Ken Yanagisawa

While temperatures dropped in New Haven, the Yale swimming and diving team enjoyed the Puerto Rican sun while kicking off the second half of the season with a win over Cornell.

Shortly after touching back down in the American mainland, both the men and women’s teams made their way to Philadelphia for a tri-meet with Penn and Dartmouth before hosting Penn State on the men’s side and Penn State and Rutgers on the women’s side this past weekend.

In addition to defeating Cornell, the women also beat Penn, Dartmouth and Rutgers, but suffered their first loss since the Nike Cup in November against Penn State. They also defeated LIU Brooklyn 197–51 in a swimmers-only meet at Kiphuth Exhibition Pool on Sunday. Meanwhile, the men followed up their victory over the Big Red with two wins against Dartmouth and Penn State, but lost to Penn in Philadelphia.

“We had an awesome winter break training trip and competition schedule,” swimmer Pauline Kaminski ’18 said. “All of these meets gave us a great feel for where we are as a team training-wise and we are getting really excited for our championship season coming up.”

In Puerto Rico, the Bulldog women started off strong with first- and second-place finishes in the first event of the day, the 200-meter medley relay.

They continued with strong finishes in the freestyle events, with Eva Fabian ’16 and Cailley Silbert ’18 grabbing first and second in the 800-meter event. In the 200-meter race, Danielle Liu ’18, Olivia Jameson ’17 and Kina Zhou ’17 took the 2–3–4 spots to rack up points for the Elis. Bella Hindley ’19 earned a first-place finish in the 50-meter freestyle to bolster Yale’s performance.

Hindley also captured the 100-meter freestyle, one of three 100-meter victories for the Elis. Carrie Heilbrun ’19 finished first in the butterfly while Kaminski won the breaststroke.

“It was a lot of the swimmers and older divers that I hadn’t had a chance to bond with, so it was really nice,” diver Hannah Walsh ’19 said of the trip to Puerto Rico. “It was a lot of work but it felt good getting the training done in such a beautiful place. I think that all of the training we’ve done in the past couple of weeks will really come through at [the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet] and Ivies. Everyone seems really committed which is a nice atmosphere to dive in.”

The Bulldogs swept the diving with 1–2–3 finishes in both the 3-meter and 1-meter events for the trio of Lilybet MacRae ’17, Talbott Paulsen ’19 and Kelly Sherman ’16.

Paulsen made her collegiate debut as she returned from injury, which prevented her from competing in the 2015 portion of the season.

“I don’t think it was our best meet,” Walsh said. “It was [Paulsen’s] first college meet and she did really well, so that was really impressive. Everyone was tired from all the training, both Cornell and us, but it was a good experience to have.”

The men fell to Cornell in both relay events, but made up the points in the individual races. Kei Hyogo ’18 won the 400- and 800-meter freestyle events, along with the 400-meter IM, and Scott Bole ’19 and Victor Zhang ’16 won the 200- and 100-meter freestyle events, respectively, to round off Yale’s sweep of the freestyle competitions.

As for the divers, James McNelis ’16 took second in the 1-meter diving event and Wayne Zhang ’18, a staff reporter for the News, won the 3-meter dive.

“Our meet in Puerto Rico was a fun break from the usual competitions we have in-season,” Kaminski said. “We got to race long course meters, instead of the typical short course yards, and it gave racing a fellow Ivy team a fun twist.”

The fourth and fifth Ivy meetings of the season came on Jan. 9 against Penn and Dartmouth. The women dominated the tri-meet 195–105 against Penn and 249–51 against Dartmouth. The men beat Dartmouth 215–85 but lost to Penn 122–178.

The women were able to win the 200-yard medley relay to kick off the meet, but lost the 400-yard freestyle relay later on by 1.08 seconds. The men took second place in both events.

Continuing their impressive seasons, Fabian and Silbert dominated the women’s distance events, taking first and second in both. Hyogo and men’s captain Brian Hogan ’16 took second and fourth, respectively, in the 1,000-meter freestyle, both behind Penn’s Chris Swanson, the Ivy League’s reigning champion in the event. Hyogo was able to claim the 500-meter event, however, besting Swanson by 1.30 seconds.

“All of these meets gave us a great feel for where we are as a team training-wise and we are getting really excited for our championship season coming up,” Kaminski said.

The Bulldog divers also had a good showing in Philadelphia, led by MacRae who claimed first place in the 1- and 3-meter events. In the former, Paulsen and Walsh took second and third, and in the latter Olivia Grinker ’16 and Sherman earned podium finishes. On the men’s side, McNelis claimed second place in the 1-meter, and Zhang and Anthony Mercadante ’17 took third and fourth in the 3-meter.

“They only allowed four divers to compete in each board, so everyone except [MacRae] and [Paulsen] could only compete on one board,” Walsh said. “It was an exciting meet, both swimming and diving, and beating Penn gave us a hopeful outlook for the rest of our season.”

The last home meet of the season took place this past weekend, with the women squaring off against Rutgers and Penn State, and the men facing just the Nittany Lions.

The women were able to break two pool records over the course of the two-day meet, in the 200-meter and 400-meter freestyle relay. MacRae took first in the 3-meter diving event and second in the 1-meter. The Elis’ only win in the individual swims came in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events. Although they failed to win in 14 of the 19 events, consistent finishes toward the top of the leaderboard helped push them ahead of Rutgers despite losing to Penn State.

“Competing against the Big 10 schools was a valuable experience, we got to see a lot of great swims and dives, and we’re really proud of [MacRae] for winning 3-meter,” Walsh said. “It was also nice to have the meet at home because it was familiar and there was a lot of energy on the deck [with] three teams.”

The men started off slow on Friday with only a fifth-place finish in the 1-meter dive, but pulled ahead of Penn State thanks to nine straight wins in the swimming events. Their 134–52 lead at the end of the day helped ensure victory on the second day of the meet. The Bulldogs clinched the meet just four swimming events into the day with the 200-meter backstroke. For the rest of the day, the Elis competed as exhibition swimmers due to the locked-up victory.

“I’m really excited for the rest of the season because our team has improved so much and we’re really going to show up at Ivies,” diver McKenna Tennant ’18 said. “Coming off of last year’s HYP meet, this year should be a lot more exciting.”

The Bulldogs will be competing in their final meet of the season before Ivies on Jan. 29 against Princeton and Harvard in New Jersey.