After a historic season in which the Yale women’s swimming and diving team was undefeated in conference competition, the Bulldogs fell short of Harvard in the Ivy League Championship Meet this weekend, claiming second place at the event for the first time in 19 years.
Winning 11 of the meet’s 21 events, including all five relays, Yale more than doubled the Crimson’s total of five first-place finishes. Despite many records broken and awards received, the Bulldogs were unable to rack up enough points in the lower heats to win. While Yale’s dominant individual performers led the Bulldogs to perfection in dual meets, in which 51 percent of points go to first-place finishers, the depth of Harvard’s squad won out at the championships, in which just 11 percent of points go to winners and the top 24 performers in each individual event score points. In total, Harvard scored 1500.5 points, while Yale scored 1422.5, 78 points behind the Crimson and 11 points ahead of third-place Princeton’s 1411.5.
“We are very pleased with our performance at Ivies this year,” captain Emma Smith ’16 said. “Getting second place is another huge step in the right direction — we are continuing the trajectory of improvement that we have had over the past four seasons.”
The Bulldogs were able to come away with numerous achievements at Ivies despite missing out on the meet’s most important trophy. Distance swimmer Eva Fabian ’16 was recognized as the Career High Point Swimmer after earning 345 points over her four Ivy Championship appearances. Diver Lilybet MacRae ’17, with her total of 56 points in the 1- and 3-meter diving performances, earned the Rick Gilbert High Point Diver of the Meet award.
Perhaps the most impressive individual performance came from Bella Hindley ’19, who earned the High Point Swimmer of the Meet award by coming away with victories in three individual swims and four relays. Her 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyle swims netted Yale 32 points each, with her 96–point tally making her the most successful individual swimmer at Ivies.
“Overall I’m happy with how I swam this weekend,” Hindley said. “Obviously it felt pretty great winning the High Point this weekend, and to have all the hard work we put in day-in day-out recognized. I am pleased with my performances but I know that I still have a lot to work on.”
Hindley also featured in four of the five relay events. The 200-yard freestyle relay had her coming off the board first, but she anchored the 200-yard medley relay and the 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays.
Yale’s win in the 400-yard medley rounded out the relays for the meet. These five relay wins each racked up an important 64 points for Yale, with four of those performances proving to be record-breaking in some way.
The Bulldogs’ 200-yard freestyle relay team set a school record, and their 800-yard freestyle relay team set a meet record. In the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard free relay, Yale was even more successful, shattering the meet, pool and Ivy League records in both of those events.
“Winning the relays with meet and pool records was something I will never forget, as being able to share those moments with your teammates makes it so much better,” Hindley said. “Also, [it is special] because I could not have done any of this without them pushing me in practice and inspiring me every day.”
MacRae’s second-place finishes in the diving events earned Yale additional much-needed points, but Harvard’s depth shined through. The 1-meter diving event had five Harvard divers in the top eight finishes, all earning over 20 points. MacRae’s 325.35 points in the 3-meter event, in tandem with the fourth-place finish of Talbott Paulsen ’19, snagged another 54 points for Yale, but with six Harvard divers earning a total of 153 points in the penultimate event, the fate of the meet was sealed.
“The energy at Ivies was unlike any meet this season,” MacRae said. “The team did really well and I’m so proud to have contributed to the team’s points.”
The Bulldogs now take a break until NCAA competition in March.