PRINCETON, N.J. – Following three hard-fought days at Princeton's Big Al Open, the Yale women's swimming and diving team finished second. In a truly impressive early season performance for a young squad, the Bulldogs totaled 961 points over three days of competition, ahead of everyone but defending Ivy League champion Princeton, with 1113 points.
Yale's swimmers and divers went into Sunday's competition down by 65 points (656-721) and knew that it would take a number of special performances to capture the overall meet win. The Bulldogs delivered in the first event of the day, the 1650-yard freestyle. Reigning Ivy League champion Eva Fabian won by a wide margin, finishing in 16:15.33. Isla Hutchinson-Maddox was second in the event, swimming a 16:29.94 to finish nearly 20 seconds in front of the third-place finisher. Casey Lincoln also got in on the action, finishing seventh in 16:58.38.
The Bulldogs continued to roll in the 200-yard backstroke, with Michelle Chintanaphol notching the win in 1:58.86. Courtney Randolph was also in the mix, finishing fourth in 2:01.65, while Olivia Jameson and Elizabeth Fosburgh also scored critical points for the Bulldogs, finishing 10th (2:03.05) and 12th (2:04.12), respectively.
Yale had four swimmers in the A final of the 200-yard breaststroke, led by Ali Stephens-Pickeral, who finished second in 2:16.94. Emma Smith was third in 2:17.73, followed by Randolph in fifth (2:20.49) and Elizabeth Larsen (2:25.19).
In the next event, the 200-yard butterfly, Yale's Hutchinson-Maddox blew past a Princeton swimmer on the last leg to win in 1:58.64. Sydney Hirschi was fifth in 2:00.81 and Fabian rounded out the A final, finishing eighth in 2:04.78.
Yale finished second in the 400-yard freestyle, with the "A" relay team of Hirschi, Jameson, Wujciak and Zhou finishing behind Princeton in 3:20.64. The "B" relay team of Chintanaphol, Rebecca DeLaFuente, Emily Gudbranson and Smith was eighth in 3:30.40.
Overall, the weekend's meet was a great success for the Bulldogs. Yale won eight events and was competitive with Princeton for the entire weekend, despite having much fewer entries than the host Tigers did.
Robert J.H. Kiphuth Head Coach Jim Henry was quite pleased with the results from the weekend.
"The team came together this weekend both in and out of the water. Together they swam and dove with confidence and focus. We started the meet strong on Friday and improved our racing with each session of the meet. Across the team in every event there were strong performances and time drops highlighted by Emma Smith's new team record in the 400 IM, and the outstanding 1-2 finish in the 800 Free Relay. The team enjoyed competing and it showed. We all are looking forward to the second half of the season."
The results from this meet bode well for the remaining portion of the season, which will begin when Yale hosts Cornell on Jan. 8. In the meantime, the Bulldogs will continue to push themselves in training, aiming towards their season goal of a strong Ivy League championship meet and qualifying for NCAA's.
Report filed by Lyon Van Voorhis '15, Yale Sports Publicity