Bulldogs Gear Up for Ivy League Championship

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Hayes Hyde. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – This weekend the Yale women's swimming and diving team will head to Princeton, N.J., for the 2011 Ivy League Women's Swimming and Diving Championship.  The Bulldogs ended the regular season with a win at home against Brown on Feb. 12., and so they will arrive in Princeton coming off a win and with what is arguably more important, a weekend of rest.  This will be the last real meet that seniors Kristin Darwin, Ileana Lucos and captain Annie Killian will swim as Bulldogs.  Many will be looking to make either A- or B-cuts (view qualification standards here) to be eligible to compete in the 2011 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships held on Mar. 17–19 in Austin, Texas.  But this weekend, assistant coach Toni Pullman (Brown '04) and Robert J.H. Kiphuth Head Coach Cristina Teuscher (Columbia '00) will return to Ivy's for their first time as coaches, looking to lead their squad to victory and bring home the trophy named after former Yale head coach Frank Keefe.

Yale heads into competition this weekend in third place in the Ivy League.  The Bulldogs have a 5-2 conference record, with losses to first-place Princeton and second-place Harvard.  Yale was positioned similarly last year where the team took third, in kind with its third place dual meet standing heading into the meet.  The Princeton Tigers won with a score of 1465, to make it their ninth Ivy League title in the last 11 years.  The Harvard Crimson, who have won the other two out of 11, finished second with 1438 points.  Yale came in third with 1350 points.  Seven swimmers and two divers earned All-Ivy honors for their performances, with Susan Kim '10 and junior Rachel Rosenberg being named swimmer and diver of the meet, respectively. 

Of the 21 events contested at Ivy's last year, the Bulldogs won nine, including the 200-yard freestyle relay, 200 medley relay, 400 free relay, 100-yard butterfly, 100 backstroke, 200 breaststroke, 50 free, 200 fly and the three-meter diving event.  As is unfortunately often the case for this small but distinguished squad, depth cost the Bulldogs points.  For instance, Harvard did not win a single event the entire weekend and yet by racking up points earned from other top finishes, the Crimson went on to claim second place.

The team has had the last two weeks to rest up as well as mentally prepare for this meet, and as Princeton will be the last stop for most of the Bulldogs, fast times can be expected to come from the entire squad.  As always, the Bulldog diving squad can be counted on for a first-rate performance.  But one swimming event in particular that the Bulldogs should be competitive in this weekend is the 400-yard freestyle relay.  It was an event that the Bulldogs won last year at Ivy's, by a whopping 1.87 seconds no less, and it is an event that the Bulldogs have been very consistent in this year.  In all its matchups Yale has only lost this race on three occasions: once against Vermont when six of the team's fastest swimmers were in Ohio competing at Short Course Nationals, then against Cornell when the Bulldogs had already earned enough points to win the meet, and most recently at HYP.  The Bulldogs have not won the Ivy League Championship since 1997, and if they are to bring home the title this year it will have to mean solid performances in events like the 400 free relay.

Competition will begin Thursday, Feb. 24 and go through Saturday, Feb. 26.  Preliminaries will start each day at 11:00 a.m. and finals will be held at 6:00 p.m. in Princeton's DeNunzio Pool.  A more detailed schedule of events can be found here

Live results can be accessed here.

Report filed by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity