NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Before classes begin next week the Yale women's swimming and diving team will host the Cornell Big Red for its first meet of the new year and last home meet of the 2011-12 season. The meet this Saturday will be the first in more than a month for most of the Yale squad, though a small contingent raced in Atlanta, Ga., in December at the 2011 U.S. Winter National Championships. The Bulldogs have not lost to Cornell in dual competition in at least eight years and they will look to take down the Big Red again this weekend on the road to February's all-important Ivy League Championships.
The Bulldogs are fresh off of a winter training trip, the team's first since this year's senior class travelled to Puerto Rico as freshmen. The Bulldogs were in Plantation City, Fla., from Dec. 27 to Jan. 3 for eight days of high volume training.
"Weather conditions were perfect, team attitude was relaxed and focused and everyone did an excellent job of stepping up their game," said Robert J.H. Kiphuth Director of Swimming Cristina Teuscher. "I am proud of the work they put in and the time we were able to spend together as a team."
Last year this matchup went in favor of Yale by a margin of 187-113. The divers swept the one-meter event and captain Rachel Rosenberg won both the one-meter and three-meter for the Bulldogs. On the swimming end Yale took 10 out of 14 events, with Athena Liao setting two records in Cornell's Teagle Hall Pool. Liao broke a seven-year-old record in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:03.94. She then broke the pool record in the 200-yard breaststroke by more than a second and a half with a time of 2:16.47. Liao was only a little more than a second off of these times when Yale raced Columbia on Nov. 11, but she and the team's other top-tier swimmers have had lots of championship racing experience in the time since, including at the Terrier Invitational and the U.S. Winter National Championships. Liao will look to lead the charge towards fast times this Saturday.
Cornell has seen more Ivy League opponents than Yale has by this point in the season, but each time coming up short of a win. The Big Red has lost to Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn and Princeton. Most recently Cornell placed first out of nine teams at the Ithaca College Invitational in early December. Yale has only seen one other Ivy team, losing to Columbia, though the Bulldogs have three successful scrimmages and a third-place finish at the Terrier Invitational under their belts.
Saturday's meet will be the first of two in the month of January for Yale. One week from Saturday the Bulldogs will head to Hanover, N.H., to race against Dartmouth and Penn. Then the team will have two weekends off of racing before the busy month of February begins, when the Bulldogs will race against Harvard and Princeton on Feb. 4-5, against Brown on Feb. 11, and at the 2012 Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships on Feb. 23-25.
The meet will begin this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with diving, and swimming will commence at 1:30 p.m. The meet take place at the Robert J.H. Kiphuth Exhibition Pool located inside Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
Report filed by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity