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Bulldogs Emerge Victorious in Season Opener

Kina Zhou '17
Kina Zhou '17

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—The Yale women's swimming and diving team defeated Brown and Massachusetts today in their first official meet of the 2016-2017 season.  The final score against Brown was 196-104, the final score against Massachusetts was 246-54.  The Bulldogs took the top place in 10 of the 14 swimming events and both of the diving events.  Their depth also helped them secure multiple second- and third-place finishes to reel in more points.


Sophomore Talbott Paulsen swept both diving events: she topped the field in the 1-meter event with 282.45 points and in the 3-meter event with 308.65 points.  Beyond the win, divers from Massachusetts rallied against the Bulldogs in the 1-meter event, claiming many of the top six places, but Yale's McKenna Tennant snuck into fifth place with 223.70 points.  Massachusetts couldn't hold on to their momentum in the 3-meter event, however, and Yale's Lilybet MacRae and Hannah Walsh grabbed third and fourth place with 282.00 and 278.75 points, respectively.


"We are seeing the results of her [Paulsen's] training in the off season and her year round commitment to her fitness," Head Diving Coach Chris Bergere said.  "Many of the women did some fabulous dives and our effort as a team was very strong.    We are far from the end of the season and are just trying to get a little better each day.  We will take this meet, reflect on what we did well and what can get better."


The Bulldogs opened the swimming events on a strong note, taking the win in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:42.52, a full second ahead of their Brown competitors (1:43.72).  The "B" and "C" squads took third (1:46.19) and fifth (1:46.80) places, respectively. 

Cailley Silbert kept the momentum going in the 1000-yard freestyle, taking the win in 10:06.31.  Freshmen Beatrix Thompson and Kendall Brent pulled in extra points with third and fourth place finishes in 10:19.06 and 10:19.44, respectively.  Silbert was also victorious in the 500-yard freestyle, winning the event in 4:57.46, just ahead of teammate Danielle Liu who finished in 4:59.63.  Brent was fifth in a time of 5:03.73. 

In the mid-distance and sprint freestyle events, Brown provided solid competition, but the Bulldogs responded well in a tight race.   Liu was narrowly out-touched in the 200-yard freestyle, finishing in second place in a time of 1:51.58.  Teammates Destiny Nelson and Sophie Fontaine were fourth and fifth in 1:52.12 and 1:52.55, respectively. 

Senior Kina Zhou swept both the 50-yard freestyle (23.00) and the 100-yard freestyle (50.41) events, emerging dominant over a strong crew of sprinters from Brown.  Cassidy Richards snuck into fifth place in the 50-yard freestyle with a final time of 24.02.  Lili Margitai and Sophie Pilkinton took third and sixth places in the 100-yard freestyle. 

In the 100-yard backstroke, junior Heidi VeanderWel led a 1-3-5 finish with a time of 56.01, a full second ahead of her Brown competitor.  Jacquelyn Du was third with a final time of 57.30 and senior captain Michelle Chintanaphol was fifth with a final time of 57.61.  In the 200-yard backstroke, Nelson led the field by three seconds, winning the event in 1:58.64.  Chintanaphol took third in 2:03.10 and Kate Rogers took fourth in 2:04.88. 

Freshman Charlotte O'Leary and sophomore Paulina Kaminski grabbed second and third place finishes in the 100-yard breaststroke; freshman Ashley Pales grabbed fifth.  In the 200-yard breaststroke, O'Leary and Kaminski again paired up to take the top two places in 2:18.53 and 2:19.86, respectively, while Pales, took fourth place in 2:21.80.


Margitai emerged on top in the 100-yard butterfly event with a final time of 54.70.  Teammates Maddy Zimmerman and VanderWel brought in extra points with third and fourth place finishes.  In the 200-yard butterfly, Yale missed the top finish, but Sydney Hirschi, Thompson, Zimmerman, and Fontaine swept second through fifth places. 

The Bulldogs put up a strong showing in the final two events of the meet.  Nelson led a 1-2-3-4 sweep of the 200-yard individual medley and the Yale "A" and "B" squads took second and third place in the 400-yard freestyle relay.  Those two events helped the Bulldogs pull in final points to bring their victorious team score up to 196-104 against Brown and 246-54 against Massachusetts. 

"Today was a strong meet for the team; we had some great competition," said Robert J.H. Kiphuth Head Coach of Women's Swimming and Diving, Jim Henry.  "The team learned from their first events and improved as the meet went on. It was also valuable to compete in the same pool that will host the Ivy Championships in February."


The victory against Brown stands as the first Ivy dual meet of the season.  The Bulldogs will continue with Ivy competition when they host Columbia next weekend at home in the Kiphuth Exhibition Pool at Payne Whitney Gymnasium. 


Report filed by Emma Smith, YSPH '17, Yale Sports Publicity