Disclaimer: BlueSeventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week. The BlueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks some as others grabbed the headlines.
An amazing week of college swimming saw maybe the best college conference Saturday of all-time, with conference races across the country coming down to the final day of swimming.
Saturday also saw one of the rarest feats in swimming: a tie for a conference championship – in the mile.
That’s impressive enough on its own, but the context of the race makes it even more exciting.
The Ivy League Women’s Swimming & Diving championships were drenched in drama all week long, with a back-and-forth three-way team battle running from the first event to the last.
After two days of action, Harvard led by just 9 over Yale, with Princeton only 10 back. The first event of day 3? The 1650 freestyle.
The final heat of that event saw three Harvard Crimson, three Yale Bulldogs and two Princeton Tigers in a slugfest of the meet’s top programs.
But it was Yale that rose to the occasion, with star junior Eva Fabian and breakout freshman Cailley Silbert going stroke for stroke in the front of the field.
Harvard’s Sherry Liu hung tough for a while, but the Bulldog duo started to drop her around the 1000-mark, leaving a showdown between two teammates.
Though the first and second place points were all-but-guaranteed by the 1300-mark, neither woman took her foot off the gas. Descending splits late into the race, Silbert suddenly took the lead for the first time at the 1600-turn.But Fabian fought back, outsplitting the freshman by exactly a tenth over the final 50, and the two hit the finish dead even.
Sixteen minutes and twenty-one point nine two seconds after the starter’s beep, Fabian and Silbert tied for the Ivy League title.
One of the most memorable swims from a very dramatic Ivy League meet, the mile was a huge momentum and points boost to Yale, vaulting the Bulldogs into first place by 37 points over Harvard.
Unfortunately for Yale, the lead didn’t quite hold up – they barely beat back Harvard and Princeton event after event, heading into the final diving break with a 29-point lead, but the last two events saw that lead slip away as Princeton ultimately defended their Ivy League title.
Still, as much as high-level sports are about wins and losses, they’re also about the journey – the emotional highs and lows we go through on our way to the end result.
With that in mind, there was perhaps no higher high, and certainly no triumph so memorable, as that Yale mile 1-2.
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