Hell or High Water

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By JASPER FU

Yale entered the 2018 Women’s Ivy League Championship as the defending champions, but it would be Harvard’s team that would carry the title this time around in a runaway victory. Even as the first day came to a close, Harvard’s stellar performance was indicative, as the team tied with Yale to take first in the Ivy League, with 118 points, as compared to runner-up Princeton’s 112. Yale took the 200 yard medley relay, clearing 1:37.30 in a two second lead over Harvard’s 1:39.20 (both setting pool and respective school records), but Harvard claimed the medal in the 800 freestyle relay, with a 7:06.06 finish that beat second-place Princeton’s 7:08.58 and Yale’s 7:12:51.  

The second day ended with Harvard pulling a clear lead over Yale, with 545 points to Yale’s 503 and Princeton’s 472, far above the fourth-place University of Pennsylvania’s 295. Harvard dominated two podiums, with the 200 yard individual medley’s first and second places claimed by Georgie Enoch and Meagan Popp, respectively, and the 200 yard freestyle relay won by the Crimson. Freshman Jaycee Yegher, who competed in the 100-200 IM, said of the event:

“It was an awesome thing to experience as a freshman, and I definitely couldn’t have done it without the leadership of our captains.”

She added, “The tensest moment, for me, was the swim off for the last spot for A finals — I was tied for 8th after prelims, and the swim-off was super intense. I’d never experienced anything so high stakes before, with the whole team at the end of the lane cheering for me. That was definitely the hardest part of the meet for me, but also the most fun — because that’s what I love to do, I love to race, so I might as well make it count.”  

The gap just kept getting bigger as the third day ended, as Harvard’s Miki Dahlke won both the 100 yard butterfly and the 200 yard freestyle, beating out Yale’s Maddy Zimmerman and Penn’s Virginia Burns, respectively. Though Yale won more events, claiming the 1000 yard freestyle, the 100 yard breaststroke, the 100 yard backstroke, and the 400 yard medley relay, the Crimson placed more swimmers in each A final to ensure an overall victory.

The final day started — and ended — with a clear Crimson edge. Harvard only won a single event, with Dahlke barely pulling an edge over Yale’s Bella Hindley in the 100 yard freestyle, but its consistent performance was enough to end the meet with 1616 points in the final standings, over Yale’s 1490.5 and Princeton’s 1301. Said Yegher, who placed third in the 200 yard breaststroke:

“We really weren’t expecting anything going into the event. Our goal was to swim as well as we could, for us, and winning would be secondary. Our mindset going into every day was that the score was 0-0, at every session it was 0-0, and we were just there to score as many points as we could — make every session count as if it were the first, and the last. I think we really rose to the occasion, gave it all of our heart and everything we had.”

Jasper Fu ‘21 ([email protected]) is rooting for the Crimson!