Bulldogs Edged Out by Columbia

Rob Harder. (photo by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity)
Rob Harder. (photo by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW YORK- The Yale men's swimming and diving team lost a close meet to Columbia on Saturday evening, finishing with 147 points to Columbia's 153.

The Bulldogs and Lions traded blows and kept it close for the entire meet, but Columbia's victory in the final event, 400-yard freestyle relay, sealed Yale's fate.

Junior Andrew Heymann claimed three first-place finishes, more than any other swimmer at the meet. His wins in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke races kept victory within reach for the Bulldogs as the meet went down to the wire.

The Bulldogs' wealth of talent in the distance freestyle events was on full display against Columbia. Sophomore Brian Hogan won the 500 and 1000-yard freestyle races. Freshman Ben Lerude followed close behind, taking second in the 500 and third in the 1000. Yale dominated the distance freestyle races without the aid of senior Rob Harder, the team record holder in both events.

Harder scored crucial points in events that the Bulldogs could not attack with the same depth as the distance races. He took first place in the 200-yard freestyle and the 200-yard backstroke, which helped counter the packs of Columbia point scorers that followed him in both events. Sophomore Kevin Stang contributed to the effort by finishing second in the 200-yard backstroke.

In the diving competition, senior Tyler Pramer won the three-meter dive and took fourth in the one-meter dive. Sophomore James McNelis placed third in both events.

The Lions managed to tip the balance of the meet their way with close wins in both of the relays. In the opening 200-yard medley relay, Yale's A-team of junior Mike Lazris, Heymann, junior Alwin Firmansyah and freshman Aaron Greenberg finished second with a time of 1:31.83, just .37 behind Columbia. In the 400-freestyle relay, Firmansyah, Zhang, freshman Aaron Greenberg and Harder also came in second, a mere .22 seconds away from a win that would have given them the meet.

Despite the difficult loss, the Bulldogs' positive energy remains strong as they return to Yale to continue training. The team will compete at the Bucknell Invitational in Lewisburg, PA from Nov. 22-24. 

report by Josh Mandell '16