Courtesy of Yale Athletics
For the second consecutive season, the Yale women’s swimming and diving team dismantled its two greatest rivals in the Ivy League, Harvard and Princeton, cementing an undefeated record in regular season dual meets.
In the two-day affair, the Bulldogs lived up to theiradvantage on paper, crushing both the Crimson and the Tigers 223.50–76.50 and 230–70, respectively. The Bulldogs reigned supreme both in between the lanes and on the diving board, cruising to 16 first-place finishes, nine second-place finishes and one clean podium sweep in the 16 events. The Elis’ dominating performance against the other two top competitors in the Ancient Eight established Yale as the clear favorite headed into the Ivy League Championship.
“This meet had more energy than I have ever experienced at a swim meet,” Cha O’Leary ’20 said. “Going into this weekend, everyone was so excited and ready to race, and it really reflected in the results. Everyone competed extremely well, and it was an incredible meet all around. It was also a good indicator of how good our energy will be at Ivies, so we are all excited for what’s to come.”
The first day of the competition saw the Elis flex their muscles early and often. Divers Lilybet MacRae ’17 and McKenna Tennant ’18 set the tone, as MacRae grabbed a gold medal in the 3-meter with a score of 322.20, while Tennant posted a score of 284.55, good for third place.
The swimmers took it from there. Yale posted seven consecutive first-place finishes to close out the day, virtually guaranteeing them first place in the meet. The team of Jacquelyn Du ’19, O’Leary, Maddy Zimmerman ’18 and Bella Hindley ’19 bested the closest competitor, another Yale squad, by more than two seconds in the 200-yard medley relay, followed by a podium sweep in the 1000-yard freestyle from Danielle Liu’ 18, Cailley Silbert ’18 and Kendall Brent ’20.
Other first-day successes included impressive races from Du, O’Leary, Hindley, Kina Zhou ’17 and Isla Hutchinson-Maddox ’17, all of whom captured first in their respect races including the 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard butterfly and 50-yard freestyle.
The final day of the action was characterized by more of the same from the Bulldogs. The day began with the divers quickly seizing momentum again. In the 1-meter event, Talbott Paulsen ’19 won first registering a 302.35, besting the second-place finisher, MacRae, by 27.8 points. Over the past two seasons, MacRae has enjoyed great success at the HYP competition, posting three first places and a second place in four total events.
“Overall, I think that the divers did incredibly well this weekend,” Tennant said. “After the success of this meet, I’m very excited for Ivies coming up, especially because big meets like these really show the culmination of all of our hard work over the season. HYP and Ivies are definitely more mentally challenging meets, especially with the greater number of competitors and increased time of the meet itself. After the results of HYP, I am confident in the work we have been putting in and am hopeful to continue our success in the weeks to come.”
Following the dive portion, Zhou and Hindley then teamed up for a one-two finish in the 100-yard freestyle, Heidi Vanderwel ’18 captured first in the 200-yard backstroke and O’Leary claimed another gold in the 200-yard breaststroke.
Finally, the meet already firmly in hand, the Elis closed it out with yet four more first-place finishes: Liu in the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard IM, Lili Margitai ’20 in the 100-yard butterfly, and the team of Margitai, Hindley, Olivia Jameson ’17 and Zhou in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Impressive to note, all of Yale’s success and gold medals came without the presence of standout transfer Destiny Nelson ’19 in the pool.
With just over a week off before the Ivy League Championships, the Bulldogs enter practice with redemption on their minds. Despite last season’s victory in the HYP meet, Yale was unable to secure an Ivy League title, narrowly falling to Harvard. This year the Elis are motivated to achieve their season long goal of erasing Yale’s 19-year Ivy League drought.
“Winning against Harvard and Princeton in our home pool was an incredible experience,” Vanderwel said. “We made history this weekend, and I know it will mean a lot to us and the program to make history again at the Ivies. We’re going to go in there and give it our best shot.”
Yale resumes action Feb. 15 in Providence for day one of the Ivy League Championships.