Bulldogs to Open Championship Season at ECAC Championships

Feb. 27, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldog men's swimming and diving team will open the championship portion of the season on Friday with the first day of competition at the ECAC Championships. The Bulldog squad, which will also send a team to the Ivy League Championships next week, took fourth at the ECAC Championships last year after turning in a number of strong individual and relay performances.

The ECAC Championships brings together a wide variety of schools that provide great competition for the Bulldogs. Last year, 26 schools competed at the ECAC Championships with Ivy League rival Harvard winning the competition with 524 points. The Bulldogs scored 353 points while Johns Hopkins was second with 464 points and Rider was third with 385 points. The only other Ivy League schools in competition at the meet last year were Columbia, which took eighth with 244 points and Penn, which took 17th with 54 points. The swimmers that will not be competing at the Ivy League Championship next week, which has a maximum roster size of 20 student-athletes, will compete at the ECAC Championships. However, all of the divers will be competing at the Ivy League Championships, so the team will not have any diving representation at the ECAC Championships.

Despite the limited squad and top-notch competition, the Elis did very well at the meet last year. The top performer at the meet last year for the Bulldogs last year will again be at the meet this year. Senior Paolo Benvenuto took third in the 500-yard freestyle, third in the 1650-yard freestyle and sixth in the 200-yard butterfly. He will look to move up in the standings this year in the 500- and 1650-yard freestyle events and the 200-yard butterfly and will also swim the 400-yard individual medley.

The Bulldogs should also have a chance to do well in the 200-yard backstroke. Sophomore Alex Gornitzky took fifth in the event last year and well return to compete in the event again this year, along with competing in the 200-yard individual medley relay and 100-yard butterfly. He will be joined in the event by sophomore Jason Choi, who was 12th one year ago, and by freshman Matt Boone.

The athletes also performed well in the relays last year, but will be sending different teams this year. Last year, in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the team placed fourth, earning 30 points. The team was also fifth in the 800-yard freestyle relay, seventh in the 200-yard medley, seventh in the 200-yard medley relay and 11th in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

This will also be the final meet for seniors Benvenuto and Dan Li. Also competing at the meet at the meet and expected to perform strongly will be junior Jon Taylor, sophomores Zak Murez and Nick Van Nispen, and freshmen Alexander Benz, Matt Boone, Christopher Luu and Patrick Puhl.

Competition will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Harvard's Blodgett Pool.

Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity