The Yale men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are looking to build on their past successes and create new records as they prepare to dive into the 2019 season.
Coming off of an undefeated regular season and a second-place finish at last year’s Ivy League championships, the women’s team starts its season with a weekend dual meet at home against MIT and Brown at the beginning of November. The Elis bested the Engineers by 115 points in their last meeting, and have only fallen to the Bears once in the last 10 years.
The seven new members from the class of 2023 will do their best to replicate the successes of the eight graduating seniors, including Bella Hindley ’19, an Ivy League Championship record-holder in the 100-yard freestyle. Hindley was also a member of the 200- and 400-yard medley relay teams that both placed first in the Ivy League championships.
“Our goals for the season are to swim fast and have fun,” captain Kendall Brent ’20 said. “No women’s swim and dive team in Yale history has gone five straight seasons undefeated in the regular dual meet season, so we have an opportunity to continue making history. We also have our eyes on the national stage, and are hoping to send team members to Olympic Trials in May.”
Brent, a cornerstone of the program since her rookie year, placed first in the 1500-yard freestyle at the New England Senior Championships last June. She was also a recipient of Second Team All-Ivy honors in 2018.
In terms of competition, the Elis are hoping to surpass rival Harvard, which placed first by a margin of 109.5 points last season. There are hopes that Caitlin Tycz ’22, a new transfer from the University of Southern California, will play a pivotal role in helping the team reclaim the top spot in the Ivy League. During her time at USC, Tycz competed in the 2019 NCAA National Championships, placing 33rd in the 200-yard butterfly and 39th in the 100-yard butterfly. She was also recognized with CSCAA Scholar All-American first team honors in her first year as a Trojan.
The men’s team will hope to springboard past last season’s fifth-place finish with a strong start when they take on Army away on Oct. 25.
This season’s captain — the 122nd captain in the program’s history — is Matt Slabe ’20, a long-distance freestyle swimmer. He came fourth in his last race for the Bulldogs, a 1000-yard freestyle event against Cornell in January.
The 400 freestyle relay team that placed third at last season’s championships has lost Adrian Lin ’19, a three-time league championship runner-up in the 200 freestyle. Though the ex-captain will no doubt leave large shoes to fill, the three other members — Nathan Stern ’22, Henry Gaissert ’20 and Max Bottene ’20 — still remain and will set their eyes on recapturing a podium spot this season.
First years Jean Paul Ditto ’23 and Connor Lee ’23 are hot prospects that may soften the blow of the departure of last year’s graduating class. Ditto was a nationally ranked diver at this summer’s Junior National Championships, and Lee placed first in the California State Championships for the 50 freestyle.
Gaissert, seven-time finalist at the Ivy League Championships, aired his excitement for the new season ahead.
“Having completed our first week of official training, we could not be more excited to step into dual meet season,” Gaissert said. “Putting the past three years into perspective, I can honestly say that I have never seen this team more prepared, more cohesive, or more hungry.”
The men’s swimming and diving team is a four-time NCAA Division I champion.
Ryan Chiao | firstname.lastname@example.org