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Bulldogs Have Big Win in Burlington

Abigail Nunn. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Abigail Nunn. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

BURLINGTON, Vt. – The Yale women's swimming and diving team had a remarkable win Saturday over the University of Vermont Catamounts.  With six of their fastest swimmers in Ohio for the AT&T Short Course National Championships, the remaining Yale squad of 14 swimmers and three divers travelled to snowy Vermont to face a team nearly twice their size.  The Bulldogs and Catamounts traded first place back and forth throughout the day, but in the end the Bulldogs won 125-118.

The tension could be felt in Vermont's Forbush Natatorium right from the onset.  In the first race of the day, the 400-yard medley relay, the Yale team of Cynthia Tsay, Chelsea Dunlap, Allison West and Erica Kao took second to a Vermont squad suspected of a false start.  The meet officials were unable to agree and ultimately Vermont got the 13 points for their first and third place finishes.  The Catamounts enjoyed another win in the 1000-yard freestyle, but Yale's Courtney Randolph and captain Annie Killian were not far behind in second and third place.

In the 200 free, Cynthia Tsay touched first in a time of 1:54.60.  Vermont's Kate Weaver led for the first 150 yards, but it was Tsay's 28.33 final split to Weaver's 29.47 that put Tsay out front and gave the Bulldogs their first win of the day.  Junior Erica Kao quickly made that two wins in a very close 50-yard freestyle.  Kao won in 25.19, while two swimmers from Vermont took second (25.32) and third place (25.57).  The Catamounts finished first and third in the 400 IM, but Abigail Nunn, Angela Lee and Kristin Darwin earned points for Yale in second, fourth and fifth place, respectively.

The diving trio of Rachel Rosenberg, Paige Meneses and Christina Brasco proved indomitable, sweeping both the one-meter and three-meter events.  Rosenberg, last year's three-meter Ivy Champion, won the one-meter with a score of 275.62, nearly 30 points more than teammate and one-meter NCAA Zone qualifier Meneses (247.05).  Brasco was right in the thick of it with 243.75, while Vermont's top diver only posted a 222.58.  The order was the same in the three-meter later in the day, Rosenberg again finishing first.  Though the mere seven point spread that the Bulldogs won by made every event count, the win absolutely would not have been possible without the divers.

After the first diving break, Abigail Nunn had an impressive win in the 200 fly with a time of 2:09.29.  It was another case of Vermont leading for the first 150 yards only to fade on the final stretch to make way for Yale.   Cynthia Tsay then matched her first place finish in the 200 free with a huge win in the 100 free.  Tsay touched in 52.81, with second place going to Vermont more than two seconds back at 55.01. 

The Catamounts won the next two events, the 200-yard backstroke and the 500-yard freestyle.  However, the Bulldogs had key second-place finishes in both and thus had a slight lead with two events to go.  In the 200 breaststroke the freshman duo of Chelsea Dunlap and Angela Lee took second and third place, meaning the meet would come down to the final event, the 200-yard freestyle relay.  The score at this point was 114-112 in favor of Yale, but with 11 points going to the first place relay team, it was winner take all.

Erica Kao swam the first leg, earning Yale a slight lead with at time of 25.13 to Vermont's 25.26. In the second leg Vermont's Abby Mundt posted a fast split (25.19), moving up on captain Annie Killian (25.92) to put the Bulldogs a half second back from the Catamount A squad.  Gabrielle Bunney narrowed the gap for the Bulldogs with a 25.25 third leg, and by the time Michelle Huang dove in for the anchor leg, it was all over.  Huang came home in 24.38 to give the Bulldogs a final time of 1:40.68, just ahead of Vermont in 1:40.73.

The final score was Yale 125, Vermont 118.

While the majority of the Bulldogs were on their way back from their win in Burlington, Robert J.H. Kiphuth Head Coach Cristina Teuscher was in Columbus, Ohio with six of the Bulldogs on the last day of competition at the AT&T Short Course National Championships.

The morning began with Molly Albrecht competing in the 200-yard breaststroke.  Of the 67 swimmers in the prelims Albrecht's time of 1:59.19 put her in 26th place.  She would go on to finish seventh in the C-level final with a time of 1:59.72.  Athena Liao also made an appearance in a C final Saturday evening.  Liao swam a 2:15.94 in the heats of the 200 breaststroke, finishing 22nd.  She later finished third in the C final, coming back with a faster time of 2:15.23.

Yale had three swimmers in the 200-yard butterfly.  Out of 77 swimmers total, Alexandra Forrester finished fourth in the heats (1:56.12), Hayes Hyde finished 14th (1:59.08) and Ileana Lucos finished 44th (2:03.10).  Later in the day Hyde finished fifth in the B final in 1:59.70.  Forrester finished sixth in the A final with a time of 1:55.51, just 0.19 seconds off her time from NCAA's in March of last year.

Closing out the weekend was the 400-yard freestyle relay, where Yale finished 11th in a time of 3:25.34.  All told Yale had three C final appearances, four B final appearances and two A final appearances at Short Course Nationals.

Next up for the Bulldogs is a dual meet against Cornell on Jan. 8.  The meet will be held in Ithaca, N.Y. at 10:00 a.m.

Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity