March 27, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Senior captain Alex Righi continued his string of strong performances at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships with a 12th-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke. The result, the second highest of his career in the event after his 11th-place finish last year, came after he was seeded 14th going into the final round. Righi will wrap up the final meet of his collegiate career on Saturday in the 100-yard freestyle.
Righi started off competition on Friday with the preliminary round of competition at the Championships which are hosted by Texas A&M at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium. Righi, who was seeded seventh in the event with the time of 46.32 that he swam at the Ivy League Championships on Mar. 6, needed to have one of the eight-fastest times to make it to the A finals of the event. Righi, who finished his preliminary heat in a time of 46.47, missed making the A finals by only .14 seconds. His time in the preliminary round was still fast enough to earn him a position in Friday evening's B finals, though.
Righi swam a fast race in the B finals of the event to take 12th in a time of 46.59. While the result was still one place off of his 11th-place finish in 2008, the performance still earned the Bulldogs five points for their team score. With only Righi competing at the Championships, the Bulldogs currently sit in 23rd with 19 points. The event was won by Auburn's Kohlton Norys in a time of 45.26.
Robert J. H. Kiphuth Director of Swimming Frank Keefe feels that Righi turned in solid performances in the 100-yard backstroke.
"After a disappointing day in the 50-yard freestyle yesterday, Alex came back very well today and raced impressively," Keefe said. "You can not let disappointing performances eat away at you and Alex did a good job at bouncing back from yesterday. He had solid swims today and was right around where he was a few weeks ago at the Ivy League Championships."
During the meet, Righi and the Yale swimming contingent had the opportunity to meet former President George H. W. Bush `48. The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is located on the campus of Texas A&M, the site of the Championships. Bush was also a student-athlete while at Yale, serving as the captain of the baseball team.
Keefe felt that meeting President Bush was one of the highlights of the day.
"Former President George Bush showed up at the meet today and Alex got the opportunity to meet him, which was certainly a highlight of the day," Keefe said. "It was a great experience for Alex, especially considering President Bush was a Yale athlete as well."
On Saturday, Righi will compete in the 100-yard freestyle event. Last year, Righi placed second in the event and will be entering the preliminary round as the third seeded athlete. He won the event each year at the Ivy League Championships.
Keefe is confident that Righi will close out his collegiate career in an impressive manner.
"I am excited about watching Alex swim in the 100-yard freestyle tomorrow," Keefe said. "It is a race that Alex has been looking forward to all year. Tomorrow should be a big point day for us."
Competition will get underway with the preliminary round of competition at 12:00 p.m. The finals will commence at 7:00 p.m.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity