Courtesy of Nina Lindberg
In their last weekend of regular competition, Yale’s swimming and diving teams faced off against Ivy League rivals Harvard and Princeton in New Jersey.
The women’s team (8–1, 6–1 Ivy), who went into the weekend looking to maintain its 7–0 undefeated streak, ultimately fell to the No. 22 Tigers (9–1, 7–0) by a score of 194–106. This is the first time the women have been defeated in a regular season dual meet since the 2015-16 season and its first against other Ancient Eight teams since the 2015 iteration of the H-Y-P meet. But the Elis found themselves on the opposite side of the scoresheet against the Crimson (6–2, 5–2), besting them with a nearly identical score of 195–105.
Despite the tough loss, the women have a strong platform to build upon ahead of the all-important Ivy League Championships. The Elis posted a number of dominant performances over the course of the weekend, boasting a top-three finisher in almost every event on the first day of competition.
First year Jamie Yeh ’23 dominated the 100-yard backstroke, improving upon her seed time by almost an entire second to take first place. She touched in at 53.79, besting veteran swimmers from Harvard and Princeton — despite being the event’s youngest competitor at the age of 17.
Cate Sawkins ’21 came from behind to place first in the 200-yard backstroke. She improved upon a mediocre first split, resolving a 40-millisecond deficit in the final 100 yards to finish with a final time of 1:57.02.
Ashley Loomis ’22 maintained a constant lead in the 500-yard freestyle, taking first with a time of 4:47.80.
Diver Nikki Watters ’21 improved upon her sixth-place performance on Saturday in the three-meter dive to take first in the one-meter event with a score of 294.40. She swept away all her competition, besting the rest of the field by a margin of more than 10 points.
Caitlin Tycz ’22 posted two second-place finishes over the course of the weekend, swimming a 53.72 and a 1:58.76 in the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly events, respectively.
According to Tycz, the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet was a valuable learning experience for every swimmer and diver on the team.
“Although the score wasn’t entirely what we had hoped, our season isn’t over yet,” Tycz said. “I believe that we can use this weekend to our advantage in our preparation over the next few weeks and at Ivy’s. More important than the final score, our team rose to the challenge and improved as the meet went along which isn’t possible without complete trust and confidence in each other and our coaches. This strength of ours will fuel us through our last meet together.”
The men’s team (6–3, 4–3) also came up short on the weekend, as the Tigers (7–2, 5–1) narrowly edged out the Bulldogs by a fine margin of 11 points. Yale also suffered a 222–131 loss against a strong Crimson (8–2, 7–0) squad.
“Though we came out swinging this weekend with our 200-free relay, we had a couple missteps throughout the remainder of the Friday session and fell behind the competition,” Henry Gaissert ’20 said. “Despite the tough point deficit we faced in the second session, the team did an incredible job of picking itself up and regrouping for a hard-fought battle on Saturday. Of course, it’s always tough to walk out of the pool with a pair of losses; however, I am confident that our point totals are not a reflection of our competitive grit or scoring potential.”
Gaissert continued his fine senior year form, cruising to a first-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 43.49. Joe Page ’23 conceded a first-leg lead, following Gaissert to a second-place berth with a margin of only 25 milliseconds separating the two teammates.
In the 200-yard freestyle relay, Gaissert and Page saw themselves link forces with Philippe Marcoux ’22 and Michael Blank ’22. The quartet raced to a first-place finish, touching in with a time of 1:18.22 — more than two seconds faster than the rest of the field.
In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Gaissert, Page and Marcoux linked up with Nathan Stern ’22 to continue their relay brilliance. They dominated a competitive field, beating their Harvard and Princeton opponents by more than three seconds. Gaissert’s lightning-quick lead-off time was faster than his individual swim with his time of 43.19 qualifying as his second fastest 100-yard freestyle time to date.
Divers Christian DeVol ’21 and JP Ditto ’23 made a splash in the three-meter dive, taking first and second with scores of 339.00 and 321.20, respectively.
Both the men’s and women’s teams now turn their attention to the Ivy League Championship meet.
“Since Ivy’s are a four-day meet, success won’t be achieved in any one session,” Gaissert said. “Thankfully, our team has a habit of building momentum and improving performance throughout the duration of competitions with this past HYP being no exception to this trend. Though a strong start is always a confidence booster, endurance and patience will ultimately be more important at Ivy’s.”
The Elis travel next to Providence, Rhode Island, for the Ivy League Championship meet.
Ryan Chiao | email@example.com
Correction, Feb. 5: A previous version of this article referred to the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay as the 200- and 400-yard freestyle, respectively.