Yale Athletics

The Yale women’s swimming and diving team traveled to New York City last Friday looking for its 17th straight win in an Ivy dual meet. Columbia provided little resistance, as the Bulldogs defeated the Lions, in a 188–111 road victory.

Following the Elis’ lopsided victory over Brown a week ago, the Bulldogs faced slightly stiffer competition from the Lions, but a number of consummate displays, including four podium sweeps guided Yale to a dominant victory. This meet was the Elis’ first competitive clash away from home, conditions the team will have to acclimate to in preparation for the Ohio State Invitational, which begins later this week. There, the team will face world-class competitors like No. 1 Stanford’s Katie Ledecky, who won four gold medals at the last Olympics.

“Both Columbia and Brown are great competitors,” Cha O’Leary ’20 said. “It is always different swimming away from home, and I love our racing pool, but I think traveling creates a new and exciting atmosphere, especially in the city. I don’t think it affected our rhythm. Everybody stepped up to the plate, and we had some great races.”

O’Leary herself was one of the key performers during the meet. She began the day as a member of the 200-yard medley relay, which lost to the Lions by only a hundredth of a second, 1:43.74 to 1:43.75. In the 100-yard breaststroke, she did not allow Columbia to get close and finished more than a second faster than Columbia’s Jessica Antiles. Continuing her dominance, O’Leary led a trio of Yale swimmers to top three in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Meanwhile in distance swimming, Cailley Silbert ’19 and Nathalie Eid ’21 again led the pack. They copied and pasted their one-two finish against Brown in the 1,w000-yard freestyle. Although, Silbert’s time dropped slightly, Eid improved her time by almost two seconds. Later in the meet, Eid swam a brisk 500-yard freestyle and set a team-best time of 4:57.95 in another race in which Yale filled the podium.

Columbia flexed its muscle in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke. Only valiant performances from Sophie Fontaine ’20 and Heidi Vanderwel ’18 prevented the Lions from monopolizing the points in those events.

After these back-to-back results gave the momentum to Columbia in the middle of the meet, Yale came storming back. The Bulldogs rattled off five consecutive victories in the ensuing races to re-establish their position as leaders. O’Leary started off this streak, and Charlotte Hylinski ’21 carried it on in the 200-yard butterfly.

In this race, Hylinski won her first collegiate event in what would become a break-out meet for the first year. Later, in the meet she took first place in the 100-yard butterfly after shaving 0.92 seconds off her time from the Brown meet and rising above teammate Maddy Zimmerman ’18.

“It was really exciting to win my two events,” Hylinski said. “The team is so incredibly supportive, encouraging and fun. It’s been easy to settle into such a great group who genuinely like spending time together and want to see everyone succeed.”

Bella Hindley ’19 and Claire O’Mara ’21 controlled proceedings in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, while Nikki Watters ’21 and Hannah Walsh ’19 held down the fort in both diving events and fended off Columbia’s attempts to pry away either of the top two spots.

Having completed the early-season, Ivy League contingent of their schedule, the Elis turn to Ohio to see where they lie in comparison to some of the nation’s top schools at the Ohio State Invitational.

This meet features a number of ranked teams, including No. 1 Stanford, No. 17 Kentucky, No. 18 Notre Dame and host No. 23 Ohio State. Yale will leave for Ohio on Wednesday and the meet will begin on Friday.

Caleb Rhodes | caleb.rhodes@yale.edu