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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Swimming: Vanderbilt beats Tulane on Senior Day

Sophomore Ellie Taliaferro earned two individual victories, leading the Commodores to a win in their final regular season meet.
Ellie+Taliaferro+swimming+freestyle%2C+as+photographed+on+Feb.+2%2C+2024.+%28Vanderbilt+Athletics%29
Vanderbilt Athletics
Ellie Taliaferro swimming freestyle, as photographed on Feb. 2, 2024. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

On Friday, Vanderbilt defeated Tulane 136.5-67.5 in its final regular season meet. The Commodores dominated the Green Wave on Senior Day, winning seven of nine individual events. While it was an entire team effort that allowed Vanderbilt to earn the win, Ellie Taliaferro was a star, earning two individual victories.

“This is a great way to send off our seniors with some good swims,” head coach Jimmy Organ said. “It’s always sweeter when you can finish the regular season with a home victory.”

Vanderbilt began the meet by taking gold in both the 400-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay. Taliaferro was able to anchor the 400-yard freestyle relay and secure a much needed victory for the Commodores. It was these strong team performances that set the tone for the individual races. 

Kailia Utley won the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 10 minutes, 30.64 seconds which gave her a team-leading 15th win in the event for her career. Following this long distance swim, Jenna Ravarino was able to touch the wall first in the 50-yard freestyle and earn the Commodores’ second individual victory of the day. Ravarino was 0.3 seconds off her season-best time after swimming the race in 24.18 seconds.  

Taliaferro was able to get her first individual victory of the meet in the 200-yard IM. Later that day, she grabbed gold in the 100-yard freestyle to earn her two individual victories. It was the first time that Taliaferro has grabbed gold in two events in one meet since arriving on West End. 

“Ellie has quietly been having a really strong season, today things aligned where that showed,” Organ said. “We’re extremely happy for her with her races today. Her effort lifted the team and helped that energy stay up.

Sophia Kosturos placed first in the 100-yard backstroke and Mercedes Traba took gold in the 500-yard freestyle. It was Traba’s 14th win since coming to Vanderbilt and she finished the race in a time of 5:03.59. 

Faith Knelson continued her dominant performances in the pool against Tulane, winning the 100-yard breaststroke to earn her fifth win of the season. In the final event of the day, Knelson swam the race in a time of 1:02.82 to secure the Commodores a team win. 

It was an array of dominant individual performances that propelled Vanderbilt to its third straight win. By capturing seven of the nine individual races, the Commodores were able to beat Tulane in dominant fashion and gain momentum heading into the postseason. 

“It was a really good team effort today, sometimes it’s hard with that emotion—there were a lot of alumni back and a lot of parents were here—but they were able to put that aside and everybody chipped in in their own way to give us a real good team victory,” Organ said. 

Vanderbilt will travel to Auburn, Ala. to compete in the SEC Championships beginning on Feb. 20.

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About the Contributor
Henry Oelhafen
Henry Oelhafen, Deputy Sports Editor
Henry Oelhafen (‘26) is a student in Peabody College majoring in human and organizational development and minoring in business. Henry grew up as a Vanderbilt sports fan and loves to talk about both professional and amateur golf. In addition to writing, he loves to play golf with friends, hike and try new restaurants. He can be reached at [email protected].
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