The Yale women’s swimming and diving team kicked off its fall season with a strong start this weekend, defeating rivals Brown and MIT in back-to-back matches.
On Friday, Yale took on Brown in its traditional matchup to open the season. While the swimmers led the Bears by a narrow margin of 160–140, it was the divers who clinched the win for the Bulldogs after placing 1–2 in both events. The Bulldogs redoubled their efforts the following morning in Cambridge and bested MIT by a wider margin of 196–81.
“The team is excited after such a strong start, but the weekend was very instrumental in reminding us all where we need to improve,” swimmer Bella Hindley ’19 said. “There were some strong swims across the board, and it was a good test to show us where we are right now and what we need to do to get to where we want to be.”
The Elis claimed victory after a close duel with Brown in Providence, due largely to the impressive depth of Yale’s roster. Despite the win, the 20-point margin was far smaller than last year’s 98-point victory against the Bears.
In the freestyle events, Yale took first place in two of the five individual contests. Kendall Brent ’20 won the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:15.23. Yale swimmers took the next four places in this event as well, with Alexandra Truwit ’22, Nathalie Eid ’21 and Lilla Felix ’19 placing second, third and fourth, respectively. In the 200-yard freestyle, Raime Jones ’22 claimed her first collegiate win with a time of 1:51.00.
Despite a strong day of swimming, the highlight of the event for the Bulldogs was undoubtedly the superior performance of their divers. Hannah Walsh ’19 and Talbott Paulsen ’19 finished first and second, respectively, in the three and five-meter dives, boosting the team’s overall score.
“Our divers’ performance against Brown was outstanding,” captain Sophie Pilkinton ’19 said. “Their poise under pressure was so admirable, and they definitely saved us in terms of the amount of points they scored against Brown.”
Yale dominated against MIT the next day, with the Bulldogs recording the top time in every event.
The team’s first years in particular competed with confidence on Saturday, taking first in four of the individual events in an impressive display of swimming. Ashley Loomis ’22 won the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:21, while Izzi Henig ’22 won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.76.
Their veteran teammates were not far behind, however — in the freestyle, Eid took second, and senior Carrie Heilbrun ’19 placed third in the event.
Yale was particularly strong in the 200-yard freestyle and claimed the top five positions, with Marlise Moesch ’22 placing first with a time of 1:53.11 to earn her first win at the collegiate level.
Building on her win against Brown, Jones took first in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 57.86, marking her second victory for the Bulldogs. In the 200-yard backstroke, Cate Sawkins ’21, a staff reporter for the News, placed first with a time of 2:02.92.
Yale swept both butterfly events. Bebe Thompson ’20 won the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:04.43, and Charlotte Hylinski ’21 won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 56.52. Demonstrating the Bulldogs’ depth, Hylinski and Claire O’Mara ’21 were the next two to touch the wall in the 200-yard butterfly.
Bella Hindley ’19 claimed the top times in the 100-yard freestyle with 51.05 and the 100-yard individual medley with 58.35. In the 500-yard freestyle, Yale took the top four places with Kendall Brent ’20 winning the event with a time of 5:02.07.
The Bulldogs’ first two matchups are just a taste of their packed fall season, which includes the three-day Ohio State Invitational later this month, followed by the USA Swimming Winter Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., which start on Nov. 28. Team members expressed confidence that their dedicated practice and strong roster would enable them to succeed at Nationals, an event in which the team did not participate last year.
“For a lot of us first years, the training has been a step up from what we were used to at home, so we were really excited to see how that would translate to our success in a collegiate meet,” Olivia Paoletti ’22 said. “We are definitely looking forward to future success this season and our home opener next week.”
The team will look to continue its winning streak at its first home match at 5 p.m. on Friday against Ancient Eight rival Columbia.
Alex Reedy | email@example.com .