Bulldogs Prepare for Season to Begin

Nov. 6, 2007

New Haven, CT - After completing the Bulldog Cup October 21 and competing in a scrimmage against McGill October 27, Yale will see how they stack up this season when they travel to New York Friday to open up the 2007-08 season against Ivy League opponent Columbia. The meet will provide Yale with its first chance to see what it should expect this season.

As Yale prepares for the Columbia meet, Frank Keefe, the Robert J.H. Kiphuth Director of Swimming, discussed topics ranging from the preseason to freshmen to Yale junior Alex Righi.

Bulldog Cup and McGill
"For us to do well in the league, we have to do much better than we did in the McGill meet," he said. "Time trials aren't very exciting, but the team gets excited for swimming against real competition."

Freshmen
"I'm very pleased with the freshmen," Keefe said. "They are probably as advanced a group of freshmen as they come. They train real well. They are competing real well. It's a very talented group. The major difference, especially for freshmen, they were the big guns in their high school. Now, in college, all these people were good in high school. You don't run into people who are soft or less talented. First semester freshmen year is the most difficult, but they are making a good transition. They will be a big help."

The Cream of the Crop: Alex Righi
"Alex Righi is in a different world compared to everyone else in the Ivy League," Keefe said. "This is a world rate swimmer. He's a tremendous team person. He'll swim any event he's asked to. He'll give 100%. He leads by example. Alex Righi is the class of the Ivy League for the men."

Expectations and Leadership
"I expect a lot out of a lot of kids," Keefe said. "Is this team as good as last years team? It's hard to say. They have the ability. They have to see themselves as leaders. We are looking to have 4 or 5 really good swimmers carry the ball. Depth is not as important."

Columbia and Beyond
"For both teams, men and women, Yale and Columbia, it is like flying in the dark here. We know what they did last year against us. We know who they are returning. We know their freshmen. It's always an eye opener," Keefe said.

"You've got to mentally prepare yourself for what the race will be like. It's a lot of individuals swimming for individual times. In the end, you hope your individuals to better than theirs.

"Our goal is to strive to have more people reach the NCAAs and Olympic trials. One person made it last year. We had a lot of people who were close. We have a lot of kids who are very talented. Dual meet season is very important. We'll try to go undefeated. It all starts with the Columbia meet."

Report Filed by Steven Horn '10, Yale Sports Publicity

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