Steve Musco

In their final weekend of dual meet racing before diving into the Ivy League Championships, the Yale men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will look for a pair of wins against the conference’s perennial powershouses — Harvard and Princeton.

The Bulldogs travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to take on the Crimson and the Tigers for their final weekend of the regular season. The women’s team will seek to extend its undefeated season, while the men will look to return to full strength after a tumultuous campaign that included a two-point loss to Cornell earlier in the month. Last year, the women edged out both the Crimson and the Tigers in a close competition, while the men fell to Harvard but eked out a one-point victory over Princeton.

“We are really excited to enter the end of our season and have been working extremely hard for these last two meets,” Hannah Walsh ’19 said. “Harvard and Princeton are definitely our toughest competitors, but we are hoping to showcase what we have been working for and continue our HYP winning streak. Doing well at HYP is always a positive indicator for our final Ivies meet.”

On the men’s side, the Bulldogs are currently 2–2 in Ivy racing and expect a close competition. After the graduation of a star-studded class of 2018, Yale got off to an auspicious start to league play with a win against Columbia. But the Elis have also struggled with consistency — two weeks ago, against Cornell, Yale entered no divers, handing the Big Red a 32-point lead from the get-go. Yale ultimately fell by a heartbreakingly close two points.

Harvard, last year’s Ancient Eight champion, is again a dominant force in the league. The Crimson men have lost just one dual meet this year, a nonconference tilt at No. 9 Georgia. In each of its other dual races, Harvard has triumphantly cruised, with its smallest margin of victory being a staggering 77 points. In three of its five Ivy competitions, the Crimson prevailed by more than 100 points.

The Princeton men, who the Elis beat 177–176 last year, are still undefeated this season. The Tigers, however, have scrapped together much closer wins. In its last Ivy meet, Princeton beat Columbia by a slimmer margin than the one by which Yale defeated the Lions earlier this season. But the Tigers also defeated Penn, making the competition up for grabs.

“We will need every member, rested or not, to step up and race hard this weekend because every point counts,” Patrick Frith ’21 said. “We expect to go in against stiff competition and be forced to earn every point … This season has definitely been a volatile one, and we’ve learned a lot from the experiences we’ve shared throughout the meets and practices.”

On the women’s side, the Elis, who emerged with a pair of wins at Harvard-Yale-Princeton for three consecutive years, will look to extend that streak to four.

The Bulldog women started the season with a handful of tepid victories but have since hit their stride. Since 2019 has begun, the Bulldogs bested each of their dual opponents by more than 150, most recently defeating Cornell 232–68.

Harvard, the defending Ivy League champion, has had a similarly strong season thus far, with a slew of triple-digit victories and just one loss — to nonconference opponent UCLA. The Tigers, however, narrowly fell to Columbia in their most recent Ivy competition.

Despite a similar level of performance at this point in the season last year, the Yale women only narrowly defeated Harvard and Princeton at the event a season ago, registering scores of 162–138 and 161–139, respectively.

“Harvard and Princeton are very strong this year, so we do expect it will be close, as always,” Bebe Thompson ’20 said. “Yale has won the meet three years in a row and is looking to defend that title. We will definitely be relying on and expecting the group who has rested for the meet, as well as our strong roster of divers, to win events and carry the team.”

Competition begins at 6 p.m. on Friday afternoon at Blodgett Pool.

Angela Xiao | .