Bulldogs Cap Off Winter Training With Win Over Fairfield

Jan. 6, 2009

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The women's swimming and diving team got ready to finish out their training trip in Puerto Rico with a meet against Fairfield on Sunday. The Bulldogs managed to dispatch the Stags with little difficulty, despite training right through the meet with double practices every day.

"The team performed very well against Fairfield," said senior captain Aidan McKinlay. "Racing Fairfield during the training trip gives us the opportunity to compete when we are broken down. Performing well when we are tired helps us to build confidence."

The Bulldogs have fared well against Fairfield in the past. Last year, they race Fairfield in a tri-meet with Southern Connecticut. Yale won every race against Fairfield and lost only three races to Southern Connecticut, before Yale stopped counting their scores. Returning swimmers who won events in last year's meet were sophomore Kristin Darwin, senior Katie French, junior Laura E Grigereit, sophomore Becca Stern, and sophomore Angela Yu, with French and Yu each winning two events. Darwin won the 200-yard butterfly, Grigereit the 200-yard freestyle and Stern the 100-yard backstroke. French won 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard breaststroke, while Yu took the 100-yard freestyle and 50-yard freestyle.

This year's meet with Fairfield had originally been scheduled to take place the week before the Harvard/Princeton meet in January. However, with both teams training in Puerto Rico, Yale saw it as an opportunity to open up a week before their biggest dual meet.

"Moving the Fairfield meet so that it is no longer the week before HYP will be beneficial for our overall season," said McKinlay. "Not having to compete the weekend before HYP will allow us to focus and prepare."

Once the Bulldogs start next semester, they will have very little time for preparation as they will race almost every weekend until NCAAs. Instead, they use their winter training trip to get ready for the grueling dual season. The team is able to train twice a day, without having to worry about the demands of school. The swimmers work to build a strong base that they can then use to transition into speed work when they return to school. The extra time for training also allows the swimmers to focus on their technique.

"The training trip has been challenging," said McKinlay. "The team has definitely been making improvements. This type of training that pushes us to our physical limits is necessary in order for us to perform at our best when we are rested at championships. Being away from school allows us to focus on swimming. While we're here life is pretty simple: eat, sleep and swim."

The Bulldogs will return to action against Cornell and Navy on Jan. 9 and 10. The meet will take place at Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y. Friday's competition will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity

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