Bluegrass Mountain Conference – Men and Women
Day Four of the Bluegrass Mountain Conference championships followed the same script as the first three nights, as meet records fell left and right, making this the fastest BMC championship meet ever. Queens University of Charlotte men’s and women’s swim teams continued to dominate the competition and finished the weekend with respective team titles, ending Wingate’s two-year streak on the women’s side, and seven-year streak on the men’s.
It was Wingate’s Julie Wessler who opened the show, however, with a commanding performance in the 1650 free. She won by over 11 seconds in 16:49.80. Nikki Johnston (17:00.95) and Meridith Boudreaux (17:08.77) of Queens finished second and third. Freshman Nick Arakelian of Queens won the men’s mile in meet-record time of 15:11.07, more than 6 seconds better than the old mark. Teammate Alex Menke was second in 15:18.32, and Johns Hopkins’ Andrew Greenhalgh third, in 15:25.93.
Defending champion Caroline Arakelian of Queens won the 200 back, touching in 1:57.67, just off her meet record time from 2014. Vika Arkhipova from Wingate looked like she might give Arakelian a run for the title but had to settle for second place with 1:59.98. Carson-Newman’s Amanda Henderson placed third in 2:02.45.
Ben Taylor of Queens and Carson-Newman’s Paul Ungur had an exciting battle in the men’s race. The pair traded stroke for stroke until the end, when Taylor put it into another gear and got the touch, 1:46.09 to 1:46.39. Queens’ Zach Phelps moved into third with a 1:47.09 finish.
The 100 free was a thriller from start to finish, as Patri Castro Ortega of Queens and Ana Bogdanovski of Johns Hopkins had the crowd on its feet. It was clear there would be a new record by the end of the race, but who would get to the wall first? In the end they both came in under the previous meet mark of 50.03 set by Bogdanovski last year. Castro Ortega won the race, 49.31 to 49.53. Teammate Lillian Gordy was a second back with 50.59 for third place. That was the third individual record Castro Ortega destroyed over the course of the meet; she also broke the 500 free and 400 IM meet records. She came dangerously close to breaking the NCAA D2 national records in the events, as well.
Just when the audience’s pulse was returning to normal, the men put on an equally exciting 100 free show. Catawba’s Sebastian Holmberg was first out of the gates in 21.1, but both Jerome Heidrich and Issam Zeraidi of Wingate had superb finishes and touched out Holmberg under the flags. The final times were Heidrich, 44.49, Zeraidi, 44.53, and Holmberg 44.64.
In the 200 breast, Wingate’s Olga Kosheleva swam to a meet record by 1/100, winning in 2:16.39. Second place went to Maggie Melhorn from Carson-Newman in 2:18.04. Johns Hopkins’ Gwynnie LaMastra earned the bronze with 2:19.37.
Queens’ Nic Eriksson blew everyone away in the men’s 200 breast. It looked for a while like Tobias Feigl of Limestone and Wingate’s Roman Kanyuka were going to make it a close race, but the two fell off at the 100 and it was Eriksson all alone over the next four laps. He ended up breaking the meet record by 1.2 seconds with 1:55.97. Feigl finished second with 1:59.01 and Kanyuka was third in 2:00.10.
Hannah Peiffer of Queens not only broke her own 200 fly meet record (2:00.40) from last year, but she was also more than a half-second under the NCAA B2 record (1:58.84) with her 1:58.32 first-place finish. Wingate’s Sofia Petrenko was runner-up with 2:00.04, which was also under the previous meet mark. McKenzie Stevens of Queens went 2:02.72 for third.
Matt Josa of Queens clocked a 1:44.97 in the men’s 200 fly and obliterated the meet record (1:47.55 from 2011) in the final individual event of the evening. SCAD’s Joel Ax broke away from the rest of the field over the third 50 and really brought it home on the fourth 50. He finished in 1:48.57, more than 2 seconds in front of Mark Wilson of Johns Hopkins (1:50.63).
The Royals topped off their excellent four days with meet records in both the women’s and men’s 400 free relays. Castro Ortega (49.72), Arakelian (50.22), Gordy (50.25), and Alexandra Marshall (50.73) combined for a winning 3:20.92, 2.2 seconds better than the old meet mark. Wingate placed second in 3:26.94; Johns Hopkins, third, in 3:26.98.
Josa (43.44), Taylor (43.35), John Suther (46.41), and Hayden Kosater (44.60) erased .24 off the meet record with their 2:57.80. Wingate went 2:58.89 for second, while Catawba took third with 3:01.24.
Unsurprisingly, Queens’ Patri Castro Ortega earned the nod for Swimmer of the Meet for the women. Matt Josa and Nick Arakelian, with three meet records each, shared the men’s honors. Queens head coach Jeff Dugdale won the Coach of the Year award for both women and men’s teams.
Final Standings – Women
- Queens University of Charlotte 1518
- Wingate University 1271
- Johns Hopkins University 1155
- Carson-Newman University 866
- Limestone Swimming 747
- SCAD 493
- Catawba College 405
- Pfeiffer University 276
- West Virginia Wesleyan College 263
- Converse College 232
- Davis & Elkins College 219
- Lenoir Rhyne University 210
- Fairmont State University 208
Final Standings – Men
- Queens University of Charlotte 1548
- Wingate University 1095.5
- Limestone Swimming 1013.5
- Johns Hopkins University 819
- Catawba College 621
- Carson-Newman University 607
- SCAD 489
- Fairmont State University 387
- Pfeiffer University 365
- Lenoir Rhyne University 243
- Davis & Elkins College 242
- West Virginia Wesleyan College 193