NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After a magical start to the 2011-2012 season, the next three meets will reveal a great deal about this year's edition of the Yale men's swimming and diving team. Owners of an unblemished record heading into Saturday's matchup with Penn and Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H., the Bulldogs are receiving contributions from all over the roster, and are seemingly clicking on all cylinders heading into the heart of their season.
The most recent victim for the Elis was Cornell, who ran into the Bulldog buzzsaw Saturday on Senior Day at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool. If it was official a day for the Class of 2012, the win was the product of strong swimming from members of all four classes.
The four honorees, Alex Benz, Goksu Bicer, Matt Boone and captain Christopher Luu, certainly did their part in the win. Bicer took home a victory in a race he has dominated throughout his career - the 100-yard butterfly, while Boone made it two seniors in the top three in that event with his third-place finish. Benz and Luu also turned in strong showings to pace the Bulldogs.
Next year's seniors, Jared Lovett and Mike Dominski, also made their mark. Lovett grabbed second in the 200-yard backstroke (1:55.59) and 200-yard IM (1:56.62). Dominski was just one second behind the pace set by freshman Rob Harder in the 500-yard freestyle, good for second in that race.
The sophomores - as they have been all year - were also integral components of the Yale win. West Cuthbert took second in the grueling 1000-yard freestyle (9:46.48), while classmate Danny Clarke finished sixth (10:17.18). Pat Killian added a third place finish in the 200-yard freestyle (1:44.80), one his of two top-three showings on the day. The other came in the 100-yard freestyle, where Killian took second (47.27). Danny McDermott also had a huge day, particularly with his second-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:10.03) and third-place time in the 200-yard IM (1:59.61).
The freshmen were dominant. Josh Ginsborg (1000-yard and 100-yard freestyle), Rob Harder (500-yard and 200-yard freestyle), Ronald Tsui (100-yard breaststroke), Andrew Heymann (50-yard freestyle and 200-yard breaststroke), Mike Lazris (200-yard backstroke and 200-yard IM) all had individual wins on the day, in addition to a flurry of top three performances from them and from classmates Alwin Firmansyah and Andy Wingerson.
The showdown with Penn and Dartmouth gives the Bulldogs a chance to continue their hot start to 2012 and improve on blemishes on the 2010-11 slate. Last year, Yale fell to Penn while beating Dartmouth. That victory was one of just two conference victories the Elis earned last season. They've already matched that number this season, with an opening win over Columbia and last week's dismantling of Cornell. Saturday's showdown will be an excellent tuneup for Feb. 3rd's H-Y-P meet, the true barometer of the Bulildogs' progress in 2011-12. That and a dual meet with Brown are all that remains between Yale and the Ivy League Championships, scheduled for Mar. 1-3 at Princeton, N.J.
Report filed by Chelsea Janes '12, Yale Sports Publicity