PRINCETON, N.J. – The Bulldogs had an explosive start on the first day of the 2011 Ivy League Women's Swimming and Diving Championships Thursday. Sophomore Molly Albrecht and junior Hayes Hyde distinguished themselves with top finishes in the 500-yard freestyle and 200 IM, respectively. While the entire Yale roster showed strength in individual events, a sizeable amount of Yale's points came from two dynamite finishes in the 200 free relay and 400 medley relay. With 223 points Yale is third overall after day one. In first place is Princeton with 432.5 points, and in second place is Harvard with 358.5 points.
In the very first event of the day, the 500-yard freestyle preliminaries, Molly Albrecht posted the fastest time overall. Out of 36 total swimmers Albrecht was first with a time of 4:47.40. This time is comfortably below the NCAA B-cut of 4:52.41, and is almost a carbon copy of her finish in the prelims last year where she took third in 4:47.67, a then-season best for the entire team by nearly 10 seconds. Joan Weaver positioned herself to be the fastest swimmer seeded in the evening's B final with her ninth-fastest time of 4:53.06. Allison West, Annie Killian and Margaret Brown all had competitive times in the event but did not qualify for a second race.
Hayes Hyde picked up a spot in the A final of the 200 IM with her eighth-fastest time of 2:02.94. Ileana Lucos was set to be right in the thick of the competition in the B final, finishing the prelims in a dead heat for 13th place in a time of 2:04.76. Not far behind were Athena Liao (2:05.37) and Courtney Randolph (2:05.95) headed to the C final.
Cynthia Tsay then took 11th in a hotly contested prelim of the 50-yard freestyle. Princeton senior Megan Waters clocked in at 22.36 to set a pool record, meet record, as well as break an Ivy League record that has stood since 1990. Tsay's time was 23.70. Erica Kao narrowly made the C final, finishing in 24th place with a 24.51; Michelle Huang's time of 24.52 made her an alternate for the evening's finals.
The final preliminary event of the day was the three-meter diving. Rachel Rosenberg took 11th with a score of 246.40, just missing out on a spot in the finals. Paige Meneses took 13th with 239.40 points, and Christina Brasco finished 30th with a score of 177.10. Rosenberg's and Meneses' scores did, however, earn them a spot in the evening's consolation final.
Finals began at 6:00 p.m., and not two minutes later the Bulldogs were on the board with 54 points for a third-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The relay squad of Cynthia Tsay, Ileana Lucos, Hayes Hyde and Joan Weaver – all with individual finals to think about – pulled off a 1:33.14 finish. Princeton won the event in 1:31.40, a new meet, pool, and Ivy League record; Harvard touched second in 1:32.40.
Molly Albrecht improved upon her preliminary time in finals of the 500-yard freestyle to take the number two spot on the podium. Albrecht clocked in at 4:47.14, 0.26 seconds faster than she swam in the morning. Starting off strong, Albrecht led the race for the first 200 yards, at which point Penn's Shelby Fortin took the lead and would go on to win in 4:43.27. Fortin did not race in the 500 at the dual meet between Penn and Yale back on Jan. 15, but she did lose to Albrecht in the 200-yard backstroke that same day. Joan Weaver took points for ninth, winning the B final in 4:52.70, though hers was the seventh fastest time overall. Fortin's win pushed Yale temporarily back to fourth place in the team standings.
Hayes Hyde also got a spot on the podium with her sixth-place finish in the 200 IM. Hyde's time was 2:01.82, over a second faster than her time from the morning's preliminary swim. Ileana Lucos earned points for the Bulldogs with a fifth-place finish, 13th overall, in the B final. Her time was 2:04.28. Athena Liao followed suit, finishing second in the C final but with a time of 2:03.80. Courtney Randolph closed out the event for Yale by finishing seventh in the C final with a time of 2:07.02, making Yale's total for the event an impressive 47 points. The meet and Ivy League records in this event continue to be held by Robert J.H. Kiphuth Head Coach Cristina Teuscher, set back in 1999 during her junior year at Columbia.
Cynthia Tsay just about matched her preliminary time in the 50 free, taking third in the evening's B final and earning 16 points for an 11th place finish. Her time was 23.71. Erica Kao shaved off some time from her prelim swim to take seventh in the C final (24.34).
In the consolation finals of the three-meter diving event, Rachel Rosenberg put up 273.05 points to take second. Rosenberg placed first overall in this event last year with a score of 291.60.
The Bulldogs were back at the front of the pack in the 400-yard medley relay. Molly Albrecht, Athena Liao, Hayes Hyde and Joan Weaver took second with a time of 3:44.18, missing the NCAA B cut by exactly one second. Princeton was far and away with a time of 3:39.21, a new pool record, but Cornell gave Yale a run for its money. Cornell's backstroke leg was faster than that of the Bulldogs, but the Bulldogs quickly moved into second position thanks to Liao's 1:02.12 breaststroke split to Cornell's 1:02.47 and Hyde's 54.47 butterfly leg to Cornell's 54.74. Weaver held off Cornell on the freestyle to seal the deal for a second-place finish and 56 points, putting Yale back into third position heading into day two.
Competition will resume at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow morning with the 400 IM preliminaries. Two swimmers to watch out for will be juniors Hayes Hyde in the 100 butterfly and Athena Liao in the 100 breaststroke.
Report filed by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity