Facing the Massachusetts Institute for Technology for the first time, the Yale men’s swimming and diving team cruised to a resounding victory, highlighted by a trio of rookie wins, to start the season.
The Elis, who graduated a particularly strong senior class in the spring, travelled to Boston to take on their Division III opponent. In past years, the Bulldogs began their seasons against league opponent Brown in previous years but took on the Engineers while the Bears serve out a suspension related to hazing. On Saturday, first-place finishes in nearly every event and rookie-powered depth led Yale to an 101-point victory. With a relatively gentle transition back into racing, the Elis will look to build on their 189–88 win at their race against Columbia — their first Ivy League opponent and a team to which they lost last year — next weekend.
“MIT was a great experience for us to fine-tune our lineup in a low pressure environment before some big upcoming meets,” Tyler Harmon ’21 said. “[The first years] help out in many ways both in and out of the pool and are poised to make a big impact for the team this season. It was also good for them to get college meet experience before the start of the Ivy League season and our midseason taper meet at Ohio State next week.”
The Bulldogs opened the day with a victory in the 200-yard medley relay. The top Yale squad was comprised of two juniors and two sophomores — Harmon, Tim Dorje Wu ’21, Ryan Huizing ’20 and Henry Gaissert ’20 — and out-touched its MIT counterpart by four tenths of a second.
For the Elis, who are now in their second year with joint head coach Jim Henry — Henry coached the women’s team before taking on the dual role — rookie performances proved promising across the board as the team makes up for the loss of last year’s senior class, which included a pair of two-time NCAA championship qualifiers: Aaron Greenberg ’18 and Kei Hyogo ’18.
Liam Bogart ’22 finished first for the Elis in the 1000-yard freestyle and was followed by Patrick Frith ’21. Bogart has big shoes to fill in the distance events, as Hyogo’s successes over his four years at Yale led him to win the 2018 Harold S. Ulen award. The award recognizes the Ivy League’s career high point swimmer.
In addition to Bogart’s first-place swim, classmates Calvin Yang ’22 and Cristian Bell ’22 also finished atop the podium in their collegiate debuts. Yang cruised to a dominant victory in the 200-yard breaststroke by beating his runner-up by more than three seconds. The addition of swimmers in the class of 2022 to the team’s depth was also on display in the backstroke events, where the Elis notched clean sweeps. Bell finished first in the 200-yard backstroke and third in the 100.
“[The first years] are a talented group of guys and have continued to back up that talent with hard work in the pool and weight room,” Matthew Slabe ’20 said. “It was great to see them dominate in their first dual meet as Bulldogs. Their energy and work ethic have fit right into the team culture, and I see them only getting better as the season progresses.”
The meet gave the Bulldogs an opportunity to tinker with lineups as they head into their first league competition against Columbia this weekend. The Elis eked out a number of close meets last year, most memorably a one-point triumph over Princeton at the annual HYP meet, but fell to the Lions 164–136 in New York. And although the Elis triumphed over Columbia at the Ivy League Championship at the end of last season, the dual-meet loss left the Bulldogs, whose only other one-on-one loss came at the hands of Harvard, looking for redemption.
On Saturday, in the team’s only home conference meet for the year, Yale will look to avenge last year’s defeat to the Lions. Although the Elis trounced MIT, they will have to improve on last weekend’s swims and dives to defeat Columbia’s team, who have already tested their mettle in a pair of close meets to open their season. They earned a 20-point win against Army on Friday but, despite diver Jonathan Suckow’s breaking a pair of records, dropped a 172–128 decision against Penn the next day to emerge with a split weekend.
“In order to get the win against Columbia, we all need to elevate our performances from last week,” Frith said. “Columbia matches up very well with our team, as we share some of the same strengths. That being said, we will need all of our swimmers and divers to give our best effort and throw down some better times than we’ve been seeing this year. The meet will definitely be a close one, and having Columbia come to the Exhibition pool can help our team if enough people stray from the football game to watch the meet.”
The Elis host Columbia in the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Angela Xiao | firstname.lastname@example.org .