Dec. 7, 2008
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The women's swimming team concluded competition at the University of Virginia Invitational on Saturday. Yale came into the final day trailing the Cavaliers by 418 points, but leading West Chester by 18 points. Yale (817) increased its lead over the Golden Rams (719) to 98 points, but could not catch a dominating Virginia team (1,335).
"We are definitely pleased with the result," said junior Susan Kim. "At this point in the season, it is all about trying to perform while mentally and physically tired. To see personal and season bests at a meet like this, where we are basically having the equivalent of double practices every day, is impressive. UVA is beyond anything we have competed against. To say they are tough competition would be an understatement. It was great, it felt very much like a dual meet down the stretch."
The day opened with the 1650-yard freestyle, a test of endurance. Virginia claimed the top six spots, but freshman Abigail Nunn, senior Laura Strittmatter and sophomore Annie Killian were able to claim seventh, eighth and ninth place, respectively. Nunn finished in a time of 17:13.95, scoring 12 points for the Bulldogs. Strittmatter was just .31 seconds off of Nunn, with a time of 17:14.26. Killian finished the race in a time of 17:42.45, scoring nine points for the Bulldogs. In total, Yale claimed 32 points.
The 200-yard backstroke was another record-setting event for Virginia's Mei Christensen. Sophomore Kristin Darwin and senior Blake Walsh managed to claim sixth and eighth place, respectively. Darwin finished the race in a time of 2:12.36, while Walsh clocked in at 2:13.82. But it was Christensen's time of 1:54.71 that broke the team, pool and ACC records. She also eclipsed the NCAA B time of 1:57.90.
Yale picked up a number of points in the 100-yard freestyle, with seven swimmers registering points. Freshman Emily Dominski led the way in sixth place with a time of 52.29. Right behind her was freshman Hayes Hyde in seventh place. Hyde finished in a time of 52.54. Yale also had five swimmers place in the `B' final for points. Senior Alexis Mann, junior Andrea Clifford, freshman Erica Kao, Killian and Strittmatter finished in ninth, 10th, 11th, 13th and 15th, respectively. All seven swimmers combined to pick up 53 points for Yale.
Yale's best finish of the entire invitational came in the 200-yard breaststroke. Kim claimed Yale's only first-place finish and 20 points for the Bulldogs. She finished the race in a commanding time of 2:15.13, almost a full second faster than the second-place finisher. Kim's time came in .40 seconds under the NCAA `B' cut time. That is an important time for swimmers hoping to make it to the NCAA Championship. Out of all the Division I schools, 500 swimmers are invited to attend NCAAs. Anyone who makes an "A" cut time gets an automatic bid. The rest of the field gets filled out from fastest to slowest of the "B" cuts, until there are about 34 swimmers in each event.
"I was very excited and super surprised," said Kim. "It is always hard to swim fast during the sixth session of a three-day meet. I could feel my muscles tightening up the entire race, so to come up at the end with a personal best was great. It definitely raises my expectations for the rest of the year, but I have a lot of work left to do if I hope to make it to NCAAs."
The 200-yard Butterfly also featured some strong Bulldog finishes. Hyde came in fourth with a time of 2:00.94, claiming 15 points for the Bulldogs. Also in the "A" final were sophomore Ileana Lucos in sixth and Nunn in eighth. Lucos finished in a time of 2:04.53, while Nunn clocked in at 2:09.59. In the "B" final, senior captain Aidan McKinlay and Walsh took ninth and 10th, respectively. Yale ended up scoring 55 points in the event.
The Bulldogs will now head into a long winter break of training.
"We will be hitting the yardage in December, but it is hectic with finals, reading week, and people wanting to go home for the holidays," said Kim. "We will work on building up more strength, and then when we return from our training trip, we will transition into speed work and get ready to power through to the end of the season."
Yale's swim team will head to its training trip in Puerto Rico and return to action against Cornell and Navy on Jan. 9th.
While the women's swimmers finished things up in Virginia, the divers were getting underway at the Galbraith Invitational. Saturday's competition was in the three-meter diving, and Yale managed to get one diver into the finals. Freshman Rachel Rosenberg placed seventh with a finals score of 231.25. The event was won by Annie Fogerty of the University of Massachusetts with a score of 287.60.
The invitational has been structured just like a championship meet with a prelim and a final. There is no team score taken, so it is a good opportunity for the divers to focus on individual achievement. The invitational is split up over two days, with the three-meter diving on Saturday and the one-meter diving on Sunday.
Yale sent the full team to Rutgers for the championship, holding no one back to compete at Virginia. The team is made up of Rosenberg, freshman Elizabeth Andrekovich, senior Cameron Murphy and junior Marisa J Poverman.
Yale put up a strong showing in the prelims, with Rosenberg advancing and two Yale divers just missing the finals by a handful of points. Poverman and Andrekovich came in ninth and 10th with scores of 211.20 and 209.75, respectively. The eighth place score of 215.60 was the last one to make it into the finals. That score was achieved by Sarah Horstmann of University of Massachusetts. Murphy came in 19th with a score of 178.90.
Rosenberg came into the finals having placed fifth in the prelims with a score of 217.70. She improved her score in the final round, but so did everyone else. Rosenberg's score of 231.25 was 56.35 points behind the winner Fogerty. Karen Upperco of the University of Massachusetts took second with a score of 281.20. Rounding out the top three was Courney Adlam of Penn State with a score of 269.
The Galbraith Invitational will conclude Sunday with the one-meter diving. Divers will dive both a prelim and final.
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity