2015 NAIA National Championships – Women’s Meet
- Dates: Wednesday, March 4 – Saturday, March 7, 2015; prelims 9:00 am, finals 5:00 pm
- Location: Oklahoma City Community College, Oklahoma City, OK (Central Time Zone)
- Defending Champions: Oklahoma Baptist University (results)
- Live Results: Available
The women of Oklahoma Baptist won their third team title in a row, closing out the 2015 NAIA National Swimming and Diving Championships with 731 points. The Bison are the only team in the meet with a full roster and divers, so it’s never really a contest. If there was any excitement to this year’s championship it was the back-and-forth races for second place between SCAD and Brenau, and for fourth among Concordia University of Irvine, University of the Cumberlands, and Olivet Nazarene, that only the coaches were ever aware of.
Brenau got off to a good start and led through the first three events but SCAD outscored Brenau by 19 in the 50 free and closed out Day One ahead by a 13-point margin. Brenau had a very strong Day Two, especially in finals where they picked up 8 points from prelims, while the Bees lost 12. The Golden Tigers had reduced SCAD’s lead to 8 by the end of Day Two, and it could have been anyone’s game on Day Three. SCAD started Saturday with a bang, qualifying 6 up/2 down to Brenau’s 2 up/6 down. In the mile, Brenau won the event and added 34 points to their total, but three SCAD distance swimmers finished in the top eight and thus erased Brenau’s advantage. The Golden Tigers performed even better than expected in the 200 back and 200 breast, narrowing the margin to 2 points after each of those two events. But SCAD had 3 up/1 down in the 200 fly, and that made all the difference. With a 38-point lead heading into the 400 free relay, the Bees could DFS and still take home the runner-up team trophy. They didn’t, of course; the SCAD quartet rocketed to a second-place finish with a school record, and the Bees closed out the meet 42 points outside of Brenau’s reach.
The CUI / Cumberlands / ONU battle was even more intense. Interestingly, CUI and Cumberlands are two of the only three NAIA women’s programs with diving teams. Without those extra points, it might have been a different story in the race for fourth. And yet, even though 88% of the teams in this meet had no divers, this is still a swimming and diving championship so every point counts. The three teams shuffled back and forth, trading leads after every event. Cumberlands finished Day One slightly ahead. On Day Two, ONU took over the lead after the 4IM, then traded back and forth with CUI over the rest of the day. CUI was up by 4 headed into Day Three. ONU outscored both opponents in each of the swimming events, but diving points were tallied just before the final relay, and now ONU was the third of the trio, trailing CUI by 19 and Cumberlands by 5. ONU dropped 5 full seconds from their morning relay but fell .19 short of finishing fourth, which would have given them a 1-point margin over Cumberlands. Instead, they lost by 17 to CUI and by 1 to Cumberlands.
Courtney Hayward of Brenau, runner-up in 2014, won the 1650 in 16:58.36. Grace Van Ryckeghem came in second, SCAD’s Caroline Lepesant, third.
Laura Bryant of ONU dropped nearly a minute en route to a fourth-place 17:49.16, only .04 ahead of Brenau’s Ella Kleinschmidt. Alice Oggionni of SCAD placed sixth with 17:50.75, and Meghan O’Rourke of Concordia (17:55.61) and Shannon Brouk (17:56.61) rounded out the top eight.
OBU’s Ines Remersaro eked out a win in the 200 back, robbing top-seeded Talia Sola of Brenau, who had won the 100 the night before, of a backstroke twofer. Remersaro went 2:00.27 to Sola’s 2:00.34. OBU’s Tammy Price had an excellent come-from-behind victory over Cumberlands’ Parent for third. Down by a body length at the 150, Price outsplit Parent by a full second over the last 50 to win, 2:02.64 to 2:02.80.
ONU’s Tiffany Ray finished a second back at 2:03.80 for fifth, while Bailee Spivey of Life (2:06.16), Hannah Legg of SCAD (2:07.50), and Alena Titenkova of OBU (2:10.95) made up the rest of the championship final.
Defending champion Laura Galarza of OBU completed her sprint free trifecta with a 49.63 victory in the 100 free. Her teammate Emma Forbes-Milne posted a 50.81 to touch out Biola’s Lisa Tixier (50.91) for third.
ONU’s Eugenia Sebastiani (51.35), Andrea Antonissen (51.65) and Lexie Keller (51.85) of OBU, Selena Warburton of the College of Idaho (52.72), and Haley Thompson of SCAD (53.40) followed.
OBU’s Kerryn Mullin made it a 100/200 breaststroke sweep with a 2:19.83 blowout of the field in the final. Brenau’s Mary Katherine Jabbia (2:24.29) touched second, narrowly beating Kendra Monnin of West Virginia University Institute of Technolgy (2:24.87).
Leslie White of OBU led the rest of the field with her fourth-place 2:25.21; then came Jessica Wilson of Concordia (2:26.64), Jule Stein of Union College (2:26.72), Columbia College’s Safiyyah Abdullah (2:27.40), and Alle Ragland of SCAD (2:28.47).
Defending champion Christine Tixier of Biola won her third event of the meet with her third record, this time clocking a 2:00.89 to take the 200 fly crown. Concordia’s Baliee Blankemeier, who won the 400 IM, was two full seconds back with 2:02.80. Lindsey Wilson’s Laura Stephenson (2:06.03) held off fast-charging Rebecca Justus (2:06.30) and Samantha Benson (2:06.49) of SCAD for third.
The rest of the A final consisted of Van Ryckeghem of Cumberlands (2:07.25) and Mikala Nelson of Concordia (2:08.57).
OBU’s Kristen Brimage dominated the boards, winning both 1-meter and 3-meter diving over the three-day meet. In 1-meter, Brimage scored 266.30 points to top teammate Genesis Veliz (239.45 and Cumberlands’ Michelle McDonald (237.55).
Rounding out the 1-meter final were Dominique Seghezzi and Haley McVay of Concordia and Lydia Kellar and Skylar Underwood of OBU.
Brimage won by a more narrow margin on the 3-meter board with 252.35 points over McDonald (237.90) and Veliz (205.90). Seghezzi, McVay, and Kellar scored fourth through sixth.
400 Freestyle Relay
OBU went out with a meet record of 3:23.11 in the 400 free relay from Galarza (49.94), Forbes-Milne (50.47), Antonissen (50.90), and Keller (51.80). With the 4×100 free win, the Bison swept all five relays.
SCAD’s Heather Partlow, Julie Woody, Samantha Benson, and Thompson edged Biola’s C Tixier, Victoria Turner, Angela Kirschner, and L Tixier, 3:29.44 to 3:29.46, for second.
Brenau (3:31.34), ONU (3:31.53), Concordia (3:32.28), Cumberlands (3:32.77), and College of Idaho (3:36.51) rounded out the podium.
Final Standings – Women
- Oklahoma Baptist University 745
- SCAD Savannah 481
- Brenau University 439
- Concordia University 348
- University of the Cumberlands 332
- Olivet Nazarene University 331
- Biola University 296
- College of Idaho 164
- Union College 143
- Lindsey Wilson College 88
- Wayland Baptist University 66
- Lindenwood University 65
- Columbia College 46
- Andrews University 43
- Soka University 40
- WVU Institute of Technology 35
- Thomas University 31
- Asbury University 28
- Life University 16
- Morningside College 12
- College of Saint Mary 6
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In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character building aspects of sport. Through Champions of Character, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values.”