The Yale men’s swimming and diving team had consistent performances this past weekend in Rhode Island, maintaining a fourth-place position after each of the three days in the 2016 Ivy League Championship Meet.
The Bulldogs kept up their streak with a sixth consecutive season finishing in the top four of the Ivy League, with a final score of 836. Princeton came from behind on day three of the meet to knock Harvard out of first, and Penn took third place for the second time in three years.
“It was definitely a struggle for our team,” swimmer Derek Kao ’18 said. “We had only about half our guys swimming well. We just weren’t hitting the right stride and had to defend our fourth place. The team came together on the last day though, and we ended on a good note.”
The Elis’ most notable performances overall were in distance events, the first of which was the 500-yard freestyle on Thursday. Kei Hyogo ’18 and Brian Hogan ’16 took second and third place, with Hyogo’s performance beating his own personal best as well as the previous pool and Yale records.
The depth of Yale’s squad in the event allowed the Bulldogs to rack up some extra points in the 500 free. With 10th-, 14th-, 15th- and 22nd-place finishes, Adrian Lin ’19, Scott Bole ’19, Josh Ginsborg ’16 and Ben Lerude ’17 put 45 on the board for the Bulldogs.
“There were several tough swims interspersed with a few really exciting swims,” Jonathan Rutter ’18 said.
On Friday, the 1,000-yard freestyle had two Bulldogs in the top heat of eight swimmers. Hogan and Lerude took second and seventh, respectively, and Ginsborg and Dirk Bell ’18 placed 21st and 26th.
The Bulldogs came out strong again in the 1,650-yard event on Saturday. The mile swim featured Hyogo and Hogan taking two spots in the top three, falling behind Penn’s Chris Swanson, who captured the title in all three distance events. Hyogo’s time of 14:45.21 secured him an automatic qualifying time for the NCAA Championship meet.
“As for the distance guys, I think we did a great job of maintaining our reputation as a dominant force in the league, landing multiple swimmers in the top eight,” Hyogo said. “I was personally very pleased with my performance … I’m excited to see how high I’ll be able to place against some of the nation’s best swimmers three weeks from now.”
Yale’s performance in the 800-yard freestyle relay was the Bulldogs’ saving grace on Friday night. Yale’s third-place finish in that event brought the team back into fourth place after some less-than-stellar performances. Over the first two days of competition, the Elis took eighth place in all three relays before the 800, making the top-three finish an encouraging way to cap off the day.
In the last relay, the Bulldogs fell back to the latter half of the Ivy League, earning sixth. Over the 16 individual events throughout the meet, Yale was shut out of the top heat in 10 of them, including both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving.
“I think the team did a great job of staying strong throughout the whole meet, despite the multiple ups and downs during the three-day period,” Hyogo said.
The Bulldogs are now finished with team competition, and team members who qualify will participating in the NCAA Championship Meet on March 24–26.