January 17, 2009

Bulldogs Pick Up Ivy League Wins Against Dartmouth and Penn

Jan. 17, 2009

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HANOVER, N.H. - The Bulldog men's swimming and diving team came back after two defeats last week to pick up two hard fought wins against Dartmouth and Penn in Hanover, N.H.. The Bulldogs, who struggled with swimming to their potential last week, stepped up with fast times, including four new pool records at Dartmouth's Karl Michael Pool. The Bulldogs emerged victorious over Penn by a score of 184.5-115.5 while they bested Dartmouth by a tally of 244-56.

From the first races in the pool, the Bulldogs showed that they were determined to come away with two wins against Ivy League opponents. The Bulldogs now sit at 3-1 in the Ivy League with the two wins and are 5-2 overall. The Eli swimmers won nine of the 14 swimming events while the divers swept the top-two spots in both the one- and three-meter diving events. The team also had one-two finishes in four events. The top Bulldog finisher was never worse than third.

The Bulldogs got off to a strong start in the 200-yard medley relay, where the team won the event and set a new pool record. The team of senior Alex Righi, senior Matt Sweitzer, freshman Goksu Bicer, and senior Chris Pool won the event in a time of 1:31.47, almost one-and-a-half seconds in front of the second place team from Penn. Other Eli teams finished fourth, fifth and seventh in the event.

Righi was pleased with the team's performance in the relay.

"The relay was a good performance by everyone on the team," Righi said. "While we focus on swimming well, getting a pool record is always nice."

With momentum on their side, the team never looked back. The Bulldogs next took to the water in the 1000-yard freestyle event, taking second, third and fourth. Senior Dennen McCloskey led the way for the Bulldogs with his second-place finish in a time of 9:45.53. Sophomore Matt Lee was third in 9:48.71 and senior Ilya Byzov was fourth in 9:55.12. The event was won by Cameron Hood of Penn in a time of 9:41.18.

Bicer was the top Bulldog in the 200-yard freestyle event, taking second place in 1:42.49. Sophomore Lugar Choi also made it into the top five for the team, finishing fourth in 1:43.42.

Righi picked up his second victory of the day in the 100-yard backstroke event, winning in 50.75. Sophomore Jason Choi was fourth in 53.54 and junior Thomas Robinson was fifth in 53.61. Although Righi did not set a new pool record in the event, he is still the pool record holder in the event from a performance in 2006.

The toughest event for the Bulldogs was the 100-yard breaststroke. The squad was led by Sweitzer's third-place finish in 58.66. Freshman Christopher Luu also placed in the top-five with a fifth-place finish in 1:00.03, missing fourth by just two-hundredths. Senior Chaz Maul of Penn won the event and set a new pool record by more than one second with a time of 56.05.

The 200-yard butterfly was a strong event for the Bulldogs, with the team taking both first and second. Pool started off the scoring for the team, taking first in 1:50.50 while freshman Scott Shinton came in second in 1:54.06. Senior Tyler Scheid was fifth in 1:56.22.

Righi took his third win of the day in the 50-yard freestyle. Righi, who placed second in the event last year at the NCAA Championships, showed why he is one of the nation's top swimmers with his new pool record in a time of 20.46. Sophomore Kyle Veatch was fourth in 21.73 while senior Dan Li was fifth in 21.90.

The next event, the 100-yard freestyle, brought another win and pool record for Righi. Righi, who was second in the event last year at the NCAA Championships, won by more than one-and-a-half seconds in 45.04 seconds. Choi was third in 47.23.

McCloskey picked up a win for the Bulldogs in the 200-yard backstroke event, finishing in 1:52.49. Robinson was third in 1:55.20 and Veatch was fourth in 1:56.32.

Luu was the top Eli student-athlete in the 200-yard backstroke, finishing second in 2:10.13. Junior Craig Steen was close behind in third (2:11.56) with Sweitzer in fourth (2:12.45). Penn freshman Brendan McHugh was first in 2:08.83.

Lee picked up his second top-three performance of the day in the 500-yard freestyle event. His second-place finish (4:43.79) brought the team much needed points. Byzov was fifth for the Bulldogs (4:47.78). Penn junior James Fee won in 4:37.09.

Pool turned in another record setting performance in the 100-yard butterfly, winning the event and setting a new pool record. The old pool record was 49.50 set in 1968 by Doug Russell who set the mark before going on to win the Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly at the 1968 Olympic Games. Pool finished more than one-second ahead of the next nearest competitor with his time of 49.22. He was followed by Bicer in second (50.57). Scheid tied for fifth in a time of 52.69.

Choi picked up a win in the 200-yard individual medley, the final individual event of the meet. He finished in 1:56.79 and was followed by McCloskey in third (1:57.74.)

Using great teamwork, the Bulldogs captured first in the final event of the meet, the 400-yard freestyle relay. The team of Bicer, Choi, Li and Pool won in 3:10.20. Bulldog teams also placed third and fourth in the event.

The divers were also dominant performers at the meet, winning both of their events. Freshman Colton Staab won the one-meter event with 267.20. He was closely followed by sophomore Eric Olson 260.75 in second. Junior Drew Teer was fifth (249.90). The places were the same in the three-meter event, but the divers showed their depth by switching up the finishing order. Olson won the three-meter event with a score of 318.65, just under the NCAA Zone Diving Championship standard of 320. Olson has already qualified for the event. Teer was second (298.10) and Staab was fifth (254.45).

The two strong wins by the Bulldogs came at the perfect time.

"I think that the meet was a great improvement for the team," Righi said. "Our performances today show that we can suffer a hard blow, like our losses last week, and come back and swim hard the next week. We all got up and raced really well at the meet. There was not one event that we had a bad performance in. The most important thing that we can take away from the event is confidence. There were many impressive performances today, including by Chris Pool in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly and Tyler Scheid in the 100-yard butterfly. Goksu Bicer was really good in the 100-yard butterfly and Lugar Choi was impressive in the 200-yard individual medley.

The wins are a good confidence boost for the team, which next faces tough rivals Harvard and Princeton on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

"The H-Y-P meet will be our biggest dual-meet of the year," Righi said. "We need to be ready to swim and it will be pretty tough. These wins give us confidence looking forward."

Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity