Dec. 4, 2008
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Yale women's swim team is in third place at the University of Virginia Invitational after day one of competition. With 242 points, they sit just five points behind the Golden Rams of West Chester (247). No. 13 Virginia has a commanding lead so far, with 490 points.
The meet, which is formatted like an NCAA Championship, featured a morning session of prelims, followed by a night session of finals. The events of day one were the 200-yard freestyle relay, 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard IM, 50-yard freestyle and the 400-yard medley relay. The Bulldogs out-placed the Golden Rams in every swimming event, but West Chester was able to make up the points in diving. Without diving, Yale would lead West Chester by a score of 242-178. However, Yale's divers will be diving in their own championship-style invitational this coming weekend, and therefore did not make the trip to Virginia.
The Bulldogs started off the night session with a strong showing in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The team of freshman Hayes Hyde, freshman Emily Dominski, junior Andrea Clifford and senior Alexis Mann picked up 32 points for the Bulldogs with a third-place finish. The University of Virginia took the top two spots, with times of 1:32.02 and 1:32.52, respectively. Yale was just a couple seconds behind, with its time of 1:35.69. Yale's `B' team managed to pick up 26 points for the Bulldogs, with a sixth-place finish in a time of 1:41.19. That team consisted of sophomore Kristin Darwin, freshman Erica Kao, freshman Abigail Nunn, and freshman Caroline Dewing. After the first event, the Bulldogs were tied with West Chester at 58 and just 16 points behind the Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers dominated the 500-yard freestyle, however, taking the top six places for a total of 95 points. Yale managed to pick up some points of its own taking the last two spots in the `A' final. Nunn took seventh place with a time of 5:01.68, almost a full second faster than her morning prelim time. Senior Laura Strittmatter took eighth with a time of 5:06.44. Nunn and Strittmatter combined to pick up 23 points for Yale, and the Bulldogs added 13 more from the `B' final, thanks to senior Marilee Kiernan and sophomore Annie Killian.
The 200-yard IM was again a Virginia-heavy final. Yale managed to pick up three places this time, taking sixth through eighth in the `A' final, as well as ninth, 11th, and 13th in the `B' final. Junior Susan Kim led the Bulldogs with her sixth-place finish, picking up 13 points for Yale with a time of 2:06.15. She was joined in the `A' final by freshman Hayes Hyde and sophomore Ileana Lucos. Hyde took seventh place in a time of 2:09.03, while Lucos came in eighth with a time of 2:12.51. Senior Blake Walsh came in ninth, followed by Darwin in 11th and senior captain Aidan McKinlay in 13th.
Yale's highest individual finish of the day came in the 50-yard freestyle, where Dominski managed to take fifth place. The `A' final saw just .67 seconds of separation between first place and eighth. The event was won by Virginia swimmer Mei Christensen, who just last week was named ACC performer of the week, as well as national swimmer of the week, by CollegeSwimming.com. She finished the event in a time of 23.07. Dominski was only .44 seconds off the lead, with a time of 23.51. Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that Dominski came into the final having finished seventh in the prelims. She shaved .12 seconds off her time and dropped two places into fifth. In doing so, she picked up 14 points for Yale in an event that saw Virginia take home 97 points. Four other Yalies scored points in the `B' final, brining Yale's total up to 35 for the event. Mann, Clifford, Kao and Dewing took ninth, 10th, 14th and 15th, respectively.
The final event of the evening was the 400-yard medley relay, where Yale again had a strong relay performance. The team of Dominski, Kim, McKinlay and Mann took third in a time of 3:50.76, bringing home 32 points for the Bulldogs. Yale's `B' squad also managed to pick up points coming in sixth with a time of 4:05.08. That team consisted of Darwin, Kiernan, Hyde and Clifford. The event was won by Virginia's `B' team, which broke the pool and team records and achieved a NCAA B cut with a time of 3:37.39. The Cavaliers `B' team, which came in second, managed to break the pool record and achieve a NCAA B cut, but missed out on the team record, with itstime of 3:38.95.
The Bulldogs will hit the pool again Friday with another morning of prelims, followed by a night session of finals. Friday's events will be the 200-yard medley relay, 400-yard IM, 100-yard fly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke and 800-yard freestyle relay.
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity