BOSTON, Mass. - Despite the loss of one of the more successful classes in school history to graduation following the 2008-2009 season, the Yale men's swimming and diving team improved upon last year's fifth place finish at Boston University's Terrier Invitational with a fourth place finish in this year's event.
The Bulldogs amassed a total of 731.5 points over the course of the three-day meet - just twenty points behind second place finisher Boston College and a mere ten points behind third place Maine. The host Terriers took first with 897 total points.
Though missing sophomore butterfly/freestyler Goksu Bicer, who was competing in an international meet for his native Turkey, and junior butterfly/sprint freestyler KyleVeatch, who was out with a back injury, the Elis delivered a strong performance in Sunday morning's preliminaries, qualifying swimmers in the top heats in all but one of the afternoon's finals.
The first event of the afternoon was the grueling 1650 yard freestyle. Junior Matt Lee took fourth for the Bulldogs, earning 15 points with his time of 16:12.56.
That race was followed by the200 yard backstroke, which proved a strong event for the Elis. Captain Tom Robinson and freshman Jared Lovett placed seventh and eighth, respectively, as Yale's representatives in the A heat. Five more swimmers earned points in the event, as five of the eight swimmers in the second heat were Bulldogs, led by Matt Boone and Alex Gornitzky, who took eleventh and twelfth overall.
With Bicer and Veatch out, Yale lacked its usual depth in the next event on the docket - the 100 yard freestyle. Yet even so, the Elis were able to grab points in the event, as Lugar Choi's time of 47.04 seconds was good for eleventh overall, while teammate Mike Dominski rounded out the B heat with his time of 48.22 seconds.
Perhaps the strongest event of the day for Yale was the 200 yard breaststroke. Of the eight swimmers that qualified for the event's top heat after the morning prelims, four were from Yale. Chris Luu was the team's top finisher in the event, taking fourth overall with his time of 2:11.12; he was followed by teammates Dom Kwok, James Remigino, and Craig Steen, who finished fifth through seventh. Those four combined with Zak Murez, who finished fourteenth overall in the event, to score 57 points for the Bulldogs in that event, alone.
The Elis followed up their strong showing in the 200 breaststroke with a similarly strong display in the 200 yard butterfly. A strong morning performance in yet another event meant that Yale was well-represented in the race's top heat once again, boasting three of the eight swimmers in that group, as well as two in the second heat. Sophomore Scott Shinton stepped up with a time of 1:52.16 and took first overall in the event, scoring twenty points while improving on his preliminary time by almost two whole seconds. Lovett and Choi also swam well, posting sixth and eighth place finishes.
The final event of the weekend was the 400 yard freestyle relay. Yale's A squad of Robinson, Choi, Mert Altinok and Dominski took third overall, completing the race in 3:08.29. The ‘B' squad of Murez, Jerrold Lee, Remigino and Boone also had a strong showing to round out the weekend, swimming well-enough to grab seventh overall.
While they finished fourth of six at the end of the day, it is clear that the young Bulldog squad - who was missing two of its most key components this weekend - is gaining experience quickly.
"Scott Shinton was maybe our fourth butterflyer last year," said Coach Frank Keefe. "He really stepped up today to win the 200-yard butterfly. Matt Boone was kind of a third man last year, he also really stepped up today. The freshmen have never swam three days - high school state finals are only one day meets, so this is a big change for them."
Many of the young Elis will take to the pool again Monday against Southern Connecticut before leaving for Thanksgiving break. They will have to continue to grow into their new roles in the weeks ahead if they hope to send Keefe out with a winning season.
"The competition was extremely good this weekend," said Keefe. "but our major thing is to be ready for championships at the end of the season."
The preparation will continue Monday afternoon when the Bulldogs take on Southern Connecticut in a dual meet.
Report filed by Chelsea Janes '12, Yale Sports Publicity.