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Yale Has First Ivy Losses at HYP

The Bulldogs cheer on Angela Lee. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The Bulldogs cheer on Angela Lee. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The second day of competition at the annual women's swimming and diving meet between Harvard, Princeton and Yale came to a close today on a familiar note.  The Yale women's swimming and diving team fell to the Princeton Tigers, who have won the meet for the fourth year in a row now.  The Bulldogs also fell to the Harvard Crimson, who head back to Cambridge with one win and one loss.  Depth hurt the Bulldogs greatly this weekend as Yale fielded a 22-swimmer squad against the Harvard and Princeton teams, which are each pushing 40 swimmers and have diving squads at least twice the size as that of the Bulldogs.  Princeton outperformed Yale 234.5-65.5; the margin against Harvard was closer with Harvard at 217 points, Yale with 83.  The Bulldogs are now 5-3 in dual meets overall, 4-2 in the Ivy League with two meets left in the regular season.

"Our times are right where we want to be with four weeks to go until the Ivy League Championship," said assistant coach Toni Pullman.  "We faced Harvard and Princeton, each with teams double our size.  In HYP meet tradition, anyone can score in the meet, so it definitely puts a small team at a disadvantage. We are looking forward to racing some of these same competitors when we are rested, and when the playing field is evened out at Ivy's."

The meet began Friday when Paige Meneses picked up points for the Bulldogs with a fifth-place finish in the three-meter diving event.  Meneses scored a 267.30.  Harvard gained early ground on the Bulldogs here, with divers finishing in second, third and fourth position, while Princeton won the event.  Rachel Rosenberg placed eighth and Christina Brasco 16th.  Friday's three-meter marks the first time this season that either Rosenberg or Meneses has not won a diving event.

Yale then had a crucial win over Harvard in the 200-yard medley relay.  Princeton posted the two fastest times, but Cynthia Tsay put Yale dead even with Harvard after the first 50 yards with a 27.04 second backstroke leg.  Athena Liao moved Yale even further ahead of the Crimson, going 29.37 in the breaststroke to Harvard's 30.18.  Harvard caught up some during Hayes Hyde's butterfly leg but Ileana Lucos came home in 23.26 to Harvard's 23.33 to give Yale a final time of 1:45.16, just ahead of Harvard in 1:45.27.

In the 100 breaststroke Athena Liao finished fourth.  Princeton had the fastest three times, and while first place was far and away with 1:02.54, Liao was 1:04.64, third place was 1:04.59 and second 1:04.05.  In the 200 butterfly Hayes Hyde finished third in a dead heat with Princeton's Kathy Qu.  Both swimmers clocked in at 2:03.78, a little over three seconds back from the winning time of 2:00.65.

Cynthia Tsay finished seventh in a very quick 50-yard freestyle.  Princeton won with a time of 22.82, which broke the previous pool record of 23.25 by nearly half a second.

Paige Meneses kicked things off Saturday for the Bulldogs, placing third in the one-meter diving event with a score of 246.75 points.  Teammates Rachel Rosenberg and Christina Brasco took ninth and 17th, respectively.

Three events later Athena Liao posted the best finish the Bulldogs had all weekend, taking second in the 200-yard breaststroke.  Her time was 2:17.69, compared to the winning time of 2:11.52, a new pool record.

The Bulldogs showed they could rally in the last event of the day, the 400-yard freestyle relay.  As usual the event brought the crowd gathered at Kiphuth Exhibition Pool to its feet.  Ileana Lucos was quick off the blocks and put the Bulldogs in second position after the first 100 yards.  At this point Harvard 'A' was out front with Princeton 'A' in second position, though Princeton's second-leg swimmer moved them into first after just 25 yards.  Yale sat in third the rest of the race, and anchor Joan Weaver fought her best to make up ground.  Princeton finished first and Harvard second, both teams posting faster times than the standing pool record.  Yale would have taken third with a time took third with a time of 3:28.78, were it not for the Princeton 'A' team swimming the event exhibition.  Yale therefore ended up with the points for a second-place finish.

Next weekend the Bulldogs will swim against UConn away, and the weekend after that against Brown at home.  The home meet against the Bears will be the last dual meet of the season for the Bulldogs before heading to Princeton for the Ivy League Championships Feb. 24-27.

Report filed by Tom Lynam '13, Yale Sports Publicity