While many students sought warmer destinations over spring break, four Bulldogs headed to Minneapolis and Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the men’s and women’s NCAA Division I swimming and diving national championships.
Aaron Greenberg ’18, Kei Hyogo ’18 and Adrian Lin ’19 competed for the Yale men’s swimming and diving team, while Heidi VanderWel ’18 represented the women’s program. Just by qualifying for the meet, Greenberg, Hyogo and Lin continued the Bulldogs’ upward trend in 2017–18. Yale has not sent three swimmers to NCAAs since 2015, and all three of their presences in Minneapolis built on a season in which Yale had already posted its best finish at the Ivy League championships in three years.
“The most challenging part of NCAA Championships is the mental preparation,” Greenberg said. “You are racing the fastest people in the country, and the meet is very intense. It was great being able to go with Adrian and Kei, as it made it easier to stay calm and relaxed going into my races.”
Three of the four Bulldogs racing at NCAAs were seniors competing in their last swims in a Yale suit. VanderWel wrapped up her career with by swimming the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke. In the latter, she will graduate as the school record holder and with an Ivy League title to her name. The senior finished 47th in the nation in butterfly and 50th in backstroke to complete her Yale career.
On the men’s side, Yale sent a very balanced team to the national championships, including included a sprinter, a middle-distance swimmer and a distance swimmer.
Greenberg, the sprinter, competed in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle at NCAAs for the second straight season. He placed 20th in the preliminaries for the 50-yard sprint, with a time of 19.29, and 22nd in the preliminaries for the 100-yard freestyle, with a time of 42.63 — personal bests in both events.
Greenberg said the 50-yard freestyle was the event he was most excited for, since it has been his best event throughout his collegiate career. At the Ivy League Championships this year, the senior won the event for the second consecutive season.
Hyogo competed in three distance events at the national championships: the 400-yard individual medley, the 500-yard freestyle and the 1650-yard freestyle. This past weekend marked the fourth time that he has swam the mile at the national championships and his third consecutive qualification in the 500-yard freestyle.
His 20th-place finish in the preliminaries for the 400-yard individual medley improved on the Yale record he set earlier this season. Hyogo qualified for finals in the 1650-yard freestyle, his signature event, and his 20th-place time of 14.48:93 was a new season best.
Lin, the only junior who represented Yale at the national championships, competed in the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle races, in which he finished 41st and 35th, respectively. This year marked his debut at the NCAA National Championships.
“Being at NCAAs really put things in perspective for me,” Lin said. “I got the chance to compete against some of the greats, and I learned a lot from just watching them race. I left with bigger goals for my senior season and the confidence that I can duke it out with some of the best in the country.”
A total of 322 athletes competed in the women’s national championships on March 14–17, while 270 men raced in the national championships from March 21–24.
Selena Cho | firstname.lastname@example.org