Feb. 15, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs will head into the Ivy League Championships with a 4-3 record in the Ivy League, after a convincing win over Brown this Sunday. The meet, which took place in the Robert Kiphuth Memorial Exhibition Pool, was tightly contested throughout the first several events, but the Bulldogs broke it open in the second half of the meet, eventually winning 181-119. Yale claimed 11 of the 16 events, with junior Susan Kim winning three individual and one relay event. Yale also set new pool records in the 200-yard breaststroke and 400-yard freestyle relay.
The fans came out to in support of the Bulldogs' final home meet of the season and the team's seniors. Senior Cameron Murphy had her own cheering section, dubbed the "Cameron Crazies", a tribute to the student section of Duke University basketball games. Yale fans brought along a sign and donned Duke Basketball jerseys. Along with the sign to Murphy, there were numerous other banners and posters congratulating the seniors, who were honored in a brief ceremony prior to the meet. The group being honored included Murphy, Emma Chapman, Emily Cole, Brenna Davis, Sara Fracapane, Katie French, Marilee Kiernan, Alexis Mann, Aidan McKinlay, Laura Strittmatter and Blake Walsh.
"We were really nervous heading into the meet," said Kim. "We were down about 29 points in the projection we did on paper before the meet. You never really know what you are going to get with Brown. Sometimes they show up and it is a tough race. We had a lot of surprises and our girls really stepped it up today. There were some really nice races."
The Bulldogs started off the meet in a dominating way, finishing one-two in the 200-yard medley relay. The team of freshman Hayes Hyde, Kim, junior Andrea Clifford and Mann took first with a time of 1:46.62. They were followed closely by the team of senior Brenna Davis, freshman Caroline Dewing, McKinlay, and freshman Erica Kao. That team finished in a time of 1:48.73 for a 15-2 point lead over the Bears.
Yale took second in the 1000-yard freestyle, despite leading for most of the race. Freshman Abigail Nunn had a slight lead on Brown's Allyson Schumacher for the first 21 laps. The two competed neck-to-neck for the next 16 laps, until Schumacher overtook Nunn with just three laps to go. Nunn held on for second and was joined by teammate Strittmatter who took third. Nunn's time was 10:12.02, while Stirttmatter's was 10:15.67.
In the 200-yard freestyle, Yale claimed second and third. Sophomore Annie Killian took second with a time of 1:55.21, followed by sophomore Kristin Darwin at 1:55.52. With back-to-back first place finishes for the Bears, they were able to close the gap to within five points, 30-25.
The 100-yard backstroke saw a close race between the top-three finishers. Sophomore Sage Erskine took first place for the Bears in a time of 59.10, but she was followed closely by Davis who just barely edged out Bridget Ballard of Brown by .06 seconds. Davis finished in a time of 59.34. Sophomore Leslie Roberson and Chapman finished in fifth and sixth, respectively.
With the Bears closing to within four points, the Bulldogs turned to their dominant breaststroker, Kim. Yale managed to go one-two in the 100-yard breaststroke with Kim claiming first, followed by Kiernan. Kim finished in a time of 1:04.22, with Kiernan touching in 1:05.55. Dewing also competed for the Bulldogs, coming in fourth with a time of 1:06.81. That race extended the Bulldogs lead to seven points and it was on to the 200-yard butterfly.
Hyde claimed top honors in the 200-yard butterfly, finishing in a time of 2:03.50. McKinlay and sophomore Ileana Lucos, back from injury, claimed third and fourth, respectively. That victory pushed the Bulldogs back out to a more comfortable 16 point lead, 64-48.
The final swim event, before the diving break, was the 50-yard freestyle. The Bulldogs dominated the event, taking the top two spots. Clifford managed to out-touch Mann by a mere .11 seconds. Clifford finished in a time of 23.85, followed closely by Mann at 23.96. Kao took fifth for the Bulldogs with a time of 24.61.
