March 27, 2008
Federal Way, Wash. - Junior Alex Righi placed second in the 50-yard freestyle at the NCAA Division I Championships Thursday at the University of Washington. Righi broke his own school record by over three-tenths of a second by finishing in an incredible time of 19.08. Seeded fourth in the race, Righi earned a second place finish by besting the next competitor by nearly two-tenths of a second.
Competing in the NCAA Championships for the third time in as many years at Yale, Righi said experience and the thrill of the competition were the keys to his record-setting finish.
"I wasn't as intimidated as I was in past years. I was really psyched to swim," Righi said. "It's pretty exciting. I was proud to represent Yale on the medal stand."
After earning a spot in the final eight with a preliminary time of 19.11, Righi improved his time in the finals by three-hundredths of a second with a time of 19.08.
The only swimmer who topped Righi was Brazilian star Cesar Cielo of Auburn. Cielo did it by beating his own NCAA and US Open record with a time of 18.52.
"It's not like any other 50-freestyle competition I've ever had because he's so far ahead," Righi said of Cielo. "It's impossible to even compare to someone who is swimming that fast. It's always hard to swim against the fastest guy in the world, but I have to concentrate on my own race."
In other action for the Bulldogs at the NCAA Championships, senior Jeffrey Lichtenstein placed 24th in the 1-meter diving with a score of 267.95 in his NCAA Championship debut.
Righi will swim in the 100-yard backstroke Friday and the 100-yard freestyle on Saturday.
Report Filed by Steven Horn '10, Yale Sports Publicity