The invitational will be the first collegiate meet of its kind for many members of the young Yale squad. Of the 19 Elis heading to Boston, six will be freshmen getting their first taste of the invitational format. Invitationals, as opposed to the typical dual meets, place more emphasis on individual than team performance, as instead of being swum over a few hectic hours, they're swum over an extended three-day period. Theoretically, this generates faster individual times, as the swimmers can fully recover from previous events.
Last season, the Bulldogs placed fourth in the Invitational, taking just ten swimmers to face off against the much bigger rosters of scholarship schools such as BU and BC. This year, the Elis are nearly doubling the size of their squad, giving more swimmers a chance to gain experience as they head into the toughest part of the season in January and February.
Yet not everyone on the squad will be getting their first taste of invitational competiton; many of last year's top finishers at the Terrier Invitational are headed to Boston yet again to try to build on that success. Juniors Jason Choi and Alex Gornitzky both earned points in the 100 yard butterfly and 100 and 200 yard backstroke in last season's meet, joined in that category in the 100 and 200 yard backstroke by current senior Colin McCarthy.
Gornitzky also gained points in last year's 200 yard individual medley along with junior Zak Murez, who, with classmate Sam Goldsmith, also added points in the 100 yard breaststroke. In addition, Gornitzky and Murez each competed on one of Yale's 800 yard relay teams, both of which earned points.
In this year's meet, Choi will compete in the 100 and 200 yard freestyle and backstroke events as he looks to duplicate last season's success. Gornitzky will also swim a similar schedule to that he swam last year, hoping to earn points in the 200 IM, 200 back, and 100 and 200 yard butterfly as he did in 2008.
Captain Tom Robinson, coming off a strong performance against Columbia, will lead his team to Boston, swimming the 50 free, 100 yard fly, and 100 and 200 yard backstroke events for the Elis.
After the conclusion of the three-day meet, the Bulldogs will come back to New Haven to face off against Southern Connecticut in the more traditional dual meet format on Monday. Last season, Yale dominated the Owls, taking a 181-112 victory. With so many swimmers heading to Boston, the Bulldogs will get a chance to see just how deep their young team is, as many of those swimmers competing at Boston University will not be swimming on Monday, and vice versa. Luckily for the Elis, despite their loss in the opener, early returns from the inexperienced squad seem promising, as it was only with a victory in the last relay that the Lions were able to squeak out the win.
The Bulldogs will be in action Friday, Nov.20 through Sunday, Nov. 22 in Boston, and again at 4 p.m. Monday against Southern Connecticut at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool.
Report filed by Chelsea Janes '12, Yale Sports Publicity.