Hyde Wins on Final Day of Ivy Championships

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

PRINCETON, N.J. – The Yale women's swimming and diving team wrapped up the third and final day of competition at the 2011 Ivy League Championships Saturday with some of its best times of the season.  The Bulldogs picked up two additional second-place finishes in individual events, as well as a third-place relay finish and two top-five diving performances.  Hayes Hyde brought in Yale's first and only win of the meet in the 200-yard butterfly.  Hyde and five other swimmers on the Bulldog roster were able to punch their ticket for NCAA's with B cut times, relays included.  After three days and 21 events, Yale finished in fifth position with 860 points. Princeton won with 1562 points.

Morning Preliminaries

The last first preliminary of the weekend was the 200-yard backstroke, where Molly Albrecht finished third in a time of 1:56.90.  Albrecht led for the first 50 yards, and would go on to post competitive splits and end up just 0.82 seconds out of first place, where Princeton's Meredith Monroe broke her own meet record set last year.  Kristin Darwin finished 22nd (2:08.67) and Victoria Lawrence finished 23rd (2:11.38) headed to the C final.

In the 100 free Cynthia Tsay finished in 51.38 seconds to place 10th, almost the same position she held on the field after Friday's 200 free preliminary.  Michelle Huang finished 24th (52.61) to go on to the C final.

The rest of the prelims went tremendously for the Bulldogs.  Athena Liao finished second in the 200-yard breaststroke.  Liao was seeded second-fastest coming into the event, but swam more than two seconds faster than her seed time to post time of a 2:12.99.  Angela Lee and Chelsea Dunlap were headed to the C final of the same event based on their preliminary times.

Hayes Hyde turned some heads in the heats of the 200-yard butterfly, placing first by a margin of 0.01 seconds.  Hyde's time was 1:58.11, just ahead of Harvard's Katie Mills who beat Hyde in the event a month ago back at HYP.  Joining them in the evening's A final would be Ileana Lucos, who finished eighth in a time of 2:02.04.  Allison West finished 17th (2:05.44) to seed herself fastest in the C final.

The Bulldog divers were back at it the one-meter event.  After failing to make the final and defend her title in the three-meter, Rachel Rosenberg finished fourth in the one-meter prelims with a score of 245.20.  Paige Meneses, who placed second in this event last year, finished sixth with 235.85 points. Christina Brasco was 20th with a score of 209.40, just missing a spot in the consolation final by ten points.

Evening Finals

The Bulldogs entered the final phase of competition Saturday night in third place with 600 points, and Penn waiting in the wings at 596 points.  Unfortunately a win for Penn's Shelby Fortin in the 1000-yard freestyle would mean that Yale would drop back to fifth place and would not recover.  Abigail Nunn and Annie Killian both beat their seed times to bring in some points for the Bulldogs, but Penn and Columbia gained crucial ground in this event and would prove hard to catch the rest of the night.

Molly Albrecht raced a veritable fingernail final in the 200-yard backstroke, finishing second in a time of 1:56.72.  Albrecht led for the first 50 again, and this time the top three all touched the wall within 0.32 seconds of each other.  The new pool record set in the morning, however, would not be broken.  Victoria Lawrence finished 23rd with a 2:09.46, while Kristin Darwin finished 20th in a time of 2:06.98, her last race as a Bulldog.

In the 100 free, Cynthia Tsay finished third in the B final to take 11th overall.  Her time was 51.28.  Michelle Huang finished 24th in 53.65.

Athena Liao matched her second place preliminary swim 200-yard breaststroke to take second in the finals with a time of 2:12.64.  This is a career best for Liao, who finished fifth in this event at Ivy's last year with a time of 2:16.54 to get her first career NCAA B cut.  The B cut this year is 2:16.20, proving Liao to be very competitive in the event and showing an almost four second improvement in one year's time.  In the C final of the 200 breaststroke, Chelsea Dunlap took 23rd (2:23.79) and Angela Lee 24th (2:24.06).

Yale blue and white was at the top of the podium for the first time after the 200 fly.  Hayes Hyde had her first and the team's first win of the meet with a time of 1:57.74.  Hyde touched first at every turn to situate herself even further away from the B cut time of 2:00.69.  Ileana Lucos finished eighth in a time of 2:03.68 to make the A final of the 200 fly a big point-getter for the Bulldogs.  Allison West also brought in some points from the C final, finishing 18th in 2:04.79.

Rachel Rosenberg then finished third in the one-meter diving event.  Her score was 268.70, just barely missing out on second place by 0.15 points.  Paige Meneses finished fifth with 264.60 points.  This score is better, however, than Meneses' score from the event last year at Ivy's, where she took second place with 253.55 points.  Rosenberg's score at Ivy's also improved since last year, where she took sixth with 244.30 points.

After wrapping up the individual events, the Bulldogs put a bow on the weekend with a third place finish in the 400 free relay.  The relay team of Cynthia Tsay, Ileana Lucos, Hayes Hyde and Joan Weaver clocked in at 3:23.22 to net an NCAA B cut and best its seed time by more than two seconds.  The last time the Bulldogs swam this event was at home against Brown, winning in a time of 3:30.08.  Saturday's time of 3:23.22 is a season best for the Bulldogs in what has become one of their most competitive and exciting events.

Yale finished the meet in fifth place, earning 860 points over 21 events.  Princeton won the meet to make it the Tigers' 10th Ivy title in the last 12 years.  Their point total was 1562, followed by Harvard with 1436.  Columbia (894) and Penn (888) were just out of reach of the Bulldogs.

Next up is the NCAA Zone Diving Championships on Mar. 11-13, where Paige Meneses and Rachel Rosenberg will compete.  But for most of the team, this weekend marks the end of the road for the 2010-2011 season.

Report filed by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity