Dec. 5, 2008
Charlottesville, Va.. -
The Bulldogs opened the first day of competition on Thursday at the very competitive US Short Course Nationals with impressive times by Yale men's swimming student-athletes. Senior captain Alex Righi led the way with a third-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle event. The Elis also competed at the University of Virginia Invitational.
Righi, who placed second at the NCAA Championships last year, showed that he is in top form at the US Short Course Nationals. Righi, who is one of three Eli athletes at the event, tied for sixth in the event in 2007. This year, Righi started the day out strong with a 19.63 clocking in the preliminaries, ranking him fourth going into the finals. In the finals, Righi pulled out a strong race to finish in 19.13, only .18 behind the winner, Matt Grevers. With his time, Righi met the A cut to qualify for the NCAA Championships. As well, his time eclipsed the previous course record of 19.22 that was set by Olympian Ryan Lochte last year.
Righi had strong competition in the event. Grevers won two gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in relay events and added a silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke event. The second-place finisher, William Copeland, was an All-American at Cal who graduated last year. Righi was the top collegiate athlete in the event.
Senior Chris Pool also competed in the 50-yard freestyle event. Pool placed 32nd in the 69 swimmer field in a time of 20.81. This was a huge improvement over last year, when Pool placed 65th in the event.
Competition at the US Short Course Nationals will continue on Friday and Saturday. In addition to Pool and Righi, senior Dennen McCloskey will also be competing.
The Bulldogs also turned in some impressive performances at the University of Virginia Invitational hosted by No. 13 Virginia. The Bulldogs are currently in second at the meet with 197 points. Virginia is currently winning with 480 points.
The Bulldog's top performance of the day came in the 400-yard medley relay in which the Elis placed third and fourth. The team of junior Thomas Robinson, senior Matt Sweitzer, freshman Goksu Bicer and sophomore Lugar Choi placed third in a time of 3:24.53, earning the team 32 points. They were closely followed by the other Yale team, which placed fourth in a time of 3:28.68. The quartet of freshmen Matt Boone and Christopher Luu, senior Tyler Scheid and sophomore Kyle Veatch earned the Bulldogs 30 points.
The Bulldogs also earned 58 points in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The first Eli team of Robinson, Scheid, and seniors Sebastian Cousins and Dan Li placed fourth in 1:25.38. They were closely followed by another Bulldog squad that placed fifth in 1:25.56. The team of Bicer, Choi, Veatch and junior Jon Taylor earned the team 28 points.
The best individual event for the Elis was the 50-yard freestyle. Veatch started off the scoring streak for the team, placing fifth in a time of 21.00, earning the team 14 points. He was followed by Bicer in ninth (21.61), Scheid in 10th (21.62), Robinson in 11th (21.78), Taylor in 13th (21.86), Li in 14th (22.20) and Boone in 15th (22.37).
The team also picked up points in the 200-yard individual medley, led by Choi, who placed 10th in 1:54.26. He was followed by junior Craig Steen in 11th (1:56.37), senior Kyle McElroy in 12th (1:56.38) and Luu in 14th (1:58.58).
Also earning points for the Bulldogs were the competitors in the 500-yard freestyle event. Sophomore Matt Lee led the way with an 11th in 4:34.91. He was followed by sophomore Jerold Lee in 14th (4:39.16) and senior Sebastian Cousins in 15th (4:44.86).
The Bulldogs will continue to try to earn season-best times in competition on Friday and Saturday. Competition will begin with preliminaries at 11:00 a.m. on Friday with finals at 6:00 p.m.