Introducing the NCAA Division 3 Weekly Update! This new series will serve as an overview of important meets and top swims throughout the rest of the 2017-2018 D3 swimming season.
The Story so Far…
We are currently at the halfway point in the Division 3 NCAA season with many teams returning to training after a holiday break. The majority of teams finished 2017 with a midseason meet which meant a lot of fast swimming and a little sneak preview of what NCAAs may look like. Just to be clear I have no knowledge as to how these teams prepared moving into these midseason meets so take these results with a grain of salt.
For the Women:
The Swimulator NCAA rankings has the following teams ranked in the top 5:
Defending Champions Emory will look to defend their titles come March and polling second puts them in a good spot moving into the second half of the season. Kenyon can never be counted out when a NCAA Championship is on the line so expect them to continue throwing down big swims.
Individually we see a lot of familiar names appearing in the top 16 of each event. Emory’s defending champions Fiona Muir (100 freestyle), Cindy Cheng (200 freestyle, 100 backstroke) and Julia Durmer (1650 freestyle) are at the top or close to the top in their events (along with other events) so they are all set up for a good NCAAs come March. In the 100 breaststroke two swimmers already have A cuts, Denison’s KT Kustritz (1:00.50) and Kenyon’s Julia Wilson (1:01.35), so expect a fast and competitive 100 breaststroke at NCAAs. From MIT, the freshman Kailey Allen dropped a current leading time of 2:00.66 in the 200 fly. That time would have snagged her second place at the 2017 NCAAs and, with the 2017 NCAA champion Megan Pierce being a senior last year, puts her as my current favorite to bring home the title.
Looking at the relays, Emory is coming off a huge NCAAs last year after they swept all five of them at NCAAs. So far this season, Emory posts the fastest times in the 200, 400, and 800 free relays with Kenyon close behind in all three. Denison currently has the top time of 1:40.96 in the 200 medley with help from a blistering 27.40 breaststroke split from KT Kustritz. For the 400 medley relays, Kenyon currently owns the top time of 3:42.41 with Denison behind them with a 3:43.77. I would say that we can expect some very fast, very exciting relays in Indianapolis.
For the Men:
The Swimulator NCAA rankings has the following teams in the top 5:
No surprise here when you look at the top 5 Men’s teams. MIT placed eighth last year at NCAAs so they make a decent jump so far, but for the most part these are all the teams the division has come to expect to be at the top. Emory is the defending champion coming into this season after they won their first ever team title. Look for strong performances from them as the season continues as they gear up to win another.
As for the individuals, coming off of a 2017 NCAAs that only the top 15 athletes were invited in each event, we see the same competitiveness taking shape. The graduating class of 2017 was responsible for a large chunk of NCAA Champions and their departure has cleared the way for other swimmers to step up. In the sprints, we see Emory’s 2 time defending champion in the 50 freestyle Oliver Smith send a message to the country with a leading 19.60 A cut in the 50 freestyle and a 43.90 in the 100 freestyle. Smith will look to win the 100 freestyle this year after placing third in 2017 behind two graduating seniors. In the 200 freestyle, Johns Hopkins looks like they may win the 200 freestyle for the second year in a row with a top time of 1:37.41 from Brandon Fabian. Thomas Gordon from Emory will look to capitalize in the 500 and the 1650 now that both of the senior swimmers who beat him in 2017 are gone. In the 100 backstroke 5 men are in the 48 second range, including Emory’s Sage Ono who placed third last year at NCAAs with a 47.93 behind two seniors. NYU’s Ian Rainey placed second last year at NCAAs in the 400 IM and currently sits behind Kenyon’s Mick Bartholomew who owns the top time of 3:53.36.