Last season, the Yale men’s swimming and diving team opened its season with a 55-point win over Brown. Hosting the Bears to start 2017-18, the Bulldogs cruised to a 211–89 victory, a promising start for a Yale team with high expectations.
With the win, the Elis notched their seventh consecutive season-opening victory. The Bulldogs won all but one event on Saturday, including top-three sweeps in the 100-yard backstroke, the 200-yard individual medley and the three-meter diving.
“In every single event, people stepped up to race no matter where in the pool they were,” said Jonathan Rutter ’18, who placed first in three events on Saturday. “That’s why we didn’t just win most of the events, but we also took so many second- and third-place finishes.”
Yale’s A relay — comprised of Ed Stolarski ’19, Tim Dorje Wu ’21, Kei Hyogo ’18 and Aaron Greenberg ’18 — started the meet strong with a first-place time of 1:30.47 in the 200-yard medley relay. The seniors Hyogo and Greenberg both return for their final seasons after qualifying for 2017 NCAA Division I National Championships last March.
Hyogo went on to take an early lead in the 1,000-yard freestyle event, topping all opponents with a time of 9:20.65. Finishing 17 seconds behind Hyogo, Patrick Frith ’21 fought hard to edge out his Brown opponent for the runner-up spot. After falling behind for most of the race, Frith overtook the Bears’ top racer in the final 50 yards to claim the second-place spot.
“Although I planned on coming home hard, I really wouldn’t have been able to pick up my tempo and effort levels as much if not for the team,” Frith said. “Having such a great environment at the meet and such a supportive and loud team definitely pushed me the extra bit I needed to out-touch the guy next to me.”
The Elis continued to dominate in the freestyle events. In the 500-yard freestyle, Hyogo led the race with a time of 4:26.11, the 17th fastest time in the nation for that event so far this season. In the 200-yard freestyle, Rutter gained an early lead and carried it through to win the event with a time of 1:38.97. Greenberg brought home both the sprint freestyle events, winning the 50-yard race with a time of 20.07, which was also the 17th fastest time in the nation for that event.
Yale’s first sweep of the meet came in the 100-yard backstroke, when Shawn Nee ’18 led the Bulldogs with a time of 49.61 and Stolarski touched second just 0.75 seconds behind. Tyler Harmon ’21 closed out the clean sweep with a third-place finish of 51.42. Nee then battled tighter competition in the 200-yard backstroke. After maintaining a runner-up position for the first 150 yards, Nee bested his opponents by less than a tenth of a second in an exhilarating finale to the race.
“That race was incredible, and I still can’t believe that I managed to pull it off,” Nee said. “I knew that my competition had built a big lead from the start, but I raced my own race and executed the race plan I had gone over with my coaches … I wasn’t going to go down without a fight.”
In the breastroke and butterfly events, Brown swimmers held early leads, but the Bulldogs surged late to capture three of those four races.
Rookies carried Yale to its second sweep of the meet during the diving event. The Bulldogs swept the three-meter, with first years Christian DeVol ’21 and Timothy Luz ’21 finishing first and second place, respectively, and Christopher LaBella ’20 rounding out the sweep in third place.
“Sweeping the three-meter event was a huge success for us,” DeVol said. “We were able to sweep the event in our scrimmage two weeks ago against Army, but being able to do it against Brown as well was much more rewarding.”
Yale followed with another sweep of the 200-yard individual medley. Rutter led the Bulldogs with a time of 1:51.71, with Tristan Furnary ’20 and Jonathan Liao ’20 finishing second and third, respectively.
In an exciting finale, Yale’s A relay — comprised of Henry Gaissert ’20, Max Bottene ’20, Hyogo and Greenberg — were neck-and-neck with the top Brown relay until the third leg of the race, when Hyogo surged forward to take the lead. Greenberg then held on for Yale’s 15th win of the 16-event meet.
“We had a lot of really good swims on Saturday,” team captain Dirk Bell ’18 said. “I was impressed with how tough everyone was. We had a lot of close finishes but we managed to win almost every race. This [Saturday] will be a lot closer of a meet, but if we’re tough and have fun, I think we’ll come out on top.”
Following their season-opening win, the Bulldogs travel to New York to take on Columbia this Saturday at 1 p.m.
Selena Cho | firstname.lastname@example.org