It doesn’t get any more exciting than to have an entire meet come down to the final 50 of the final leg of the final event of the night. And yet that’s exactly where the Columbia-Yale matchup wound up. And in that highly charged atmosphere, who better to have on the end of the relay than double event winner Rob Harder of Yale…unless it’s clutch swimmer David Jakl of Columbia.
But college swimming is a team sport, and the efforts of all the men on both teams led up to that final 23 seconds. Yale divers Tyler Pramer (318.23) and James McNelis started things off with a 1-3 finish in 3-meter diving. Second place went to Columbia’s Micah Rembrandt.
The 200 medley relay was close, but the Lions’ Michael Fox-Moles, Matt Swallow, Jakl, and Alex Ngan edged out the Bulldogs’ Mike Lazris, Andrew Heymann, Alwin Firmansyah, and Victor Zhang, 1:31.46 to 1:31.83.
Yale came back in the 1000 with a 1-2 finish from sophomore Brian Hogan (9:23.44) and freshman Ben Lerude (9:24.89). Columbia freshman Jack Foster was third.
The Elis’ Harder held off a last-fifty charge by Columbia freshman Terry Li to win the 200 free, 1:39.24 to 1:39.46. Li’s teammate Jakl was third.
In the 100 back Columbia was back on top with a 50.49 victory from sophomore Ben Xu. Fellow Lion Fox-Moles was second; Bulldog sophomore Kevin Stang was third.
The scale tipped back in Yale’s favor in the 100 breast: juniors Heymann (56.82) and Ronald Tsui went 1-2. Stanley Wong was the first of the three Lions who finished 3-4-5.
Yale junior Firmansyah won the 200 fly in 1:48.59, ahead of Columbia’s Kevin Quinn and Alex Mango.
Columbia went 1-3 in the 50 free with juniors Ngan and Dominik Koll. Ngan led the way in 20.77. Yale freshman Aaron Greenberg was .07 back in second.
Divers Rembrandt (311.78) and Derek Kim kept Columbia on top with a 1-2 finish in the 1-meter dive. McNelis of Yale was third.
The Lions’ Li touched out his teammate Ngan 45.86 to 45.98 to win the 100 free. Greenberg of Yale finished third.
Yale popped back with a strong finish in the 200 back: Harder took his second victory of the night, winning in 1:48.93 just in front of teammate Stang’s 1:49.23. Third place went to Columbia’s Xu.
Yale continued to close the gap with another 1-2 finish in the 200 breast from Heymann (2:02.54) and Tsui. Columbia sophomore John Santoro was third.
The Bulldogs’ Hogan won his second distance freestyle event going 4:32.17 in the 500. Columbia freshman Nikita Bondarenko was second, five seconds ahead of Yale’s Lerude.
Jakl of Columbia won the 100 fly in 48.66, a second in front of Yale’s Firmansyah. Jakl’s teammate Li took third.
Yale’s Heymann was way out in front in the 200 IM, winning in 1:50.90. Three Lions followed: Eric Traub, Ronald Chen, and Quinn.
Leading into the final event the Elis were up by three. Whoever won the 400 free relay would emerge victorious. Columbia’s foursome consisted of Li, Ngan, Xu, and Jakl. Yale’s was composed of Firmansyah, Zhang, Greenberg, and Harder. With a very edgy relay start of +.05 Jakl outsplit Harder 44.65 to 45.04 and the Columbia Lions had won the meet. Very exciting season opener in front of the home crowd at Percy Uris Natatorium.
Final score: Columbia Lions 153 – Yale Bulldogs 147