NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale men's swimming and diving team will begin its regular season on Friday at 3:00 p.m. with a meet against Southern Connecticut State University, two weeks after competing in a pre-season scrimmage against Georgetown.
After winning seven of eight regular season meets in 2012-2013 and finishing fourth at the Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships, the Bulldogs have even higher goals for this season. The team's top swimmers in every event will return to the pool this year. Only three seniors graduated after last season, and the roster has been filled out with a strong freshman class of seven swimmers and a diver. Senior Ed Becker was elected captain for this season. With the help of fellow seniors Danny Clarke, Calvin Jones, Pat Killian and Danny McDermott, Becker hopes to unite his teammates in a single-minded pursuit of excellence.
"The most important thing going forward is that we re-focus ourselves on the goals we set at the end of last semester, and that we get the freshmen to buy into what we're trying to accomplish," Becker said.
Alex Goss, Aaron Greenberg, Ben Lerude, Oscar Miao, Alex Schultz, Nick Sehlinger and Ian Wooley will compete in their first home meet on Saturday. Tim Wise, the Robert J. H. Kiphuth Director of Men's Swimming, said that the freshmen are already keeping pace with the older swimmers at practices.
"Every year we rely on freshmen to challenge the returning swimmers," said Wise. "They understand that responsibility."
The Elis' distance freestyle specialists hope to build on their dominant performance at the Ivy League Championship last season. Junior Rob Harder won the 500 and 1000-yard freestyle races, setting Yale records in both events. He also placed second in the 1650-yard freestyle. Sophomore Brian Hogan placed fourth in the 1000 and the 1650 at the championship meet. Sophomore Josh Ginsborg will make a long-awaited return to the pool this year after an injury kept him from competing last season. Ginsborg placed fifth in the 500-yard freestyle as a freshman at Ivy's in 2012.
Yale will be strong in the sprint freestyle events as well. Senior John Davis and junior Andrew Heymann both broke 21 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle last year, and senior Patrick Killian and junior Alwin Firmansyah are poised to break that barrier soon. Heymann will be an even greater force for the Bulldogs in the breaststroke events; he set Yale records in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke races at Ivy's last season. Likewise, Firmansyah holds records in the 200-yard butterfly and 200-yard IM.
The diving squad graduated Aaron Seriff-Cullick '13 last May, but hopes to make up for the loss with the addition of freshman Anthony Mercadante, a Junior Olympics champion from Florida. Seniors Tyler Pramer and Cole Florey bring experience and leadership to the team, and sophomore James McNelis is coming off of a strong first season.
Yale's home opener against the Southern Connecticut State Owls will be an exciting start to the season. SCSU is one of the nation's best Division II swimming programs.The men's team has won three consecutive Northeast-10 conference championships, and has produced 56 All-Americans during the tenure of head coach Tim Quill.
After racing SCSU, Yale begins Ivy League competition with a meet against Columbia on Nov. 16. The team will compete at the Bucknell Invitational on Nov. 22-23. The Bulldogs will travel to Boston University on Dec. 7 for their last meet before the winter recess. In January they will host Cornell, then Penn and Dartmouth in a tri-meet. After a meet at Rutgers University on Jan. 25, Yale will face Harvard and Princeton in the next installment of their historic rivalry on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. It will be the seniors' last home meet. Next up will be a dual meet at Brown on Feb. 8. The Elis' last and greatest challenge will be the Ivy League Championship in Cambridge from Feb. 27 through March 1.
Friday's meet against SCSU will start at 3:00 p.m. at Robert J. H. Kiphuth Exhibition Pool.
Report filed by Josh Mandell '16