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HYP Meet Kicks Off Big Month for Bulldogs

Megan Harada. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Megan Harada. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Having gone three weeks since their last competition, the members of the Yale women's swimming and diving team will take part in the annual HYP tri-meet against Harvard and Princeton this Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4-5.  The meet is back at Harvard this year after being at home in Payne Whitney last year and at Princeton the year before.  The three programs of Harvard, Princeton and Yale account for 31 of the 34 Ivy League women's swimming and diving titles, Princeton for 10 of the last 12.  The Bulldogs will race against the Crimson and the Tigers at Harvard's Blodgett Pool this weekend and then again in three weeks at the 2012 Ivy League Championships on Feb. 23-25.  A meet pitting Yale against Brown is also scheduled to take place at the University of Rhode Island on Feb. 11 in the time in between.

Yale came out on top in its most recent tri-meet against Dartmouth and Penn, now almost three weeks ago.  In a 161-138 decision over the Quakers and a 174-126 decision over the Big Green, the Bulldogs brought their record up to 3-1 in the Ivy League, setting two pool records in the process.  Yale also won against Cornell in early January but came up short against Columbia in the team's season opener.  The Yale roster currently includes four swimmers headed to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Neb., this June.  Molly Albrecht, Alexandra Forrester, Hayes Hyde and Athena Liao have all made the cut in at least one event, though Forrester has qualified in three events: the 50-meter freestyle, the 100-meter butterfly and the 200-meter butterfly.

Harvard already owns wins over Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth and Penn.  While the Crimson are 5-0 in the Ivy League, they have not gone untested.  Northwestern and Iowa both handed them losses in a tri-meet in Evanston, Ill., two weeks ago.  This meet will mark the end of the regular season for Harvard but Yale is still to race against Brown and Princeton against Columbia before all eight teams reconvene in Cambridge for Ivy's at the end of the month.

Princeton is also a team to beat this weekend.  This season the Tigers have taken down Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell and Penn, as well as a score of non-Ivy League teams on their way to a first place win at their Big Al Open in December.  The Tigers have won 42 consecutive dual meets and return to HYP's this year as back-to-back Ivy Champions, the Crimson having won in 2009.

Depth hurt the Bulldogs at HYP's last year as Yale came up short against both Harvard (217-83) and Princeton (234.5-65.5), but this year could bring a different result as compared to years past.  Harvard's freshman class came in at No. 9 last June on a ranking of the top 25 recruiting classes in the country.  Princeton was No. 12 on the same ranking, though the Tigers added 12 with the Class of 2015, the Crimson only eight.  In the second round of Mid-Major Division I Rankings that were released on Dec. 15, the Crimson were ranked second, while Princeton entered the rankings at the No. 4 spot.  With Harvard closing in on Princeton, Yale is poised to come into the weekend as the underdog, hopefully to come out a winner.

The meet begins this Saturday, Feb. 4 at 6:00 p.m.  Competition will carry over until Sunday, where the remaining events will start at 12:00 p.m.

All four sessions of the HYP meet this weekend will be available to watch via live stream.  A single session is available for $9.95, either the full men's or full women's meet for $14.95, and the full men's and women's meet for $24.95.  The Harvard video portal is available here.

Report filed by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity