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Bulldogs Beat Cornell for First Ivy Win

The 200 medley relay. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The 200 medley relay. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn.- The Yale men's swimming and diving team opened the new year with a 181-119 win over Cornell at the Robert J. H. Kiphuth Exhibition Pool. The Bulldogs, who had not competed since their Dec. 7 victory at Boston University, had a successful return to racing. Several swimmers recorded their best times of the season. 

The divers competed on Tuesday evening. Senior Tyler Pramer placed second in the 1-meter dive and won the 3-meter dive. His score of 368.03 in the 3-meter round was nearly 80 points ahead of his closest Cornell competitor. Sophomore James McNelis was the second highest scoring Yalie after Pramer in both events. 

Yale's swimmers made a statement in their opening race on Wednesday morning when they claimed first and second place in the 200-yard medley relay. The winning relay of freshman Aaron Greenberg, juniors Andrew Heymann  and Alwin Firmansyah and freshman Oscar Miao finished in 1:32.51.

Junior Rob Harder returned to the 1000-yard freestyle on Wednesday and won the race with a time of 9:30.37. Sophomore Brian Hogan and Senior Pat Killian added to Yale's lead with a 1-2 finish in the 200-yard freestyle. The Big Red made it closer in the next few races. Cornell swimmers won the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard butterfly, and took second and third in the 200-yard breaststroke. But the Bulldogs reasserted themselves in the 50-yard freestyle: Miao, Firmansyah, and sophomore Victor Zhang claimed the top three places. Miao smashed his previous best time with a 20.83 finish. 

The Elis won the next four events as well. Greenberg won the 100-yard freestyle, sophomore Kevin Stang won the 200-yard backstroke, Heymann won the 200-yard breaststroke, and freshman Ben Lerude won the 500-yard freestyle. Sophomore William Yang made the 500 a close race; he finished in 3:43.72, just 1.32 behind Lerude.

With Firmansyah, one of Yale's best 100-yard butterflyers, not entered in the event, Cornell was able to take first and second. Freshman Alex Schultz swam the race for the first time in his Yale career, and placed third with an impressive time of 51.92. Firmansyah swam the 200-yard IM and won the event with a time of 1:51.55, his fastest this season. Zhang and Greenberg took second and third. In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Miao, Hogan, Killian and Harder cruised to a first place finish in 3:06.23 to conclude the meet. 

Yale's strong performance against Cornell is a testament to the team's hard work over the winter recess. The Bulldogs travelled to Plantation, Florida for a training trip from Dec. 28-Jan. 4. They have continued to train intensely since returning to New Haven. With no classes to worry about, the swimmers have had more time to develop camaraderie and strengthen their commitment to achieving their goals. Tim Wise, the Robert J. H. Kiphuth Director of Men's Swimming, saw the Cornell meet as another step forward for the team. 

"I was pleased with the effort today.  The guys were fired up to race.  We had a decent number of season best times, and considering the volume and intensity of the work we have been doing maybe those results are even more impressive.  Now we turn our attention to Saturday's meets which will require us to perform at an even higher level," Wise said. 

On Saturday, Yale will compete against Penn and Dartmouth at the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool. Both the men's and women's teams will race at the meet, which is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. on Jan. 11.