Championships loom as swimming and diving drops meet

Schlafer ’17 executes high-scoring 3-meter dive, qualifies for NCAA Zone Diving Championships

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, February 9, 2015

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams finished their seasons on low notes as they fell to dominant Yale squads. The men (2-6, 1-6 Ivy) faced a decisive 126-point deficit in their loss to the Bulldogs (8-2, 5-2), while the women (4-5, 2-5) dropped a 99-point decision to the Elis (7-2, 5-2).

But the numbers obscure a complex picture of a resilient team. As the season winds down, the squad is keyed in on championships. Meet results come second to making sure every swimmer is at his or her competitive peak in the weeks to come.

“We did not put our best lineup in, because we’re less than three weeks away from championships,” said co-captain Kate Dillione ’15. “The coaches decided to give some people a break from their best events.”

But Dillione still competed in one of her trademark events — the 50 yard freestyle. Spearheading Bruno’s scoring efforts, she finished in first place with a time of 23.6 seconds and notched a second place finish in the 100 yard butterfly. Dillione’s season-best time of 23.07 in the 50 free ranks her second in the Ivy League, which bodes well for a strong championship performance. Aja Grande ’18 is not far behind in the fifth spot.

Exhibiting her freestyle prowess, Grande finished first in the 100 yard freestyle Saturday, and teammate Reia Tong ’16  followed her in second place. Dillione, Tong, Grande and Korbyn Simpson ’18 teamed up to take the top spot in the 400 yard freestyle relay to wrap up the meet.

In the buildup to the meet, the Bears began tweaking their training routines in anticipation of championships.

“We have decreased our yardage a bit and added some more recovery days into the mix so our bodies can get stronger,” Dillione said. “We have decreased some volume in the weight room too.”

With championships in mind, the men’s roster felt the same shake-up as the women’s roster. Despite different lineups, both teams still carried a competitive mentality to the meet.

“The goal was the same — to swim fast and race well,” Dillione said.

On the men’s side, many swimmers picked up third place finishes. Cory Mayfield ’16 notched two, placing in both the 200 yard  and 500 yard freestyle. Mayfield did not swim the 1000 yard  freestyle at the meet, but his best time in that event ranks him tenth in the Ivy League. He is followed by Grant Casey ’18, who sits in twelfth place and swam to a third place finish at Yale.

Other third place finishes came from Declan Kennon ’18 in the 200 yard backstroke, Connor Lohman ’17 in the 200 yard breaststroke and Daniel Klotz ’17 in the 100 fly. Jeffrey Strausser ’15 also raced to a third place finish in the 50 free Saturday, but where he really excels is the 100 fly. Strausser’s best performance this season places him sixth in the conference for that event.

Jonathon Schlafer ’17 impressed in New Haven, scoring 329.93 on the 3-meter dive — earning him a berth at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships. His score gave the men’s squad its only win of the day. Schlafer also placed second in the 1-meter dive.

As their training regimen winds down, the Bears are looking around the corner toward championship season, seeking long-awaited rewards from discipline and commitment.

“This time of the season is all about knowing that you’ve done all the grueling work,” Dillione said. “Now it is just time to fine-tune things and get excited.”

Next weekend, Bruno will host its own invitational, feBRUINvite, in preparation for championships three weeks from now.

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