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Bulldogs Remain in Third on Day Two at Ivy Championships

Athena Liao. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Athena Liao. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

PRINCETON, N.J. – The Yale women's swimming and diving team held on to its third-place overall standing on the second day of competition at Ivy's on Friday.  The Bulldogs went to work in the morning preliminaries, earning spots in four of the evening's individual A finals.  Three third-place finishes out of these four individual events brought in a great deal of points for the Bulldogs.  The team wrapped up the day with its best finish of the meet thus far, taking second in the 800-yard freestyle relay and sending the Princeton Tigers into day three with their first relay loss.  After 14 events Princeton still sits in first with 1054.5 points.  Harvard is in second at 955, with Yale behind them in third with an even 600 points.

Morning Prelims

Courtney Randolph started off the day for the Bulldogs, finding the sweet spot in the finishing order of the 400 IM and earning a spot in the A final by 0.12 seconds.  Randolph finished eighth with a time of 4:25.77.  Abigail Nunn was not far behind in 4:26.75, headed to the B final.  Angela Lee finished 19th (4:29.32) and Kristin Darwin finished 22nd (4:31.63), both headed to the C final.  Margaret Brown qualified as an alternate.

Following on her sixth-place finish in the 200 IM on Thursday, Hayes Hyde finished third in the heats of the 100-yard butterfly, clocking in at 54.43 just below the NCAA B cut.  Allison West finished in a dead heat for 21st (57.62) and Erica Kao finished 24th (58.47) to put themselves in the C final.

Prospects looked great for the Bulldogs after a very quick 200 free preliminary.  Ileana Lucos took fourth in a time of 1:48.86, with Molly Albrecht close behind in seventh in a time of 1:49.08.  Only 0.69 seconds separated Albrecht in seventh from first place, so the stage was set for a very competitive A final.  Yale was also poised to rack up some points in the B final of the same event, with Cynthia Tsay finishing ninth (1:50.37) and Joan Weaver 13th (1:51.71).

After posting the second-fastest breaststroke split in the 400 medley relay Thursday night, Athena Liao finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke prelims Friday morning with a time of 1:02.69.  Chelsea Dunlap also got a second race with her time of 1:06.38, which put her in 22nd place.  In the 100 back, Michelle Huang finished 17th with a time of 57.63, seeded fastest for the C final.

Evening Finals

The Bulldogs had another top-three relay finish in the 200-yard medley relay early Friday evening.  The relay team of Cynthia Tsay, Athena Liao, Hayes Hyde and Ileana Lucos finished third in a time of 1:42.98, a few seconds back from first-place Princeton who set a new Ivy League record with its time of 1:39.80.

In the 1650-yard freestyle, the longest event of the weekend, Abigail Nunn took 12th in a time of 17:02.82.  This is a huge improvement over Nunn's time of 17:18.30 from the Terrier Invitational back in November.  Joan Weaver and captain Annie Killian brought in a combined 20 points for their 16th and 17th place finishes, clocking in at 17:10.09 and 17:12.59, respectively.

Courtney Randolph really showed up in the 400 IM, placing sixth.  The freshman out of Davie, Fla., was a junior national qualifier in the event in high school, and brought this experience to Friday's final where she shaved nearly two seconds off her time from the morning to touch in 4:23.92.  Abigail Nunn finished right in the middle of the pack in the B final, placing 13th with a time of 4:27.70.  Angela Lee finished 18th (4:27.48) and Kristin Darwin 22nd (4:32.12) in the C final.  Despite Yale having four swimmers earn points in the event, the Bulldogs dropped back to fourth place temporarily after the 400 IM.

Yale then had three third-place finishes in the following three individual events.  Hayes Hyde matched her preliminary swim to take the third spot on the podium in the 100 butterfly.  Hyde went out at 25.67, consistent with her butterfly split from the 200-yard medley relay earlier in the evening.  Her final 50 was a 28.86 to make for a time of 54.53.  Hyde's finish put the Bulldogs back into third place where they would remain for the rest of the day.  Allison West finished 22nd (57.33) and Erica Kao 24th (58.59) in the same event.

The Bulldogs found their best individual event in the 200-yard freestyle.  Molly Albrecht took third with a time of 1:48.43, over half a second faster than her time from the morning heats.  Ileana Lucos finished fifth in a time of 1:49.23, though she sat in third place for the first half of the race.  Yale also made moves in the B final, with Cynthia Tsay earning points for 10th place with her time of 1:50.82, and Joan Weaver touching in 1:53.91 to take 16th.

Athena Liao then made it three when she took third in the 100-yard breaststroke.  After breaking the threshold in the morning prelims, Liao distanced herself even further below the NCAA B cut of 1:02.98, finishing in a time of 1:02.13.  Chelsea Dunlap finished in 20th position (1:06.76).

The final event of the night was the 800 free relay.  The Yale squad of Ileana Lucos, Molly Albrecht, Cynthia Tsay and Joan Weaver posted a time of 7:20.23, solidly below the NCAA B cut.  Princeton led the Bulldogs for the first 350 yards, but Yale moved into second towards the end of Albrecht's leg.  Princeton's time was 7:21.28, making for the Tigers' first relay loss of the meet.

The third and final day of competition at Ivy's will begin Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. with the heats of the 200-yard backstroke.

Report filed by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity