibition because of the maximum of three divers allowed per team.
“[Walsh] had a really great performance,” MacRae said. “Her improvement throughout the season is already noticeable, and she has a lot of potential to do really well in the upcoming meets. She learned a new dive last week that she did at Columbia, the back 2 1/2 pike, which has really high [degree of difficulty], so it was exciting to see her try it in the meet.”
The swimmers then came out ready to finish off the victory — the rout was so severe that, like last week, the Elis’ times in the last two events were not counted because Yale had already clinched the victory.
Yale proceeded to win five straight events: Hindley in the 100-yard freestyle, Du in the 200-yard backstroke, Kaminski in the 200-yard breaststroke, Fabian in the 500-yard freestyle and Maddy Zimmerman ’18 in the 100-yard butterfly.
On Saturday, the men started off with the 3-meter diving event, where Wayne Zhang ’18, a staff reporter for the News, and James McNelis ’16 secured second and third with scores of 295.20 and 292.50, respectively.
The Yale swimmers missed out on a first-place finish in their first event — the 200-yard medley relay — by just 0.07 seconds, but were able to secure second and third.
The Bulldogs were able to push back after the early loss and claim first in the next five events, many of which featured close finishes.
Kei Hyogo ’18 and captain Brian Hogan ’16 were able to replicate their strong performances from last week in the 1000-yard freestyle, clinching first and second, respectively. Scott Bole ’19 kept up the heat by placing first in the 200-yard freestyle event, where fellow freshman Adrian Lin ’19 claimed third.
“We had to focus on our individual swims,” Hogan said. “We won the next couple of events, and that gave us a lot of momentum.”
A notable performance came next in the 100-yard backstroke, with a 1-2-3 finish for Yale. Shawn Nee’s ’18 49.16 finish earned the sophomore a pool record at the Uris Pool, breaking an Ivy record previously held by David Jakl.
Other wins for the Bulldogs included that of Derek Kao ’18 in the 100-yard breaststroke and Hyogo’s 200-yard butterfly.
The men missed out on a first-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle, the final event before the diving break. After the first half of the meet, the Elis held a 93–57 lead.
In the 1-meter event, McNelis and Anthony Mercadante ’17 claimed second and third.
Following the break, the Bulldogs earned five wins in the next seven events. Victor Zhang ’16 and Oscar Miao ’17 found the podium in the 100-yard freestyle, and Nee was able to claim another backstroke event, the 200 this time, for his third first-place finish of the day. Jonathan Rutter ’18 and Kao clinched the 200-yard breaststroke, and Hyogo and Hogan once again found themselves with close finishes in the distance swimming — Hyogo out-touched Hogan by just under a second in the 500-yard freestyle.
With the meet’s winner already decided, the Elis missed out on first-place finishes in the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard individual medley, but were able to come back and claim the 400-yard freestyle relay to finish the day.
The Bulldogs will take a 15-hour bus ride to North Carolina to compete in the Nike Invitational in Chapel Hill at the end of this week.