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Yale Defends Title at Bucknell Invitational

(photo courtesy David Silverman/
(photo courtesy David Silverman/

LEWISBURG, Pa.- The Yale Men's Swimming and Diving team won the Bucknell Invitational for the second straight year, pulling away from the talented host team in the final seven events on Sunday.

 Yale finished with 1,591.5 points to Bucknell's 1,431.5. LaSalle, Georgetown and Delaware rounded out the top five. The Bulldogs faced tougher competition at this year's invitational. No Yale swimmer won multiple individual events at the three-day meet. But the entire team rose to the challenge, and scored 41.5 more points than it did at the 2012 Bucknell Invitational.
The diving squad competed in the 1-meter final on Sunday evening. Senior Tyler Pramer finished in third place, sophomore James McNelis took fifth, and freshman Anthony Mercadante took eighth.
The last round of swimming finals began with the 1,650-yard freestyle. Freshman Ben Lerude displayed his great potential in the event, finishing in third place with a time of 15:39.41.  Sophomore Brian Hogan and junior Rob Harder took fourth and fifth place. Sophomore William Yang scored points with a 16th place finish, and senior Danny Clarke was seconds away from scoring.

The 200-yard backstroke was one of the highlights of the meet for the Elis.  Sophomore Kevin Stang and junior Mike Lazris placed first and second. Harder finished in fifth place, and freshman Alex Schultz took seventh place. Senior Andy Wingerson also scored points with a 23rd place finish.

Bucknell, facing a 92-point deficit, struck back in the 100-yard freestyle. A pack of Bucknell swimmers placed second, third, fourth and fifth in the event. Freshman Aaron Greenberg was the first Bulldog to finish, in sixth place with a time of 46.75. Sophomore Victor Zhang, freshman Oscar Miao and senior Pat Killian finished eighth, 13th and 19th, respectively.
Three Elis finished in the top 10 in the 200-yard breaststroke. Junior Andrew Heymann finished in third place, followed by junior Ronald Tsui in seventh and freshman Alex Goss in tenth. Senior Danny McDermott, sophomore Kendrick McDonald, and freshman Nick Sehlinger also added points to Yale's total. Heymann's time of 2:01.63 was nearly a second faster than his winning swim at Columbia on Nov. 16.
Yale was the best-represented team in the 200-yard butterfly 'A' final: four swimmers qualified for the top heat. Junior Alwin Firmansyah finished second with a time of 1:49.14. Lerude, Becker and Schultz pushed each other for the entire race and took fifth, sixth and seventh.
The Bulldogs ended the meet with a victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Greenberg, Firmansyah, Harder and Heymann won the race with a time of 3:02.75.
Tim Wise, the Robert J. H. Kiphuth Director of Men's swimming, said that his swimmers will head back to New Haven with a better understanding of what they must do to swim their best possible races.
"We made some mistakes, and had some great races. The swimmers will keep both in mind as they move forward with their training," Wise said.
The team gets a break from competition next weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday, but will return to action on Dec. 7 for a meet at Boston University. 

Report by Josh Mandell '16