(Have no fear SwimSwam fans, we’ll be on deck later this week and bring you some photos from the actual meet.)
Caroline Wilson from Williams College had the opportunity to turn a three-way tie into a four-way tie for the most individual career NCAA Division III Women’s swimming titles this year. She entered the meet with 8 total victories; in her three previous runs at the NCAA Championships, the only blemish on her record was in 2011, where Kendra Stern from Amherst upset her for the 500 free title. That means that Wilson is 8-for-9 in NCAA titles. She’s rewritten the D3 record books in four seasons, and is the star of the women’s side at this meet.
Her quest for number’s 9-through-11 though took a huge zig in the first day’s preliminary session, though. She took top seeds in the 500 free and the 200 IM: the latter of which isn’t an event that she’s swum before at this level. She’ll drop the 1,650, an event she’s never lost at this meet, in its stead. With her 1:58.11 being the top seed by more than two seconds in that event, it doesn’t look like it’s going to cost her, but the result for Wednesday’s finals session will be back-to-back swims.
incidentally, with that swim, Wilson became the first woman in NCAA D3 Championship history to break two minutes and absolutely crushed the old Meet Record.
She’s the top seed in the 500 free as well, though that swim might be a little dicier in finals. She was a 4:47.32, and sophomore teammate Sarah Thompson is just behind her in 4:48.05. If history serves, though, it should take at least a 4:45 to win this title.
Overall, the men’s morning swims look like they’re going to set up for much more competitive finals. Jeff Depew from Redlands took the top seed in the men’s 200 IM in 1:48.77, but just over a second separates him from the 8th seed. Dennison’s Quinn Bartlett is the second seed, also better than a 1:49, and Jeff’s older brother Chris Depew sits 3rd.
The men’s 500 free is similarly deep, with the top five seeds all posting morning marks of under 4:27.37. Kenyon’s Andrew Chevalier was atop that pile in 4:27.3, but that is far from a comfortable perch. Drew Ledwith is just behind him and was easily the fastest in-season this year, and defending champion Al Weik from Denison sits as the 4th seed. We know that Weik is a danger to pop off something under 4:20 in the final.
In the sprints, Wheaton College’s Kirsten Nitz is the top seed in 22.82; Kellie Pennington from Springfield is second in 23.11. Nitz, just a freshman, was the top seed coming in and will be shooting for her season best, at least, in finals (22.66).
The men’s race, as it often is in sprinting, will be dominated by seniors. The top four prelims swimmers will all be out of eligibility this season, and in total 6 in the A-final will be the same. That’s led by MIT’s Wyatt Ubellacker in 19.51. That mark for him is actually faster than the one with which now-Michigan swimmer Zach Turk won NCAA’s last year, though the record remains Turk’s 19.38 from prelims.
Erik Klontz from Carleton College is the 2nd seed in 19.86.