Nov. 24, 2008
BOSTON, Mass. - The Bulldog men's swimming and diving team opened the invitational season with a fourth-place finish at the Terrier Invitational hosted by Boston University. The Elis, who scored 374 points with only a limited squad of 10 swimmers and no divers, placed ahead of Maine and Holy Cross. UMass won the meet with 1,079 points. In 2007, the Bulldogs placed second.
One of the best events for the Eli swimmers was the 400-yard individual medley relay. Senior Ilya Byzov placed fourth in the event in a time of 4:11.21, earning the Bulldogs 15 points. Fellow senior Paolo Benvenuto also performed well, finishing the event in 4:14.58, good enough for eighth place and 11 points.
Byzov and Benvenuto also combined to swim strongly for the Bulldogs in the 1650-yard freestyle event, the first opportunity the duo has had to swim the event this year. Byzov took eighth in a time of 16:34.48 while Benvenuto followed, placing ninth in a time of 16:36.66. These two performances were good for a total of 20 points. Byzov (4:42.56) and Benvenuto (4:47.83) also placed fifth and 11th, respectively, in the 500-yard freestyle event.
Sophomore Jason Choi was a leading performer throughout the weekend for the Bulldogs. In the 100-yard butterfly event, Choi earned the Bulldogs 12 points by way of his seventh-place finish in a time of 52.36. This is an improvement over last year, when he placed ninth in a time of 52.89. Choi was joined in earning the Bulldogs points in the event by sophomore Alex Gornitzky, who placed 14th.
Choi and Gornitzky also earned the Bulldogs points in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke events. In the 100-yard backstroke event, Choi placed seventh (53.58) and Gornitzky placed eighth (53.81). The seventh-place finish is an improvement from last year, when Choi took eighth in a time of 53.96. Junior Colin McCarthy joined the duo in scoring points for the Bulldogs, placing 12th in a time of 54.56. The trio also scored in the 200-yard backstroke, with Choi placing 10th (1:57.66), Gornitzky 11th (1:58.63) and McCarthy 13th (1:59.13). Choi swam almost two-and-one half seconds faster this year than last year.
In the 100-yard breaststroke event, sophomore Sam Goldsmith placed 11th in a time of 1:01.69 and sophomore Zak Murez followed in 16th, earning the Bulldogs one point in his performance with a time of 1:04.77. Goldsmith swam the same exact time in 2007.
Murez and Gornitsky both scored points for the Bulldogs in the 200-yard individual medley event, placing 13th (2:01.02) and 16th (2:02.30), respectively.
Coming together strongly as a team was a key factor that led to the Elis' success in the relay events. The 200-yard freestyle relay composed of freshman Patrick Puhl and Goldsmith, Murez and Gornitzky was a highlight for the Bulldogs, placing fourth in 1:29.16. Puhl, Goldsmith, Gornitzky and McCarthy teamed up to placed eighth in the 400-yard medley relay.
Two Bulldog teams earned points in the 200-yard medley relay. The quartet of Choi, Goldsmith, Gornitzky and Puhl placed sixth in 1:38.83 while sophomore Nick Van Nispen and freshman Alexander Benz joined McCarthy and Murez in placing ninth in a time of 1:41.26.
With two teams scoring points, the Bulldogs earned 46 points in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Placing seventh in a time of 7:18.13 was the team of Benvenuto, Byzov, Gornitzky and Van Nispen while McCarthy, Puhl, Goldsmith and Murez placed eighth.
For the Bulldogs, who were competing in their first invitational of the season, the meet was a good way to judge fitness near the midpoint of the season and get used to the more spread out schedule of the three-day meet. Up to this point, the Bulldogs have only competed in dual meets, which have much more compressed schedules, giving the swimmers less time to cool down following events.
McCarthy felt that the experience of a three-day meet was good for the team at this point in the season.
"This was our first three-day meet, so it was valuable for us as it helps us get used to the format used at the ECAC and Ivy League Championships," McCarthy said. "The three-day format gives us the time to focus on individual events and get the rest that allows us to swim fast. We all had season-best times this weekend. Many swimmers qualified for their event finals and Jason Choi did well throughout the weekend."
Although the Elis did not send a full squad to the meet and thus could not keep up with the scoring of the teams with large squads, the meet did allow the swimmers in attendance to see how their hard work is paying off.
Byzov felt that the meet was a good chance for him and his teammates to do some mid-season evaluations of their progress.
"I feel that our work is paying off, but we have some more work to do," Byzov said. "My 400-yard individual medley performance was my best time in a while in the event."
Byzov believes that the team will get much faster as the season progresses, especially with the hard training the team will undertake during its training trip to Puerto Rico over winter break.
The Bulldogs are next in action on Monday against Southern Connecticut State. Diving will take place at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool at 2:00 p.m. while swimming will take place at Southern Connecticut state at 4:00 p.m.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity