Yale Tops Columbia in Season Opener

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Molly Albrecht. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's swimming and diving team kicked off the 2010-2011 season Friday with a decisive 174-126 win over Columbia.  This duel meet was the first test for newly named Robert J.H. Kiphuth Head Coach Cristina Teuscher, as well as senior captain Annie Killian.  The results do not lie, and indeed the Bulldogs passed this test with flying colors.  Yale won a total of nine swimming events and had one-two finishes in both diving events.

"We've spent the last two months working on building a new and stronger team identity, and we've talked a lot about how to approach racing and support each other," Killian said.  "Especially coming off October, our hardest month of training, it was rewarding to put that training into action.  I was so proud to watch the girls racing and cheering each other on.  We've laid a solid foundation for a successful season."

Columbia started off fast, winning the 200 medley relay and 1000 yard freestyle, but Yale quickly turned things around, posting the three fastest times in the 200 freestyle.  Sophomore Molly Albrecht won the event in 1:51.48.  In second was senior Ileana Lucos, and sophomore Joan Weaver was third.

The Bulldogs had another big win in the 200 butterfly.  Junior Hayes Hyde had a clear lead after the first 75 yards, and would go on to win the event in 2:03.81.  Hyde finished a good second and a half faster than teammate Ileana Lucos, who had moved solidly into second position with 50 yards to go.  Lucos came home in 32.17, the fastest last split of all six swimmers in the event.  Her final time was 2:05.37.

The story of the night may well have been the diving.  Junior Rachel Rosenberg and sophomore Paige Meneses showed that they were a force to be reckoned with, finishing in the top two spots in both the three- and one-meter diving events.  Rosenberg kicked off the meet by winning the three-meter with a score of 270.83, improving her score from last year's meet against Columbia by more than 30 points.

Midway through the meet, just before the one-meter diving, the Bulldogs were leading the Lions 83-67.  After the one-meter diving, the lead had widened to 97-72.  Meneses won the one-meter with a score of 265.67, just five points shy of her personal best.  This score was good enough to qualify Meneses for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships next March.

Following her performance in the 200 freestyle, Molly Albrecht had another impressive win in the 500 freestyle.  Albrecht was ahead by a length after the first 100 yards.  By the half, she had widened the lead to nearly two and a half seconds.  With 100 yards to go, Albrecht was still out front by two and a half seconds, but this time ahead of teammate Joan Weaver who had moved solidly into second position.  Weaver finished second in 5:03.44.  Albrecht won the event in 4:59.81. 

Sophomore Alexandra Forrester showed Friday that she is back for what will surely be another impressive season.  Forrester handily won all three of her individual events: the 100 backstroke, 50 free and 100 butterfly, the Yale records in the latter two being her own.

The Bulldogs finished the night with a win in the 400 freestyle relay.  The Yale squad of Joan Weaver, Hayes Hyde, Erica Kao and Cynthia Tsay clocked in at 3:33.28.  Columbia finished second in 3:35.01.  The final score was Yale 174, Columbia 126.

In conjunction with the women's hockey team's "White Out For Mandi" event, each Yale swimmer at Friday's meet wore the number 17 on her arm in support of Yale women's hockey player Mandi Schwartz.  Read more about Mandi's battle with cancer here

Next weekend the Bulldogs will head to Boston for the Terrier Invitational.  The event will be hosted by Boston University and will take place on Nov. 20-21.

In the meantime, it is "Good job Columbia, see you at Ivy's."

Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity