Yale Athletics

With a talented new group of teammates and coaches, the Yale Swimming and Diving teams will build upon last season’s successes as they take to the pool this weekend.

The Bulldogs will compete in a scrimmage at Army before hosting MIT on Nov. 8. The season, which stretches over more than five months and features competitions both in and outside the Ivy League, will be a new opportunity for the Blue and White to prove its dominance in the water.

The women hope to continue the strength of their remarkable undefeated regular season last year. The team placed second for the second year in a row at the Ivy League Championships last March, scoring 1390.5 points to Harvard’s 1500 points. The men will also build upon the successes of last season –– they placed fifth in the Ivy League Championships with a season-best performance in the 200-yard medley and strong individual swims.

New team members, new coaches and the looming Olympic Trials will bring a new energy to the 2019-2020 season. Sixteen first years will compete for Yale for their first time this weekend.

“Putting the team’s goals and ambitions above your own is second nature on this team,” men’s captain Matt Slabe ’20 said. “The whole senior class and I hope to foster and utilize that team-first mentality to propel everyone to their full potential.”

Team veterans and new team members alike are excited to compete together. Returning Yalie Patrick Frith ’21 noted that he is especially looking forward to supporting the first years as they “get on the blocks with the full support of the team behind them as they take their first strokes representing Yale.” First year Connor Lee ’23 expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome from the Yale swimming family.

“The Yale swim family strongly cares for everybody in a way I haven’t seen anywhere else,” Lee said. “That support distinguishes us from all of our competitors.”

This weekend will also be the first meet that Caitlin Tycz ’22, formerly of the University of Southern California, will swim for the Bulldogs. Tycz placed seventh and ninth in 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard butterfly, respectively, at the 2019 NCAA Division I National Championships before transferring to Yale this fall.

“My goal this season is to contribute to the team as best I can,” Tycz said. “Whether that is in an individual event or a relay, I am so grateful for the opportunity to wear a Yale cap and swim alongside a team of determined and devoted women.”

This is also the first season for diving coach Lindsay Iordache and assistant coach Connor Beaulieu. Iordache was a seven-time All-America diver at Indiana and coached national champions with the Marlins Diving Club, while Beaulieu has coached at Connecticut College, Caltech and the University of Texas. Both coaches will support new strategies and skills as the teams compete throughout the season.

“My goal is for every diver to compete against themselves and improve on their past performance at every competition,” Iordache said. “By focusing on their own improvement instead of beating the competition, they will learn how to perform at meets more confidently and consistently.”

The coaches and athletes have been hard at work preparing for the season with weeks of captains’ practices and formal practices that began earlier this month. With hours of racing each other and completing exercises outside of the pool to maximize power and flexibility, the Elis will be ready to begin competing this weekend.

The season will stretch into March, and this year’s schedule includes opportunities for team and individual success. One highlight will be the meet on Nov. 9 against Brown, where former Yale assistant coach Kevin Norman is now in charge.

“We’re looking forward to getting up and racing his guys,” said Frith. “[We] can’t wait to see how he does in his first year as a head coach.”

Later in the season, the Ohio State Invitational from Nov. 21 to Nov. 23 will feature some of the nation’s best swimmers as they prepare for the Olympic Trials in May. In order to qualify, competitors must reach certain standards, which are measured in long course meters. The Ohio State Invitational is a long course meet whereas the NCAA competes in short course yards, so the meet will be crucial for any competitor who hopes to qualify.

“We also have our eyes set on the national stage,” women’s captain Kendall Brent ’20 said. “We are hoping to have qualifiers for the NCAAs and Olympic Trials.”

The teams’ seasons will culminate with the Ivy League Championships in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in February and the NCAA Championships in March.

 

Katie Taylor | katie.taylor@yale.edu