2016 NAIA Men’s Nationals Day 2 – Ax Posts 2nd Record; ONU Still Leads

2016 NAIA National Championships – Men’s Meet

  • Dates: Wednesday, March 2 – Saturday, March 5, 2016; prelims 9 am, finals 5 pm
  • Location: Columbus Aquatic Center, Columbus, Georgia (Eastern Time Zone)
  • Defending Champions: Oklahoma Baptist University (results)
  • Live Results: Available here
  • Live Video: Available here
  • Championship Central


Even an upset victory in the 200 free relay and a national record in the 200 free for junior Joel Ax couldn’t propel the Savannah College of Art and Design past Olivet Nazarene University on Day 2 of the 2016 NAIA Men’s National Championship.

In addition to ONU, who improved 31 points from prelims to finals, Lindenwood-Belleville had an excellent Day 2 in Columbus, Georgia, improving their positions in all but one event and gaining 14.5 points on the day, with respect to their prelims finishes.

200 Free Relay – Final

  1. SCAD Savannah 1:21.91
  2. Olivet Nazarene 1:21.93
  3. Andrews 1:22.93

SCAD’s distance specialist Joel Ax was the leadoff on the Bees’ 200 free relay. The junior got his team off to a good start, clocking a 20.30 for the fastest leadoff time by 4/10. That half-body length turned out to be crucial, as Olivet Nazarene outsplit SCAD over the next two legs of the relay. At ONU’s final exchange, the Tigers led by .07. After Ax (20.30), Nick Wargo (20.68), and Mark Shvartsman (20.74), Anton Arvidsson stepped up to the block and swam a 20.19 anchor to give the Bees the victory in 1:21.91. ONU was second with 1:21.93. St. Andrews came in third with 1:22.93.

400 Individual Medley – Final

  1. Daniil Kuzmin, ONU 3:55.53
  2. Tyler Prescott, SCAD Savannah 3:56.58
  3. Connor Wilson, SCAD Savannah 4:00.18

Top-seeded ONU freshman Daniil Kuzmin cracked a 3:55.53 to win the 400 IM over SCAD teammates Tyler Prescott and Connor Wilson. Kuzmin was out like a shot, building up a 2 body length lead by the fly-to-back wall. Prescott made up a little ground in the backstroke, but Kuzmin kept his distance with a strong breaststroke leg. Wilson, meanwhile, moved up a spot with his breaststroke and almost caught teammate Prescott in second. Prescott brought it home faster than anyone in the field, moving back in front of Wilson and nearly catching Kuzmin. In the end, it was Kuzmin with the win, Prescott a second back with 3:56.58, and Wilson another 3.5 behind with 4:00.18.

100 Butterfly – Final

  1. Frank Tapia, ONU 49.04
  2. Mark Shvartsman, SCAD Savannah 49.45
  3. Igor Dozortsev, Cumberlands, 49.52

The entire A final of the men’s 100 fly all came to the wall less than a second and a half apart. SCAD senior Mark Shvartsman was the first out of the chutes, turning in 22.91. ONU junior Frank Tapia turned on the jets over the second half of the race and finished with nearly a half-body length lead, 49.04 to 49.45 for Shvartsman. Cumberlands junior Igor Dozortsev came in third with 49.52.

200 Freestyle – Final

  1. Joel Ax, SCAD Savannah, 1:34.90
  2. Lucas Dengler-Harles, Lindenwood-Belleville, 1:38.70
  3. Vlad Khoroletc, Cumberlands, 1:41.10

Two-time defending champion Joel Ax of SCAD Savannah was just off his NAIA record time in prelims, going 1:36.85, but having split 1:43.3 anchoring SCAD’s 800 free relay on Thursday night there was speculation he might lower his own record in for tonight’s final. Did he ever. Ax went out like a shot, and was already half a body length up on Lindenwood-Belleville’s Lucas Dengler-Harles by the 50. Dengler-Harles continued to push Ax, which turned out to be good for both of them. Ax finished strong and lowered his national mark by 1.8 seconds, settling it at 1:34.90.

Dengler-Harles came in second with 1:38.70. Cumberlands sophomore Vlad Khoroletc rounded out the top 8 with 1:41.10.

100 Breaststroke – Final

  1. Calvin Price, ONU 54.86
  2. Bjoern Globke, Wayland Baptist 55.30
  3. Connor Wilson, SCAD Savannha 55.79

Calvin Price of ONU improved on his prelims time by .07 to claim the gold in the men’s 100 breast with 54.86. Wayland Baptist’s Bjoern Globke went 55.30 for second. Connor Wilson of SCAD out-touched teammate Anton Arvidsson by 2/100 for the  bronze medal with 55.79.

100 Backstroke – Final

  1. Jacob Anderson, ONU 48.83
  2. Karl Hegwein, SCAD Savannah 49.22
  3. Daniel Buijs, St. Andrews 49.48

ONU’s Jacob Anderson shot out to the early lead in the men’s 100 back, going up by about 2/10 by the 50 wall. SCAD junior Karl Hegwein tried to catch him, but Anderson’s second half was just as strong as his first, and he won with a 4/10 margin, 48.83 to 49.22. Daniel Buijs of St. Andrews outsplit everyone over the last 50 years, and finished third in 49.48.

400 Medley Relay – Final

  1. Olivet Nazarene 3:16.71
  2. SCAD Savannah 3:17.14
  3. Lindenwood-Belleville 3:21.28

Given that ONU had won the 100 back, 100 breast, and 100 fly individual events, it wasn’t surprising that they would win the medley relay as well. SCAD Savannah made it a challenge though, putting Ax on the anchor. Down by a body length and a half, Ax nearly made up the distance over the 100 yards but fell just short and ended up earning the silver medal with his teammates. ONU finished in 3:16.19; SCAD, 3:17.14.

Third place went to Lindenwood-Belleville in 3:21.28.

Team Standings Day Two

Rank Team Points Vs Prelims Vs Psych
Olivet Nazarene University 493.5 33 162
SCAD Savannah 426 -1 25
Lindenwood University – Belleville 254 16.5 -56
West Virginia University Institute of Technology 189.5 -16 -43
University of the Cumberlands 186 -37 -58
Wayland Baptist University 186 21 0
St. Andrews University 155 -7 -18
Asbury University 135 4 14
Lindsey Wilson College 126 -12 -22
The College of Idaho 100 10 16
Thomas University 89 -2 7
Biola University 88 -18 -3
Union College 80 -3 -14
Saint Gregory’s University 32 8 -4
Morningside College 28 0 -12
Soka University of America 16 -1 10
Tabor College 12 4 4
Bethel University 10 0 0
Milligan College 3 -3.5 -12


“The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics.

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.”


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About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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