The Yale men’s swimming and diving team defeated Cornell 226–127 last Wednesday, extending the team’s win streak to four meets. For the team’s seniors, the meet was their last time competing at home.
The Bulldogs dominated much of the midweek contest against the Big Red, claiming first place in 15 of the 19 events. In an explosive start, Yale claimed the top two spots in every event held on the first day and carried that momentum through the second day of racing. The Elis’ victory added Cornell to the list of Ancient Eight rivals that fell to Yale last week — just a few days before in a jam-packed week of competition, the Elis defeated Dartmouth and Penn.
“It feels fantastic to walk away with a win in our last home meet,” captain Dirk Bell ’18 said. “We hit some hard training in Florida during winter break, and it was impressive to see everyone swimming so fast through fatigue. I think we’re all in a good spot and we’re ready for our final meets.”
The Yale divers brought home the first victory of the meet, with Christian DeVol ’21 and Chris LaBella ’20 winning first and second, respectively, in the 1-meter dive. In the 1,000-yard freestyle, Kei Hyogo ’18 out-touched Cornell’s top finisher by nearly 40 seconds with Patrick Frith ’21 coming in second. Yale also triumphed in both relay events, as Yale’s A and B relays claimed the top two spots in the 400-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay.
Coming off a successful first day, the Elis found success in most of the second day’s events as well, though they ceded four events and several second-place claims to the Big Red throughout the 15-event day. The Yale divers got the team off to a strong start for the second straight day, with DeVol, LaBella and Wayne Zhang ’18 sweeping the top three spots in the 3-meter dive.
The Bulldogs prevailed in freestyle, winning first place in all freestyle events of the day. Henry Gaissert ’20, Max Bottene ’20 and Duncan Lee ’20 swept the 100-yard freestyle, and Adrian Lin ’19 and Gaissert won first and second, respectively, in the 200-yard freestyle. Aaron Greenberg ’18 won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 19.57, which set a new Kiphuth Exhibition Pool record. The previous record was a time of 19.79 set by Alex Righi ’09 in 2009.
“This record has been a goal of mine for a few years now,” Greenberg said. “Alex Righi, who had the American Record in the 50-yard freestyle back in 2009, was one of the most accomplished swimmers in Yale history. To break one of his records is incredibly humbling. … I’m excited to build off of this record, because there is a lot more work to do to hit the rest of my goals for the season.”
Cornell posed more of a challenge for the Bulldogs in the butterfly events. In a highly competitive 100-yard butterfly race in which the top six racers finished within the span of one second, Ryan Huizing ’20 came in runner-up just 0.35 seconds after his Cornell opponent. William Drexler ’19 also finished in second-place in the 200-yard butterfly.
To honor the seniors in their final home meet, the Elis entered an all-senior relay of Shawn Nee ’18, Derek Kao ’18, Greenberg and Bell in the 200-yard medley relay. The senior squad finished runner-up in a close contest, just 0.05 seconds behind Cornell’s A relay. In a victorious conclusion to the meet, the Bulldogs claimed the top two spots in the 400-yard freestyle relay, with Yale’s B relay finishing over two seconds ahead of Cornell’s A relay.
The three Ivy League victories came on the heels of the team’s training trip to Florida. DeVol said it was rewarding to see how much the team improved in the Sunshine State.
“My first winter training trip was a ton of fun,” DeVol said. “We were in Florida for seven days and practiced twice a day. Even with the grueling schedule and poor weather near the end of the trip, it brought our team much closer together.”
The Bulldogs face away meets in the next two weekends before they compete in the Ivy Championship. They will travel to New Jersey to compete against Seton Hall on Friday.
Selena Cho | firstname.lastname@example.org