Less than a week separates the Yale swimming and diving teams from the Ivy League Championships. The Blue and White will take to the water looking to deliver standout performances, make NCAA qualifying times and land a spot at the top of the standings.
Competition begins for the women (8–1, 6–1 Ivy) next Wednesday and will run through until Saturday. The Elis’ last title came in 2017, after finishing behind Harvard in the previous two seasons. Heading into championship week boasting a 6–1 record against other Ancient Eight teams, the women will be itching to best their perennial rivals Harvard and will be optimistic about their chances of doing so after besting the Crimson earlier this year.
“As for expectations, the team is looking to continue the momentum we have put forward thus far,” captain Kendall Brent ’20 said. “I hope that I can help the women on this team feel supported and empowered. I have always said that happy swimmers and divers are fast and successful swimmers and divers; having fun with the sport is probably the most important aspect to promote as captain. This team is full of strong, capable, and unique women that have worked hard all season. I can’t wait to watch it pay off!”
All eyes will be on first-year Jamie Yeh ’23 after a string of first place swims in the 100-yard backstroke. The 17-year-old swimmer’s most recent time of 53.79 would have her place second behind Bella Hindley ’19 in last season’s 100-yard backstroke finalists — a field which mainly consists of seniors and juniors from the top Ancient Eight programs.
The Ivy League Championship meet will pose a unique challenge for Caitlin Tycz ’22, who has spent the season settling in following her transfer from No. 24 USC. Though she has yet to reach the same highs that brought her to the NCAA DI Championships last May, her times in her signature 100 and 200-yard butterfly events have been fast enough to consistently land podium spots against other conference teams.
“Throughout the season we have proven that we are stronger and faster together as a team, and I look forward to rising to the occasion and racing against some great competition,” Tycz said. “Everyone has been fine tuning the skills that they will use in competition next week. Because it takes an entire team to succeed, each person focuses on their role and individual races. We also let our bodies rest and recover leading up to the meet; I know that my body and mind are very grateful for this time of the season.”
The men’s swimming and diving teams (6–3, 4–3), meanwhile, take to the water the following week and will be looking to maintain their consistent form to improve upon last season’s disappointing fifth place finish. Despite falling to both Harvard and Princeton at the H-Y-P meet two weeks ago, the Elis have cruised past all other conference teams with the exception of a narrow loss against Columbia at the beginning of the season.
Expectations will be high for senior sprinter Henry Gaissert ’20 who has been on hot form as of late. The Olympic Trials qualifier has seen phenomenal success this year, sweeping aside opponents in his signature 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle events. In his last outing he edged close to his all-time personal best — a time of 42.86 set during last year’s Ivy League Championships — during the lead off for the winning 400-yard freestyle relay, with a lighting fast 43.19.
Gaissert is also a mainstay of the men’s freestyle relay teams who have found their groove this season, surprising many with their high-octane swims against teams from Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Cornell and Penn. With Joseph Page ’23, Philippe Marcoux ’22, Nathan Stern ’22 and Michael Blank ’22 to choose from, head coach Jim Henry will be spoiled for choice when selecting Gaissert’s relay team.
“I hope to help the team better our performance from last year by finishing top three in one of my events. Last year I finished 4th on both 1m and 3m and being able to crack into the top three this year would be a huge accomplishment,” diver Christian DeVol ’21 said. “[The team’s] main goal is definitely to better upon our fifth place finish from last year. I believe we have an incredibly talented team from top to bottom this year and I know everyone’s excited to compete and show how much better we’ve improved.”
The men will race in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the women’s championships will take place in Providence, Rhode Island.
Ryan Chiao | firstname.lastname@example.org