After an impressive 10–0 undefeated streak in head-to-head meets this season, the women’s swimming and diving team heads to Princeton, N.J. Wednesday to take on its Ancient Eight rivals in the Ivy League Championships.
Coming off a tremendous victory against Harvard and Princeton in Cambridge just last week, the Elis are itching to avenge last year’s second place finish at the four-day conference championship and reclaim the most important title of the season. The Bulldogs have now gone three seasons undefeated in dual meets, which gives the team confidence as it seeks to take its third Ivy title in four years.
“The team has been counting down the days until our spirit and dedication to one another and to the program will pay off,” Bebe Thompson ’20 said. “The energy of our team is electric coming off of HYP, and we’re looking forward to four great days of racing, starting off with the 800 freestyle and 200 medley relay tomorrow night.”
Competition will begin Wednesday night and will wrap up on Saturday. Team members stressed that it will be crucial for the team to swim fast in the morning as those swims determine which final — A, B or C — they can compete in at night.
The seniors, in particular, have swum especially well throughout the final season of their collegiate careers and are looking to build on this momentum on Wednesday. Destiny Nelson ’19, Bella Hindley ’19 and Talbott Paulsen ’19 have broken pool records in the previous three meets, with Nelson also qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
“As a senior, it definitely feels surreal and quite special,” captain Sophie Pilkinton ’19 said. “I think I can speak for all of the seniors in saying that everyone feels immense gratitude for the bond of this year’s team and is feeling honored and proud to compete together for this program potentially for one last time.”
While the seniors bring experience to the Ivy championship, other teammates fill out Yale’s well-balanced roster — many have previously experienced success at the conference’s season-ending event. Last year, Cha O’Leary ’20 led the pack in the 100-yard breaststroke by two seconds, while Nikki Watters ’21 set the tone after finishing first in the one-meter dive in her first championship.
Two years ago, the Bulldogs won the Ivy League Championships; however, Yale fell short at the conference championships last year, with its final score of 1,490.5 points trailing 125.5 points behind the ultimate champion — Harvard.
No team other than Harvard, Yale and Princeton has claimed the Ivy title since 2000. If last week’s Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet is any indication, Yale is well-positioned for further success this time around. Yale bested Harvard 182.5–117.5 and Princeton 186–114, results which were both larger margins than those of the previous season.
“We’ve had a really good taper, and we’re hoping to carry the momentum from HYP to Ivies,” Hindley said. “We’re looking to take each race and each day one at a time.”
The Bulldogs will compete at DeNunzio Pool in Princeton, N.J. from Feb. 20–23.
Alex Reedy | firstname.lastname@example.org