March 1, 2012

Bulldogs Head To Ivy League Championships

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale men's swimming and diving team engineered quite a turnaround so far in the 2011-2012 season. Following a 2-8 season in 2010-11, the Bulldogs swam to a 6-2 record with losses to Harvard and Princeton. The Elis finished third in the regular-season standings behind those two teams thanks to an injection of energy from a stellar freshman class and the consistent strength of a small group of upperclassmen. This Championship meet, to be held Thursday through Saturday at Princeton, will be a chance for Yale to cap its excellent season with a statement as they head to next year in hopes of making the Ivy League swimming's dynamic duo a trio in the years to come. 

And Harvard and Princeton certainly have been a dynamic duo at the Ancient Eight title meets in recent memory: the Crimson and Tigers have accounted for every Ivy League Championship since 1973, Princeton five of the last six. If the Bulldogs hope to make waves in their direction this weekend, they've already distanced themselves from their ancient rivals - and the rest of the country - out of the pool this season. Last week, the Bulldogs were named the nation's top academic team in terms of GPA by the CSCAA Scholar All-America Team Rankings. Harvard and Princeton both made the list, but Yale's 3.59 GPA was nearly a full two-tenths of a point higher than the Crimson's (3.41) and nearly six-tenths higher than Princeton's (3.01). 

In the pool, the Bulldogs should provide the most depth among Ivy League challengers outside of Harvard and Princeton this weekend. Senior Goksu Bicer has been a winner in the 100-yard butterfly the past two seasons, and has the league's second best time (48.98) in the event this year. Freshman Alwin Firmansyah has the Ivy League's second-best time in the 200-yard butterfly (1:47.04). 

Junior Mike Dominski has also been a big performer at past Ivy League meets, taking second-team All-Ivy honors in the 100-yard butterfly the past two years. Freshman Robbie Harder is bound to compete for a title in, well, something: he has been spectacularly versatile for the Bulldogs this season, but has swam to particular success in the distance freestyle events. 

Sophomore Tyler Pramer is one to watch for in the Eli divings corps, having been a consistent top-three finisher throughout this season. He'll be up against Ivy League standout Jeff Cragg, who has been a dominant force in the diving scene in recent years. 

The Bulldogs take to the pool beginning Thursday in Princeton. 

Report filed by Chelsea Janes '12, Yale Sports Publicity