Feb. 1, 2009
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Bulldog men's swimming and diving team wrapped up competition at the double-dual Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet Sunday afternoon with losses to both teams. The Bulldogs, however, picked up wins in two events Sunday to go along with wins in two events on Saturday. While the team did lose to No. 22 Princeton 253-100 and to Harvard 251-102, the Bulldogs did earn NCAA B cuts in two events because of the fast competition that propelled the swimmers to fast times.
For the Eli swimmers and divers, the meet was a good opportunity to be challenged before heading into the championship portion of the season. Harvard and Princeton have both won the Ivy League titles in the past two years and Harvard was also the top team in the ECAC last year. Both teams were undefeated in the Ivy League before Princeton's win over the Crimson. With the two losses, the Bulldogs dropped to 3-3 in Ivy League competition, but will look to pick up another Ivy League win against Brown on Feb. 15 at Kiphuth Pool.
Senior captain Alex Righi was pleased with the meet, despite losing.
"I was happy with the way we swam," Righi said. "Harvard and Princeton have a lot of depth. It is always tough to lose. We were just hoping for some good swims and we did that."
The Bulldogs started off competition on Sunday with a sixth-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay. The team of junior Thomas Robinson, senior Matt Sweitzer, freshman Goksu Bicer and senior Chris Pool swam to a time of 3:22.68. Other relay squads from Yale also placed eighth, ninth and 11th. Harvard won the race in a time of 3:14.18, good enough for an NCAA B cut.
The next event up for the team was the 200-yard medley relay. The team of sophomore Alex Gornitzky, sophomore Sam Goldsmith, freshman Matt Boone and senior Dan Li was seventh in a time of 1:36.73. Harvard won the event in a time of 1:28.52, good enough for an NCAA B cut.
Senior Dennen McCloskey turned in a strong performance in the 400-yard individual medley, an event that he earned an Olympic Trials qualifying time in last summer. McCloskey was seventh in the event in a time of 1:58.60. Junior Craig Steen was 14th (4:08.46) and freshman Scott Shinton was 15th (4:09.04). The event was won by Princeton's Colin Hanna in a NCAA B cut time of 3:51.87.
Righi picked up his third win of the meet in the 100-yard freestyle event. Righi, who won each of his individual events at the H-Y-P meet, showed the competition the speed that he used in placing second in the event at the NCAA Championships last year. Righi won in a time of 42.71 and helped lead three swimmers to NCAA B cut times in the event. Righi has now won the 100-yard freestyle event in each of his four years of competition at the H-Y-P meet. Sophomore Kyle Veatch was 12th (47.18) and sophomore Lugar Choi was 13th (47.48).
Righi was satisfied with his swim and the meet.
"I was happy with the way I swam," Righi said. "I know that I have speed to go fast at NCAAs and this is a good indicator I can go fast. Most swimmers are set on competing at the ECAC and EISL Championships, but I am looking ahead to the NCAA Championships. Doug Lennox from Princeton is always a great competitor and puts down fast times, so I was happy to beat him."
A strong duo highlighted the Bulldog efforts in the 200-yard backstroke event, with two swimmers placing in the top-eight. McCloskey was sixth for the Bulldogs (1:48.12) while junior Thomas Robinson was seventh (1:48.74). Junior Colin McCarthy was 13th in the event (1:53.51). The event was won by Harvard's Jordan Diekema in a time of 1:45.16.
Righi was impressed by the performances that McCloskey and Robinson turned in.
"Both Dennen McCloskey and Thomas Robinson swam very well," Righi said. "In particular, Thomas Robinson's 200-yard backstroke was a solid improvement and much better than he has been swimming this year. Zak Murez also swam the meet of his life, getting personal best times in all of his events."
The one-two punch of Pool and freshman Goksu Bicer again performed very well in the 100-yard butterfly. Swimming against Princeton senior Doug Lennox, who placed fourth in the 200-yard butterfly at the NCAA Championships last year and competed in the 2008 Olympics, meant that the race was fast. Pool led the Bulldogs to a fourth-place finish in a time of 48.33 while Bicer was sixth in 48.77. Lennox won the race by almost a second in an NCAA B cut time of 46.19.
Senior Sebastian Cousins was the top Bulldog in the 500-yard freestyle, taking 10th in a time of 4:36.09. He was followed by sophomore Matt Lee in 11th (4:36.66) and senior Ilya Byzov in 12th (4:40.84). Harvard junior Alex Meyer won in 4:22.83, good enough for a NCAA B cut.
The last individual event of the day was the 200-yard breaststroke. Junior Craig Steen started off a string of four straight Bulldog finishers with an 11th-place finish in a time of 2:08.47. He was followed by freshman Christopher Luu in 12th (2:08.77), senior Kyle McElroy in 13th (2:09.20) and senior Matt Sweitzer in 14th (2:09.40). The event was won by Princeton senior Bern Ebersol in 2:00.80.
In the final event of the meet, the 400-yard freestyle relay, the team of Gornitzky, McCarthy, Boone and sophomore Jason Choi was fifth in 3:16.79. Princeton won in a time of 2:56.26, an NCAA B cut time.
The divers continued their string of exceptional performances with another great day of competition. Junior Drew Teer led the Bulldogs in the three-meter by winning with a score of 295.10. This was the first collegiate victory for Teer, who has battled injuries for much of his collegiate career. Sophomore Eric Olson was fourth for the Bulldogs with a score of 284.35 while freshman Colton Staab was eighth (227.95).
"I was primarily relieved to get the win, but was also humble and proud," Teer said. "We are all really buying in to what Coach Ryan Moehnke is having us do and it is really helping us. Our training is good as it'll help us in the championship part of the season. We're all a team and I'm glad when all of us do well. Eric and Colton have both improved a lot this year and we've put in a lot of work."
Robert J.H. Kiphuth Director of Swimming Frank Keefe was pleased with the team's performance.
"We swam well and had some phenomenal time drops, especially by the younger kids," Keefe said. "There weren't any kids that swam poorly. We did what we expected to do in the meet. Harvard and Princeton are great, tough teams and there is always a big crowd of people at the meet and you get to watch some good swimming. The championship is decided at the end of the season and we just need to be ready for that. The kids get along very well together and respect each other. Our kids who have competed at the national level know how to race and the rest of our kids need to learn how to. It was nice to see Drew Teer win. He is a junior and coming back from injury. Each diver has won an event and they are close to each other in competition, which is driving them all the time to do better. It spurs the others on to do well."
The Bulldogs are next competing against UConn on Saturday in Storrs, Conn.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity