March 3, 2009

Cole Finishes Seventh in 1650-yard Freestyle at ECACs

March 3, 2009

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - While most of the women's swimming and diving team battled at Ivy League Championships, senior Emily Cole was waging her own war as the sole Yale competitor at the ECAC Championships. Cole, a distance freestyler, competed in two events in Cambridge, the 500- and 1650-yard freestyle, finishing in 19th and 7th, respectively.

Cole's swimming career at Yale has not followed a typical path. Cole swam for Yale her freshman year, and then due to injuries and mono, decided to stop swimming at the beginning of her sophomore year.

"I just did not think I could come back again," said Cole. "My body was telling me it was time to rest. But, then this year Coach Keefe essentially pulled me out of recreational swim and told me to come back to practice."

It paid off, since Cole was the only swimmer not on the Ivy roster to qualify for ECACs. Cole headed up to Cambridge with the men's ECAC qualifiers and coaches Laura O'Brien and Kevin Norman.

"It was a really fun relaxed atmosphere," said Cole. "Kevin and Laura were just great. They were really positive and energetic. They guys were great too, supporting me and motivating me the whole way."

Cole opened the meet in the 500-yard freestyle on Friday. She finished 19th in the morning heat, just missing out on making the night session with a time of 5:08.25. While not good enough to make the finals, it was a season-best for Cole.

"The 500 was a season-best time, but I was hoping to go a bit faster," said Cole. "It is always hard the first morning of a long meet to get up and go. I am also typically a better finals swimmer, so it was unfortunate not to have a chance to go faster."

Without an entry in any Saturday events, Cole had time to get ready and prepare for the 1650-yard freestyle which would be a one-time deal.

"Having that day off before the mile event was really nice," said Cole. "It is such a mentally and physically tough race that having the extra time to prepare was nice."

The sheer length of the event precludes it from having both heats and finals and the day off proved to be extremely beneficial. Cole took seventh place in the event with a time of 17:30.48. Though not important for a team score, Cole picked up 12 points and a big season-best time.

"I was really happy with the mile," said Cole. "It was a season-best time by about 49 seconds and was only 12 seconds off my lifetime-best. But, we had been talking a lot about goals recently and I hit my goal exactly. It was a really nice way to go out."

Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity