The Yale men's swimming and diving team downed Columbia 178-122 to grab a season-opening win in a meet made all the more crucial by the fact that it is the Bulldogs' lone conference showdown before the new year. Adding to the excitement around the victory were the impressive performances from numerous Yale freshmen in just their first collegiate meets; members of the class of 2015 took home six individual wins, while junior transfer Paschall Davis grabbed another to make it seven overall for Eli newcomers.
The Bulldogs got off to a hot start in the 200-yard relay, thanks to the performances of three freshmen - Mike Lazris, Andrew Heymann and Alwin Firmansyah. Senior Goksu Bicer, a first-team All-Ivy honoree in the butterfly last year, rounded out the squad.
Another freshman, Robby Harder, made it back-to-back wins for the Elis, taking first in the 1000-yard freestyle (9:30.61). Just behind him was classmate Dillon Thompson, who placed third (9:37.44). Harder grabbed a second-straight win just minutes later, showing versatility with a victory in the 200-yard freestyle (1:14.71), touching out yet another freshman, Josh Ginsborg, for the win.
Relay star Mike Lazris took second in the 100-yard backstroke in 51.88 before freshman Ronald Tsui grabbed first in the 100-yard breaststroke (58.46), touching out Heymann, who took second (58.55). Firmansyah added two more to the Bulldog win column with victories in the 200-yard butterfly (1:47.59) and 100-yard freestyle (46.09), and Davis followed that up with a first-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle (21.17).
Lazris and Thompson went 2-3 in the 200-yard backstroke before a comparatively aged veteran sophomore Danny McDermott grabbed first in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:06.90). Freshmen continued to impress in the 500-yard freestyle, as Harder established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the Yale distance corps, taking first in 4:33.70. Ginsborg finished second in 4:36.87.
A senior and junior were the story in the 100-yard butterfly, where reigning Ivy League champion Goksu Bicer took first, just ahead of Davis. But the freshmen struck yet again in the 200-yard IM, as Firmansyah earned a victory, just ahead of third-place finisher Heymann.
Yale capped the day with a victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay, thanks to strong swimming from Bicer, Davis, sophomore Pat Killian and Harder. Bulldog divers also turned in strong showings, as sophomore Tyler Pramer took third in the 3 meter event (289.35) before junior Colton Staab matched that feat in the 1 meter (286.35).
The story of the day, however, were Yale's freshmen, who accounted for seven individual victories and 17 top-three finishes. They and the rest of the Bulldogs will be back in action next week at Boston University for the highly competitive Terrier Invitational.
Report filed by Chelsea Janes '12, Yale Sports Publicity