2017 NAIA National Championships: Men’s Finals Day 2 Live Recap

2017 NAIA National Championships – Men’s Meet

The Savannah College of Art and Design leads the way on both the men’s and women’s sides of the competition after one day of swimming at the 2017 NAIA National Swimming and Diving Championships in Columbus, Georgia.

The first session in Columbus was more of a mini-session, featuring only morning finals of the 800 free relays, as the NAIA moves closer to the NCAA National Championships schedule. Tonight, the athletes will have a night off to attend the NAIA Nationals Banquet, and they’ll be back in the water tomorrow for a full prelims/finals two-session day. Going into tomorrow, SCAD sits on top of the men’s and women’s point totals with 40 points, followed by Olivet Nazarene (on both sides) with 34 points.

Men’s 200 Free Relay – Final

  • Meet Record – 1:18.43: 3/7/2014, Oklahoma Baptist University (L Lassley, R Robbins, D Ramirez, G Sullivan)
  1. Olivet Nazarene: 1:20.90 (Magnus Andersen, Vladislav Khoroletc, Daniil Kuzmin, Magnus Poulsen)
  2. SCAD: 1:21.41 (Anton Arvidsson, Tim Olbrich, Nick Wargo, Joel Ax)
  3. Thomas: 1:21.51 (Alex Haymond, Tan Dang, Igor Dos Santos, Perry Lindo)

The men of Olivet Nazarene avenged their .02-second loss to SCAD from last year in the 200 free relay, this time taking down the Bees by half a second. Magnus Andersen (20.73), Vladislav Khoroletc (19.89), Daniil Kuzmin (20.21), and Magnus Poulsen (20.07) teamed up for 1:20.90 to win the event. Consistency was the name of the game here, as their fastest leg, a 19.89 from Khoroletc, was far from the fastest in the field.

SCAD, meanwhile, took the win in a three-way race for second against Thomas and Keiser, edged along by a 19.34 anchor leg from Joel AxLeading Ax for SCAD were Anton Arvidsson (20.81), Tim Olbrich (20.62), and Nick Wargo (20.64).

Thomas was just a tenth back from SCAD with a 1:21.51 from Alex Haymond (20.61), Tan Dang (21.30), Igor Dos Santos (20.10), and Perry Lindo (19.50).

Keiser missed the top three by just .03, with anchor leg Andrei Stukov dipping under 20 with a flying start 19.48, and and lead-off Danny Hartley posting the fastest flat start in the field with 20.53. Josiah Morales of Wayland Baptist posted the only other sub-19 flying start leg of the field with and anchor 19.48.

Men’s 500 Free – Final

  • Meet Record – 4:21.49: 3/3/2016, Joel Ax
  1. Joel Thatcher, SCAD: 4:20.35*
  2. Matija Luka Rafaj, Lindenwood-Belleville: 4:30.16
  3. Vinny Lijoi, Thomas: 4:33.26

SCAD freshman Joel Thatcher posted a massive NAIA-record win in the 500 free, coming in ten seconds ahead of the field and downing the meet record. Thatcher’s 4:20.35 outswam the 4:21.49 record set last year by his now-senior teammate Joel Ax

Interestingly, SCAD opted not to swim Ax in this event in his senior season, after he dominated it for his entire college career. This should allow the Bees to diversify their event wins, instead of going for a lower-point Joel-Joel 1-2 punch.

Second went to another freshman, Matija Luka Rafaj of Lindenwood-Belleville with 4:30.16, followed by Thomas sophomore Vinny Lijoi in 4:33.26 and Lindenwood Belleville freshman Niels Engeln fourth with 4:34.09.

Men’s 200 IM – Final

  • Meet Record – 1:47.55: 2011, David Hibberd
  1. Magnus Andersen, ONU: 1:48.11
  2. Daniil Kuzmin, ONU: 1:48.82
  3. Keith Jessee, Asbury: 1:51.06

This is already shaping up to be the year of the freshmen in NAIA competition, as the second individual event of the meet went to Olivet Nazarene freshman Magnus Andersen in 1:48.11. The Tigers scored major points in this event, with sophomore and last year’s national champion Daniil Kuzmin finishing second (1:48.82). (Fifth also went to an Olivet swimmer, junior Charles Bennettin 1:52.97)

The third place finisher was Asbury sophomore Keith Jesse in 1:51.06, improving his fifth-place finish from last year. Fourth was Keiser freshman Lukas Macek in 1:51.43.

Men’s 50 Free – Final

  • Meet Record – 19.71: 3/6/2014, Logan H Lassley
  1. Perry Lindo, Thomas: 19.99
  2. Joel Ax, SCAD: 20.12
  3. Josiah Morales, WBU: 20.22

Thomas freshman Perry Lindo kept the men’s meet freshman winning streak alive in the 50 free, winning the event as the only swimmer to break 20 with 19.99.

SCAD senior Joel Ax went slightly slower than in prelims for second with 20.12. (Interestingly, winning SCAD the same number of points as his or Thatcher’s certain second-place in the 500 would have.) Last year’s runner-up Josiah Morales of Wayland Baptist finished third in 20.22.

Men’s 400 Medley Relay – Final

  • Meet Record: 3:12.88: 3/7/2014, Oklahoma Baptist University (D Ramirez, G Penny, G Sullivan, L Lassley)
  1. SCAD: 3:17.94 (Brogan Bunner, Anton Arvidsson, Joel Ax, Joel Thatcher)
  2. Olivet Nazarene: 3:18.18 (Vladislav Khoroletc, Magnus Andersen, Magnus Poulsen, Daniil Kuzmin)
  3. Keiser: 3:18.85 (Nick Oh, Lukas Macek, Danny Hartley, Andrei Stukov)

Joel Thatcher is on fire tonight. The SCAD freshman pulled off a 43.74 anchor leg to edge SCAD ahead of Olivet Nazarene. The Tigers had a .53-second lead over SCAD at the end of the breaststroke leg, and Thatcher outswam their anchor leg, Daniil Kuzmin, by three-quarters of a second, 43.74 to 44.51, to bring the Bees home to a 3:17.94 victory.

Also swimming for SCAD were Brogan Bunner (50.82 back), Anton Arvidsson (55.29 breast), and Joel Ax (48.09 fly).

Olivet Nazarene ended up second with 3:18.18. Swimming with Kuzmin were Vladislav Khoroletc (50.53 back), Magnus Andersen (55.74 breast), and Magnus Poulsen (47.40 fly).

Third went to Keiser, also boosted by a quick freestyle leg, a 44.28 from Andrei Stukov. Nick Oh led off that relay in 52.03, followed by Lukas Macek in 54.23 and Danny Hartley in 48.31.

Men’s Point Totals after Day 2

Olivet Nazarene leads SCAD by nearly 50 points at the conclusion of day two.

    1.  Olivet Nazarene University 221.5
    2. SCAD 174.5
    3. Keiser University 134
    4. Thomas University 125
    5. Lindenwood U- Belleville 112
    6. University of the Cumberlands 109
    7. Wayland Baptist University 98
    8. Lindsey Wilson College 91
    9. Asbury University 72
    10. St Andrews University 66
    11. West Virginia University-Tech 58
    12. College of Idaho 43
    13. Biola University 40
    14. Union College 17
    15. Loyola New Orleans 12
    16. Milligan College 10
    17.  Morningside College 6
    18. Soka University 3
    19. Tabor College Bluejays 2
    20. St Gregorys University

“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 Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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