The Yale men’s swimming and diving team posted two school records at the Ohio State Invitational last weekend en route to a fifth-place finish out of nine teams, including three nationally ranked squads.
The Elis ventured into uncharted waters against the majority of their opponents. The Bulldogs had not competed against the other seven schools in recent years, with the exception of Penn State, which beat Yale in a close contest last season. The Elis finished the first day of the meet in fifth place. The second day saw the Bulldogs continue to post numerous team season bests and personal records. Nevertheless, after three grueling days of preliminaries beginning at 10 a.m. and finals beginning at 6 p.m., Yale wrapped up the invitational in the same position as the first day, finishing fifth with 293.5 points.
“The Ohio State [Invitational] is an awesome opportunity to race against some of the fastest swimmers in the country,” Adrian Lin ’19 said. “The tough competition brings out the best of our team. We love to compete.”
The men’s portion of the first day began with the 200-yard freestyle relay. Aaron Greenberg ’18, Henry Gaissert ’20, Max Bottene ’20 and Philippe Marcoux ’21 comprised Yale’s A relay, which earned a fifth-place finish with a time of 1:19.87, only 0.75 seconds behind fourth-place finisher and host Ohio State University. North Carolina State University’s relays won the event and claimed the third spot as well.
The No. 5 Wolfpack continued to dominate the competition; senior Anton Ipsen won the 500-yard freestyle and logged a McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion record with his time of 4:13.19, and junior Andreas Vazaios claimed first in the 200-yard individual medley. The Elis fought hard against their highly touted opponents, and a number of swimmers set season bests. In the 500-yard freestyle, Kei Hyogo ’18 finished ninth in the preliminaries but cut over six seconds from his previous season best to finish in fourth place in the final. Jonathan Rutter ’18 continued the momentum, setting a Yale record in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:46.44, which dropped more than 15 seconds from his season best.
“Touching the wall and seeing a personal best is one of the greatest feelings in the sport, and I’m grateful that myself and many others on the team were able to experience that in Ohio,” Gaissert said. “We went into this mid-season [invitational] with the goal of getting insight as to where we stand in our training. In that respect, I was very glad to see that the work we’ve been doing is paying off.”
The Bulldogs maintained their level of performance through the second day of competition but found difficulty rising above the fifth-place position across events. Rutter, Lin, Gaissert and Hyogo represented Yale in the 800-yard freestyle relay and took fifth place. Yale’s B relay — comprised of Tristan Furnary ’20, Christopher Miller ’20, Tyler Harmon ’21 and Jonathan Liao ’21 — came in 11th place, and together the two Yale squads tallied 40 points for the team from the event. Rutter and Lin went on to claim sixth-place finishes in the 400-yard individual medley and the 200-yard freestyle, respectively, and both swimmers posted new season bests in their events. However, the Elis could not maintain the same level of parity with their competitors in the other events.
Hyogo brought home Yale’s highlight performance of the second day in the 400-yard individual medley. Hyogo captured second place with a time of 3:44.73, the fourth-fastest time in the nation. This time was a new personal best for Hyogo as well, as he cut over two seconds from the Yale record he set as a first year in 2015.
“The 400 IM is actually one of my favorite events, but I usually do not have the opportunity to swim it with any sort of rest until the end of the year,” Hyogo said. “I only rested for a couple of days for this meet, but with that being said, this was the first time I swam the event with remotely any sort of rest in two years, and I think the result was indicative of that.”
Hyogo continued to lead the Eli charge on the final day of the meet, finishing the 1,650-yard freestyle in fourth place with a time of 14:56.58, the fifth-fastest time in the nation. Still, the Bulldogs continued to hover around that fifth-place position.
Greenberg and Gaissert placed fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 100-yard freestyle, after Gaissert posted a personal best of 43.58 to tie Greenberg for sixth place in the preliminaries for the event. Yale’s A relay of Gaissert, Max Bottene ’20, Hyogo and Greenberg brought home a fourth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
“We had a strong meet, but there are loads of things we can improve on,” Rutter said. “Many of us, myself included, need to be able to lift our game in finals even after a flat-out prelims swim. I also think we can be a bit more optimistic about our upcoming swims, especially when we’re tired.”
The Elis will have an off-weekend for the first time this season before they host Southern Connecticut at the Robert J. H. Kiphuth Exhibition Pool on Dec. 7.
Selena Cho | email@example.com