With the first seven events in the books, the Bulldogs held a strong lead 25 point lead, 78-53. The one-meter diving was next, where freshman Elizabeth Andrekovich, junior Marisa J Poverman, Rachel Rosenberg and Murphy all competed for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs took three of the top for spots with Rosenberg coming in first at 246.21 points. Poverman and Murphy came in second and third with scores of 230.99 and 226.94, respectively. Andrekovich rounded out the Yale team in seventh with a score of 209.47.
After the break, the Bulldogs came out firing in the 100-yard freestyle. Mann jumped out to a lead in the first 50 yards, but Brown came crawling back in the last 25 yards. It came down to the wire, but Mann held on for first place with a time of 52.71. Other Yale swimmers in the event were Kao and Darwin who finished in fifth and sixth, respectively. The Bulldogs lead held strong through the diving and 100-yard freestyle at 24 points, 88-62.
The 200-yard backstroke was a tightly contested event with Yale's Davis leading through the first 100. As they made the turn into the last 25 yards, however, Brown's Kelley Wisinger and Davis were in a dead heat. Wisinger managed to just barely out-touch Davis to claim first place. Wisinger finished in a time of 2:06.17 with Davis just .02 seconds behind her at 2:06.19. Roberson and Chapman finished in fifth and sixth with times of 2:13.28 and 2:17.74, respectively.
Kim hit the pool again for her strongest event, the 200-yard breaststroke, and did not disappoint. The field kept it close through the first half of the race, but it was all over once they made the turn into the last 100-yards. Kim took open water on the field and won the race in a time of 2:15.96, breaking the pool record of 2:17.15 that had stood since 1995.
The 500-yard freestyle saw the Bulldogs again fall victim to Brown's Schumacher, but Nunn kept it close and managed to take second in a time of 4:59.56. This was a milestone for the young freshman who had yet to break the five minute mark. Strittmatter and senior Emily Cole came in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Strittmatter finished in a time of 5:03.27 and Cole came in just behind at 5:08.92. Although the Bulldog's did not win the event, there was jubilation as Nunn touched the wall.
"This was her first time breaking five minutes," said Kim. "She has always been capable of doing it, but it has been a sort of mental block for her. It just clicked today, and we were all really pumped for her."
If there was any hope left on the Brown side of the pool, it disappeared with the 100-yard butterfly. The Bulldogs took the top three spots in dominating form. Clifford led the whole way for the Bulldogs, but the next three places were neck-to-neck the entire race. Hyde managed to claim second in a time of 56.67. Right behind her was McKinlay with a time of 57.03 just .07 seconds ahead of the fourth place brown swimmer. After that event, the Bulldogs led by a score of 145-100.
"This was a really big event for us," said Kim. "Andrea had a really great race. This just goes to show how much the rest is starting to help people. That was the fastest she has swum all season. It is nice to see our particular group of juniors really starting to perform well."
The last two events of the day were the 200-yard IM and 400-yard freestyle relay. Yale took home first place in both events. Kim took her third individual victory of the day in the 200-yard IM, finishing in a time of 2:08.33. The field stayed with Kim through the butterfly and backstroke legs of the race, but once Kim made the turn into the breaststroke, she took off, winning the event by open water. Davis and Darwin also compete for Yale coming in fourth and fifth, respectively.
The 400-yard freestyle relay saw another Yale victory by open water. The team of Clifford, Kao, Mann and Hyde dominated the event, winning by just under three seconds. Clifford started the race off for Yale with the fastest 100-yard split of any swimmer in the event, 51.92. Brown came back slightly in the second leg, but Mann and Hyde closed the deal with the team finishing in a time of 3:30.30 and a new pool record. The previous record of 3:30.58 had stood since 1999.
The Bulldogs will take a week and half off now as they prepare for the Ivy League Championships.
"This is really the best week of swimming practice all year," said Kim. "We get to take it a little easier and relax our muscles. It is a chance to work on the little things like starts and turns. But it is also a time to get mentally tough. Ivies are going to be a challenge and we need everyone ready to swim really fast."
The Ivy League Championships will take place on Long Island, N.Y. from Feb. 26-Feb. 28.