By Alex Reedy
Coming off of an 8–0 undefeated streak of head-to-head matches, the Yale women’s swimming and diving team continued its unstoppable charge in Cambridge at the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton tournament, where the Bulldogs obliterated their two toughest rivals in the Ancient Eight.
Capping off its third consecutive undefeated regular season, the Elis took down Harvard and Princeton by even greater margins than at last year’s HYP meet. They defeated the Crimson 182.5–117.5 and the Tigers 186–114. With the Bulldogs now 10–0 for the regular season, the team is well-positioned as it prepares for the Ivy League championships later this month.
“The motto going into the meet was to rally behind all of our teammates and to stay calm and collected regardless of outcome,” Bebe Thompson ’20 said. “There were many lifetime best times and season bests, which is so encouraging going into Ivies.”
The two-day event kicked off in Yale’s favor after Bella Hindley ’19 won both of her early events. Hindley, who has been indispensable to the Bulldogs in her final season, won the 100-yard backstroke in 54.91 seconds and the 50-yard freestyle in 22.75 seconds.
Yale found success in other freestyle events on Friday after the Bulldogs swept the top four places in the 1000-yard freestyle led by Ashley Loomis ’22, who finished the race in 10:03.58. Additionally, Marlise Moesch ’22 won the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:48.76, outperforming Sophie Fontaine ’20 by a hair.
The Elis completed the sweep of the individual events after gaining victories in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard butterfly. Touching the wall at 1:02.37, Cha O’Leary ’20 claimed first in the 100-yard breaststroke. Carrie Heilbrun ’19 swam the 200-yard butterfly in just under two minutes, with a time of 1:59.93 to win the event, while Thompson grabbed the bronze only three seconds later.
In the three-meter dive, the normally dominant Yale divers slightly stumbled as Talbott Paulsen ’19 finished fifth and fellow senior Hannah Walsh ’19 placed ninth.
The Elis returned to the pool on Saturday with vigor equivalent to that of the previous afternoon, particularly with the freestyle events. Once again, Hindley set the tone by winning the first event of the day, the 100-yard freestyle, in 49.94 seconds. Not to be outdone, Fontaine paced the swimmers in the 500-yard freestyle and touched the wall in 4:51.07 to secure the win.
“It was an extremely exciting competition with incredible swims and dives across the team,” Hindley said. “I think that everyone really got behind one another, and the atmosphere was uplifting.”
Meanwhile, Olivia Paoletti ’22 once again delivered for the team in her inaugural regular season after winning the 200-yard breaststroke.
Finishing a full half-second before the second-place finisher, with a time of 2:03.00, captain Sophie Pilkinton ’19 closed out her regular season collegiate career with a victory in the 200-yard individual medley.
The divers rebounded well on Saturday, with Paulsen taking first in the one-meter dive and Walsh following in fifth.
“[The seniors] did not lose an Ivy dual meet while they were at Yale, going 28–0,” head coach Jim Henry said. “This team’s success is due to great students, coaches, administrators, parents and alumni. I couldn’t be more proud of this team.”
After another successful regular season, the Bulldogs will look to use the next three weeks to prepare for the Ivy League championships. Last year, the team surrendered the title to Harvard, but Henry and several teammates expressed confidence that this year will yield a change.
The Yale swimming and diving team will compete at the Ivy League Championships in Princeton from Feb. 20–23.
Alex Reedy | firstname.lastname@example.org