Bulldogs Return to Princeton for the Ivy League Championships

Rebecca DeLaFuente. (photo by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's swimming and diving team will head to Princeton this weekend for the 2013 Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships.  The Bulldogs wrapped up the regular season with a win at home against Brown two weeks ago.  Yale will now return to Princeton's DeNunzio Pool where the annual HYP tri-meet took place four weeks ago, in hopes of closing the gap on the Crimson and the Tigers.  The goal for the Bulldogs this weekend will be to improve on the team's finish at Ivy's last year while individually going after either A- or B-cuts (view qualification standards here) to be eligible to compete at the 2013 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships held on Mar. 21–23 in Indianapolis, Ind.

This is the last Ivy League Championships for the members of the class of 2013.  As freshmen in 2010 they were part of a Yale team that finished third at Ivy's and then as sophomores the Bulldogs finished fifth, with Princeton finishing first both years.  Last year the Bulldogs finished third with a score of 1075.5 points, but that time Harvard won with a score of 1478.5 points, followed by Princeton with 1310.5 points.

Since last year Yale has improved its dual meet record from 3-4 in the 2011-12 season to 5-2 this season.  The Bulldogs head into this weekend tied for second place in the Ivy League with Columbia and Princeton.

Yale's performance at Ivy's last year was nothing short of exceptional.  The Bulldogs won two out of five relays, with seniors Alexandra Forrester, Cynthia Tsay and captain Joan Weaver contributing to wins in the 400-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay that both set school records.  On her own, Forrester won the 100-yard butterfly after setting a meet record with her time from the morning prelims.  She also finished second in the 50-yard freestyle, breaking her own Yale record, and finished second in the 100-yard freestyle, setting a Yale record in the heat.  In the 200-yard freestyle Weaver broke a five-year-old Yale record on her way to a second-place finish.  Tsay picked up second-team All-Ivy honors for her second-place finish in the 100-backstroke.

Heading into this weekend the Bulldogs have a number of times that rank among the top in the Ivy League, with the majority of these times coming from their most recent championship meet, the Brown Invitational last December.

Yale has the second-fastest 200-yard freestyle relay with a 1:32.88.  The lineup of Forrester, Tsay, sophomore Cassidy Lapp and Weaver set the mark at the Brown Invite, and more recently the same group took down an eight-year-old Kiphuth Pool record in the dual meet against Brown.  The video is available here.

In the 500-yard freestyle, the Bulldogs have two swimmers in the top 10.  Freshman Eva Fabian has the second-fastest time of the season so far with 4:47.42, and freshman Casey Lincoln is right behind her with the seventh-fastest time, a 4:51.94.  Both times were posted at the Brown Invitational.  Weaver is scheduled to compete in the 500, while it is fellow senior Molly Albrecht who holds the current Yale record with a 4:47.14 from the Ivy's two years ago.

Forrester has the third-fastest conference time in the 50-yard freestyle with a 22.61, a time from the Brown Invite that broke her own Yale record of 22.63 from Ivy's last year.  Forrester, Princeton's Lisa Boyce (22.44) and Harvard Sara Li (22.52) are the only three athletes to have gone under 23 seconds this season, and so fast freestyle splits can be expected from all three HYP schools this weekend.

The Bulldogs are ranked fourth in the 400-yard medley relay. Tsay, freshman Ali Stephens-Pickeral, Forrester and Weaver combined for a time of 3:43.84 at the Brown Invite.  The same four swimmers have the second-fastest time for the 200-yard medley relay heading into this weekend, with a 1:41.88 at the Brown Invite.

Freshman Emma Smith is ranked fifth in the 400-yard IM with a 4:19.57, while junior Courtney Randolph is ranked 10th with a 4:25.81, both from the Brown Invite.

The 100-yard butterfly is one where Forrester stands out.  She swam a 52.19 at the Brown Invitational, the fastest time in the Ivy League by a full second.

In the 200-yard freestyle freshman Callie Fosburgh has Yale's top time in the 200-yard freestyle with a 1:49.59 from the Brown Invite, the 10th-fastest in the Ivy League.

Stephens-Pickeral has the fourth-fastest time in the 100-yard breaststroke with a 1:02.68 at the Brown Invite.  Columbia's Katie Meili has the top ranked time in both breaststroke events, followed by Brown's Briana Borgolini.  If Stephens-Pickeral can crack the top three in either of the breaststroke events, that will go a long way towards keeping Harvard and Princeton within reach and keeping the meet competitive.

In the 100-yard backstroke Yale has two in the top 10.  Tsay is ninth with a 55.88 against Brown two weeks ago, and Forrester comes in at 10th with a 56.07 at Penn with Dartmouth in January.

The Bulldogs have three swimmers ranking in the top 10 in the 1,000-yard freestyle.  Fabian is third with a time of 9:50.70 from the Brown Invite, followed by Lincoln in seventh with a time of 10:00.94 at the Brown Invite.  Albrecht rounds out the list in 10th with a time of 10:07.95 at HYP.

The 1,650-yard freestyle is one where Fabian likely will not be caught.  She has the top time in the league by more than 14 seconds with her time of 16:18.75 from the Brown Invite.  The second-fastest swimmer this season is Penn's Shelby Fortin with a time of 16:32.87. Lincoln is ranked third with a time of 16:38.14, also from the Brown Invite.

Molly Albrecht is ranked ninth in the 200-yard backstroke with a 2:01.25 at the Brown Invite.

The Bulldogs have another first-place ranking in the 100-yard freestyle.  Forrester posted the fastest time in the event with a 49.12 at the Brown Invite.  The second-fastest time is 49.32 by Harvard's Sara Li at HYP who got the better of Forrester that day.  Weaver also cracks the top 10 with a 51.06 at the Brown Invite for the 10th-fastest time.

Forrester also has the second-fastest time in the 200-yard butterfly with a 1:56.99 at Brown Invite.

In the 400-yard freestyle relay Weaver, Tsay, Forrester, Fosburgh posted the second-fastest time of the season with a 3:21.21 at the Brown Invite.  Princeton has the fastest time to date with a 3:20.54, also from the Brown Invite.

Competition will begin on Thursday Feb. 28 and go until Saturday Mar. 2.  Prelims will begin at 11:00 a.m. and finals at 6:00 p.m. each day.

Report filed by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity

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