BOSTON – The Yale women's swimming and diving team wrapped up three days of racing on Sunday at Boston University's Terrier Invitational, the team's first championship meet of the season. Alexandra Forrester brought in the most points for the Bulldogs, winning two individual events and contributing to two second-place relay finishes. All told the Bulldogs racked up 373.5 points to finish third among ten total teams competing at the Terrier, a solid improvement over last year's fifth-place finish. Yale's top swimmers now find themselves primed for the 2011 Winter National Championships, set to begin in a little over a week.
The day started with Molly Albrecht taking second in the prelims of the 500-yard freestyle. Albrecht posted a time of 4:59.69, her first sub-5:00 minute time of the season. Albrecht would later finish seventh in the evening's A final with a time of 5:03.30, while teammates Joan Weaver (4:57.24) and Rebecca DeLaFuente (4:59.61) went 1-2 in the B final.
In the 200-yard individual medley, seniors Athena Liao and Hayes Hyde posted the seventh- and eight-fastest times in the preliminaries to grab the last two spots in the A final. The pair repeated their seventh and eighth-place finishes that evening, Liao clocking in at 2:08.80 to Hyde's 2:10.88. Elizabeth Larsen finished third in the B final with 2:07.34, a time that would have been competitive in the A final.
Yale saw its first win in the 50-yard freestyle, where Forrester was quickest in both the morning and evening swims. Forrester, the Yale record holder in the 50 free, won the event's A final by 0.54 seconds with a time of 23.19.
In addition to the individual events, Friday also saw the running of two relays. In the 200-yard freestyle relay Yale was represented by Forrester, Cassidy Lapp, Hyde and Weaver. Forrester got the team a sizable lead with a 23.17 first leg, a split that would have beaten her own winning time from the 50-yard freestyle. Lapp would keep the lead intact but the team from Columbia caught up during Hyde's leg. Weaver came home in 23.41, 0.32 seconds faster than the time put up by Columbia's anchor, but the decision went to the Lions at the wall. Yale finished second with a total time of 1:34.31 to Columbia's 1:34.30.
The Bulldogs finished out the day with another solid second-place relay finish, this time in the 400-yard medley relay. Albrecht, Liao, Forrester and Weaver finished in a time of 3:48.33, right in between first-place Columbia (3:46.66) and third-place Northeastern (3:50.15).
After day one the Bulldogs were sitting in second place with 182 points. Columbia had carved out a lead with 235 points but Yale was still within striking distance heading into day two.
The first individual event of the day was the 400-yard individual medley, where Larsen matched her finish in the 200 IM with another third-place finish in the B final. Larsen clocked in at 4:32.35, with Angela Lee (4:33.35) and Abigal Nunn (4:36.14) also picking up points for the Bulldogs in the B final in sixth and eighth.
Forrester then picked up her second win of the meet with a fast swim in the 100-yard butterfly. Forrester was the fastest at every turn and alone at the finish. Her time was 53.05, 2.1 seconds ahead of Columbia's Katie Meili in second place. This time is over half a second faster than Forrester's own winning time in the event from last week's dual meet against Columbia.
In the next three events the Bulldogs picked up points in B and C finals. In the 200-yard freestyle DeLaFuente finished second in the B final with a time of 1:53.77, the eighth-fastest time posted in the event. In the 100-yard breaststroke Chelsea Dunlap finished fourth in the B final with a time of 1:07.27. Lapp finished first in the 100 breast C final (1:07.48), followed by Jacqui Levere in third (1:08.18) and Larsen in sixth (1:08.93). In the 100-yard backstroke Michelle Huang took second in the B final, clocking in at 58.85.
The two relays contested Saturday were the 200-yard medley relay and the 800-yard freestyle relay. The Bulldogs took eighth in the medley relay, but finished second in the 800 free relay to end the night. There the team of Helena Gali, Forrester, DeLaFuente and Lapp posted a time of 7:32.40 behind Columbia.
At the end of day two the Bulldogs had dropped back to third place with 295 points. In second was Northeastern (422) and still in first was Columbia (600).
Gali took fifth in the 100-yard freestyle, the best individual finish in an event for any of the Yale freshmen. Gali swam a 52.48, a little over a second behind the winning time of 51.26. Lapp (53.28) and Huang (53.43) finished third and sixth in the B final, while DeLaFuente (53.04) touched second in the event's C final.
In the 200-yard breaststroke Dunlap finished fourth in the B final with a time of 2:24.98, followed by Angela Lee in fifth with a time of 2:25.26. In the 200-yard butterfly Allison West finished second in the B final with a time of 2:08.35.
The Bulldogs finished out the weekend with a fourth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Gali, Lapp, Huang and DeLaFuente posted a time of 3:32.08 behind two teams from Columbia and one from UMass. Yale's finish was enough to secure its finish in the meet ahead of UMass, however, putting the Bulldogs in third position with 373.5 points. Northeastern finished second with 567.5 and Columbia won with 911.5 points.
Up next for the Bulldogs are the 2011 AT&T Winter National Championships. This meet will be a long course competition as opposed to the previously slated Short Course National Championships, so that participants have the chance to meet Olympic Trials qualifying standards. The meet will be held from Dec. 1-3 in Atlanta, Ga., at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.
Report filed by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity