Feb. 7, 2009
STORRS, Conn. - The Bulldog men's swimming and diving team improved its dual meet record with a hard fought win over UConn Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs, who were coming off dual-meet losses to Harvard and Princeton at the H-Y-P meet last Saturday and Sunday, got back on track with the 158-142 win over the Huskies in a meet that was characterized by close finishes. With the win, the Bulldogs moved to a 6-4 dual meet record. The Bulldogs also beat the Huskies in 2007 by a score of 199-99.
While the Bulldogs did not set any NCAA qualifying marks or any team records, the team did combine to break five new pool records at UConn's Wolff-Nackin Natatorium. Senior captain Alex Righi helped set three of these records, while senior Chris Pool and senior Dennen McCloskey played in role in breaking one record each. The Bulldogs won seven of the 16 events, with Righi winning three individual events. Sophomore Matt Lee also had a great meet, winning both distance events.
The scoring got started off in the 200-yard medley relay. The first Bulldog squad of Righi, Pool, sophomore Zak Murez and freshman Goksu Bicer placed second in a time of 1:32.31, only missing edging out the squad from UConn by one-hundredth of a second. The next Bulldog squad finished just more than two seconds behind in a time of 1:34.34. The team of junior Thomas Robinson, senior Matt Sweitzer, senior Tyler Scheid and sophomore Kyle Veatch placed third.
Lee won his first event of the day in the 1000-yard freestyle event in a time of 9:33.36. While he was not leading the event early on in the race, he steadily gained distance on his competitors and eventually finished just less than one-half of a second ahead of the second-place finisher from UConn. Senior Ilya Byzov was third in a time of 9:44.94.
Next up for the Bulldogs was the 200-yard freestyle event. Sophomore Lugar Choi was the top Eli swimmer in the event, finishing second in a time of 1:41.84. Choi missed out on winning the event, which was won by Jonathan Wong of UConn in a time of 1:41.81, by only three-one-hundredths of a second. Senior Sebastian Cousins was fourth in 1:44.02.
Righi won his first event of the day in the 100-yard backstroke. Righi, who placed 11th in the event at the NCAA Championships last year, set a new pool record in a time of 49.22, finishing more than one second in front of the next nearest competitor. Robinson was third in 50.69 and McCloskey was fourth in 52.68.
The top finisher for the Bulldogs in the 100-yard breaststroke was breaststroke specialist Sweitzer, who finished in 58.34. Murez, who was coming off of the best meet of his life at H-Y-Ps last weekend, was fourth in 1:00.57. UConn swimmer Tomasz Sobek won the event in 57.07.
While the Bulldogs did not capture the top spot, they combined to take the next three places in the 200-yard butterfly event, a great show of depth. Scheid was the first Bulldog to finish, taking second in a time of 1:52.59, while Pool was third in 1:53.71. Freshman Scott Shinton was the final Bulldog to finish, taking fourth in 1:54.56. Adrian Astiz from UConn won the event in 1:50.93.
Righi was then back in the pool for his second victory and pool record of the day. Righi won the 50-yard freestyle event, an event he placed second at the NCAA Championships in last year, in a time of 20.14, finishing more than one second ahead of the second-place finisher. The previous pool record was 20.33 from 2005. Veatch was fourth in 21.62.
The third and final pool record of the day for Righi came in the 100-yard freestyle event, an event in which he completely rewrote the record book. Righi won the event in a time of 44.30, breaking the pool record from 1995 by more than one second and beating the next nearest competitor by more than two seconds. Choi was fourth in 46.95.
McCloskey got the opportunity to break a pool record as well in the 200-yard backstroke. While his time of 1:49.69 will not go down as the record in the record book because he finished second, he still eclipsed the previous record from 1993 by just less than one second. Robinson was third in 1:54.27 while junior Colin McCarthy was fourth in 1:56.77. The event winner was UConn's Alexander Davidson in a time of 1:49.05.
In the 200-yard breaststroke event, the Bulldogs went two-three. Junior Craig Steen was second for the team in 2:05.10 while sophomore Sam Goldsmith was third in 2:08.07. UConn's Sobek won in 2:02.61.
Lee was back in the pool near the end of the meet for his second victory of the day, this time in the 500-yard freestyle event in a time of 4:38.67. This is the second year in a row that Lee has won both distance events against UConn. Cousins was fourth in 4:42.97.
It was then Pool's turn to set a new pool record in the 100-yard butterfly event. Pool swam to a fast time of 49.47, breaking the old record of 49.99 from 1995. Veatch was third (51.01) and Scheid was fourth (51.27).
The last individual swimming event of the day saw yet another two-three finish by the Bulldogs. Steen was the top Bulldog in the 200-yard individual medley relay with a second-place finish in 1:53.85 while McCloskey was third (1:55.20). The event was won by UConn's Astiz in a time of 1:53.53.
The Bulldogs closed out the swimming events with a victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The team of Veatch, Pool, Bicer and Choi won in a time of 3:04.49. The team of Cousins, Robinson, Scheid and Murez placed third (3:10.34).
It was also a good day over on the springboard for the Eli divers. While the team did not capture the top spot in either the one- or three-meter events, the team still showed off their depth with strong performances. In the one-meter event, freshman Colton Staab was second with a score of 281.54. He was followed by junior Drew Teer in third (277.27) and sophomore Eric Olson (276.90). In the three-meter event, it was Teer's turn to take second for the Bulldogs with a score of 289.88. Olson was third with a score of 261.15. Both events were won by UConn's Stephen Ferreira, who had NCAA Zone Diving Championship qualifying performances in both the one-meter (313.85) and three-meter (367.43).
The Bulldog are next in competition at home in the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool against Brown on Feb. 15 at 3:00 p.m.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity