Two Yale Divers Qualify for NCAAs
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - It was the toughest competition the Bulldogs had faced all year. Three pool records fell, two divers qualified for NCAAs, and in the end, only two points separated Yale and Navy. Navy defeated Yale by a score of 151-149 in a meet that could have gone either way. Ultimately the difference was Navy won two more events than the Bulldogs, including the final 400-yard freestyle relay.
"It was just a great meet," said Robert J.H. Kiphuth Director of Swimming Frank Keefe. "It was highly competitive. There were several spots where the meet could have broken open for us. It was close, but just like basketball when that last second shot rolls around the rim and falls off, you still lose by one even though it was that close."
The meet opened with a frustratingly close loss for the Bulldogs. Navy won the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:44.28. The Bulldog team of sophomore Emily Dominski, senior Susan Kim, and freshmen Alex Forrester and Cynthia Tsay finished just behind Navy with a time of 1:44.63.
Navy won its second event of the meet in the 1000-yard freestyle when Tara Chapmon took the race with a time of 10:11.83. The Bulldogs claimed second and third with sophomore Abigail Nunn and junior Annie Killian finishing at 10:12.49 and 10:23.41, respectively.
The 200-yard freestyle event saw Forrester lose only her second event of the season. Chapmon won a decisive victory with a time of 1:47.74. Forrester took second with 1:50.03. Freshman Joan Weaver and senior Laura Grigereit also competed taking fourth and fifth, respectively.
Just before the 100-yard backstroke, the Yale team suffered a setback when freshman Molly Albrecht passed out on the starting block.
"Losing Molly was tough," said Keefe. "She definitely would have scored in the 100-yard backstroke and would have probably won the 200-yard backstroke. This is something that has happened to her before, and we weren't going to take any chances. It is just a swim meet. Her health is more important."
Yale got its first victory of the meet in the 100-yard backstroke. Dominski won the event with a time of 58.16. Navy took the next three spots, picking up the majority of the points in the event.
Kim's first individual event of the meet was the 100-yard breaststroke. Kim defeated Laura Gorinski of Navy by 1.79 with her time of 1:02.97. Sophomore Athena Liao took third for the Bulldogs with a time of 1:07.62.
In the 200-yard butterfly, the Bulldogs captured second, third and fourth place as Tony Paruso of Navy took the top spot. Sophomore Hayes Hyde took second with a time of 2:05.46. Right behind her was freshman Monica Tung with a time of 2:05.94. Rounding out Yale's team was junior Ileana Lucos with a time of 2:06.80.
The usually close 50-yard freestyle saw Navy win by a full second. Tsay took second place for the Bulldogs with a time of 24.26. Senior captain Andrea Clifford and Dominski finished in fifth and sixth, respectively.
The divers were the biggest stars of the day. In the one-meter diving, Yale took the top four spots and freshman Paige Meneses qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships. Her score of 270.29 was nearly 40 points higher than the closest Navy competitor. Sophomore Lisa Andrekovich came in second behind Meneses with a score of 249.36. Rounding out Yale's team were sophomore Rachel Rosenberg and senior Marisa Poverman with scores of 243.37 and 232.64, respectively.
In the three-meter diving, it was Rosenberg's turn to take the top spot and also qualify for the NCAAs. She posted the highest score of any diver with 285.82. Navy managed to grab second, but Yale took the next three spots. Andrekovich took third with 257.70, and right behind her was Meneses with 255.97. Poverman took fifth with a score of 240.89.
Forrester picked up her only individual victory of the day in the 100-yard freestyle. She also broke the pool record. The race started out neck-to-neck through the first two turns, but by the end of the third lap, Forrester had pulled away for an easy second-and-a-half win. She finished with a time of 50.55, setting a new pool mark. Tsay and Lucos took fourth and fifth for the Bulldogs, respectively.
Yale lost the 200-yard breaststroke, an event that Albrecht would have been likely to win. Navy's Kellie Darmody broke out to an early lead and stayed there for the entire race. Yale battled to stay in the top four with senior Jane Kim battling for third, but Navy wound up with a one-two-three finish. Kim finished with a time of 2:11.85. Junior Kristin Darwin and freshman Victoria Lawrence took fifth and sixth, respectively.
Susan Kim claimed her second individual victory of the day in the 200-yard breaststroke and broke the pool record as well. Her time of 2:13.47 was fast enough to break the record which she herself had previously set. Kim jumped out to an early lead while Navy tried to keep it close, but the race was over after the second turn. Kim had a full body length lead by the third turn. Liao battled with Navy for second, but in the end, fell to third. Her time was 2:21.46.
The 500-yard freestyle was a tough battle between Weaver and Chapmon of Navy. Weaver kept it close the entire race, but got edged out in the last couple laps. She finished with a time of 4:57.96. Nunn took fourth with a time of 5:02.00.
Navy also claimed the 100-yard butterfly, but the Bulldogs were able to take spots two through four. Hyde took second with a time of 57.92. Tung took third at 58.00 and Lucos came in fourth at 58.28.
The final individual event of the day was the 200-yard IM. Liao jumped out to an early lead in the butterfly with Navy in second and Kim in third. After the backstroke, Liao still had the slight advantage, while Kim fell to fifth. But, Kim jumped four spots to take over first during the breaststroke leg. With a decisive lead, Kim was able to hold on through the freestyle and claim first place. Liao fought hard for third, but was beat out at the last second. Kim's time was 2:05.64 and Liao's was 2:10.04. Nunn took fifth at 2:10.16.
Heading into the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Bulldogs were up 143-140 and needed a victory to hold on.
"We got down to the last three or four events, and I was scrambling to move people around," said Keefe. "I was just trying to get us to the freestyle relay with a chance to win. We got to the relay and if it had been a 390-yard relay, we would have won the meet."
The Bulldogs led the entire race. Forrester jumped out to an early lead. Lucos managed to maintain Forrester's lead, but Navy started to close the gap on Weaver. By the time Tsay got into the pool for the final leg, Navy was on her heels. Tsay tried her hardest to hold off a flying Chapmon from Navy, but she was overtaken in the last ten yards. Yale's B team took third, but it wasn't enough to overcome the first-place finish by Navy. Navy ended up setting a pool record with its time of 3:24.91.
"Navy is always tough," says Keefe. "They were in our league for years, but when the championship meet changed to Ivy League only and Navy was dropped, a lot of schools stopped swimming them. I've continued to swim Navy because we want to swim against tough competition and that is exactly what they gave us. Our girls swam well and the divers were phenomenal, it just didn't go our way today."
The Bulldogs' next meet will be against Harvard and Princeton on Jan. 30-31.
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity