Jan. 31, 2009
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Bulldog men's swimming and diving team opened its first day of competition at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet held at Blodgett Pool at Harvard. The two-day event features the toughest dual meet competition of the year for the Bulldogs and is a good chance for the team to turn in fast times against good competition. Princeton is currently ranked 22nd in the nation while Harvard is currently unranked, but has been ranked earlier in the season and received votes in the latest rankings.
While the Bulldogs are currently trailing both the Tigers and the Crimson, they have turned in strong performances and fast times, including an NCAA B cut for senior captain Alex Righi in the 100-yard backstroke. The Bulldogs have notched two wins, both by Righi so far in the meet. As well, the team picked up two second-place finishes. Princeton is currently leading the Bulldogs 132-54 while Harvard is leading the Bulldogs 129-57.
The team started off the day with one of its best performances of the day in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The team of Righi, senior Chris Pool, sophomore Kyle Veatch and freshman Goksu Bicer turned in its best showing of the year with a time that was only 37 one-hundredths of a second off of an NCAA B cut. The Bulldogs placed second in a time of 1:20.77, while Princeton won the event with a time of 1:19.11.
The next event up on the schedule for the Bulldogs was the 200-yard freestyle. The top placer for the Eli squad was senior Sebastian Cousins in 11th in a time of 1:40.93. He was closely followed by sophomore Lugar Choi in 1:40.98 in 12th and Bicer in 14th with a time of 1:41.12.
The first individual win of the day for Righi was next up on the schedule for the team. Righi, who has already obtained a B cut in the 100-yard backstroke event, again surpassed the standard by more than three-tenths of a second. Righi won the event in a time of 47.96. This was his third title in the event as he has won the event at the meet every year since his sophomore year. The next Eli swimmer in the event was junior Thomas Robinson in 10th with a time of 51.85.
Senior Matt Sweitzer again led the Yale squad in the 100-yard breaststroke event. Sweitzer, swimming against the toughest competition of the year in the event, swam 57.65 to place 10th in the event. Freshman Christopher Luu was 15th in the event in a time of 59.57. Senior Easton Chen of Princeton won the event in a time of 55.42.
The Bulldogs then competed in the 200-yard butterfly, where they were led by butterfly specialist senior Chris Pool. Pool placed 10th in the event in a time 1:50.42. He was followed by senior Tyler Scheid in 13th in a time of 1:51.21 and freshman Scott Shinton in 14th 1:51.45. Princeton senior Dan Eckel won in a time of 1:44.08, a time that was good enough for a NCAA B cut.
Righi next wound up leading the meet in one of his best events, the 50-yard freestyle. The Yale captain, who placed second in the event at the NCAA Championships last year, won the event in the event in 20.12. Righi, who has won the event for three straight years, just barely edged out Harvard senior David Guernsey who finished with a time of 20.18. Veatch was 12th in 21.50 while junior Jon Taylor was 14th in 21.80.
The Bulldogs next faced stiff competition in the 200-yard individual medley relay where they were led by senior Dennen McCloskey. McCloskey was the top Eli swimmer in a time of 1:51.05, just one-hundredth off of the 11th place competitor. The event was won by Princeton senior Will Schaffer in a time of 1:48.39.
In the distance events, the Bulldogs started off the meet in the 1650-yard freestyle event, the longest event of the meet. Sophomore Matt Lee started off the Bulldogs with a ninth-place finish in a time of 15:54.08. He was followed by senior Ilya Byzov in 10th (16:10.23) and Paolo Benvenuto in 12th (16:31.30). The event was won by Harvard junior Alex Meyer in a time of 15:00.13. The team closed off the day with the 400-yard medley relay, where the top team from Yale finished sixth in a time of 3:22.68. Yale teams also finished eighth, ninth and 11th.
Perhaps the most successful event of the day for the team as measured by depth came on the diving springboard, an area that the team has been very successful at this season. While the Bulldogs did not capture the top place, they did place all three divers in the top six places, a better finish than any other team in the competition. Freshman Colton Staab started off the Bulldog finishers in the one-meter diving event with a score of 260.05. Junior Drew Teer also turned in a strong performance with his fourth-place finish in the event with a score of 251.00 while sophomore Eric Olson was sixth with a score of 248.05. Harvard sophomore Zac Ranta was first with a score of 288.05.
The Bulldogs will resume competition at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sport Publicity