2018 NAIA Men’s National Championships – Keiser Wins First-Ever Team Title

2018 NAIA National Championships – Men’s Meet

The Keiser University Seahawks dominated from beginning to end and finished with their first NAIA Men’s National Swimming and Diving title.

Men’s 1650 Yard Freestyle – Timed Final

  • Meet Record: 15:18.39, 2017, Joel Thatcher, SCAD
  1. Niels Engeln, Lindenwood-Belleville 15:38.00
  2. Manuel Laguna Gomez, WVU-Tech 15:51.37
  3. Xavier Bordes Adell, Olivet Nazarene 15:51.53

Nathan Kuszynski of St Ambrose dropped 47.5 seconds in the earlier heats of 1650 freestyles to set the time to beat in the timed final with 16:07.00. SCAD sophomore Josh Smilie finished second in the morning with 16:09.98, a nearly 20-second from his seed time. The two wound up sixth and seventh overall.

Lindenwood-Belleville sophomore Niels Engeln took charge of the race early on. He held a slight lead over the field at the 200 but by the 300 wall he had begun to put some distance between himself and the rest of the field. ONU sophomore Xavier Bordes Adell was in his wake through the 500 but then began to fade. WVU-Tech’s Manuel Laguna Gomez played a waiting game, creeping up on Bordes Adell over the second half of the race and making his move over the final 500 yards. Engeln finished all alone with 15:38.00, dropping 15.7 from his seed time. Laguna Gomez finished second in 15:51.37, getting the touch on Bordes Adell (15:51.53) over the final 50 yards.

The rest of the top-8 included Keiser senior Wyatt Engler (15:59.29), WVU-Tech’s Marcos de Paula Damas (16:04.92), Kuszynski of St. Ambrose, SCAD’s Smilie, and Cumberlands freshman Alan Senn (16:12.27).

Men’s 200 Yard Backstroke – Final

  • Meet Record: 1:45.61, 2012, Ryan Searles, SCAD
  1. Gergo Zachar, SCAD 1:47.24
  2. Carolus Josefina, Lindenwood-Belleville 1:50.59
  3. Charles Bennett, Olivet Nazarene 1:50.62

SCAD freshman Gergo Zachar led from start to finish; he won his second national title (after the 100 back on Friday) in clean water, coming to the wall in 1:47.24. ONU senior Charles Bennett held the second position throughout the first 150 yards but Lindenwood-Belleville’s Carolus Josefina pulled ahead between the flags and the wall to touch him out for the silver, 1:50.59 to 1:50.62.

Daric Sundeen of Cumberlands (1:51.08), Brogan Bunner of SCAD (1:52.62), Lindenwood-Belleville’s Santiago Baro (1:52.79), Clay Bisher of Asbury (1:53.28), and Trey James of Loyola (1:57.78) completed the championship final.

Men’s 100 Yard Freestyle – Final

  • Meet Record: 42.53, 2014, Daniel Z Ramirez, Oklahoma Baptist
  1. Marcel Nagy, Keiser 44.46
  2. N’Nhyn Fernander, Keiser 45.56 44.73
  3. Andrei Stukov, Keiser 45.11

Keiser swept the podium in the 100 free, with sophomore Marcel Nagy leading the way in 44.46. Freshman N’Nhyn Fernander followed closely, touching in 44.73. Junior Andrei Stukov, swimming in lane 1, stopped the clock in 45.11 to take third.

The next two spots went to Thomas’s Perry Lindo (45.26) and Alex Haymond (45.30). SCAD freshman Zoltan Monori finished sixth (45.46) ahead of Keiser’s Justin Lewis (45.75) and ONU’s Guilherme Magnoler (46.12).

Men’s 200 Yard Breaststroke – Final

  • Meet Record: 1:56.96, 2015, Fernando Morillas, OBU
  1. Lukas Macek, Keiser 1:57.97
  2. Joel Hansson, Keiser 2:01.42
  3. Manuel Serrano Laguna, WVU-Tech 2:02.59

After winning the 200 IM on Thursday and the 100 breast on Friday, Keiser sophomore Lukas Macek completed his hat trick with a gold medal in the 200 breast. Macek dominated the race from the outset, turning nearly a body length in front of the field at the 50. He won by 3.5 seconds with 1:57.97, only 1.01 off the meet record. His teammate, junior Joel Hansson, finished second in 2:01.42 from lane 3. Manuel Serrano Laguna of WVU-Tech dropped 3.2 seconds from prelims to move from 8th qualifier to bronze medal winner.

Less bunched up than in prelims, the rest of the A final consisted of Keiser freshman Deion Alfajora (2:03.05), ONU senior Nate Peterson (2:04.51), WVU-Tech’s Paulo Dias Ignacio (2:04.72), Life University freshman Gustav Lucas (2:05.19), and Union freshman Henrique Saraceni (2:05.66).

Men’s 200 Yard Butterfly – Final

  • Meet Record: 1:46.62, 2011, Javier Hernandez, Lindenwood
  1. Iran Cavalcante-Almeida, Olivet Nazarene 1:45.27
  2. Gergo Zachar, SCAD 1:50.70
  3. Martin du Teilleul, Lindenwood-Belleville 1:51.55

ONU freshman Iran Cavalcante-Almeida took a giant 1.35-second chunk out of the meet record of 1:46.63, set in 2011 by Javier Hernandez of Lindenwood University (in Saint Charles, Missouri, which has since moved to NCAA Division II). Cavalcante-Almeida look smooth and unhurried throughout the race. He split his race 23.33/26.26/27.37/28.31 for a final time of 1:45.27.

SCAD freshmen Gergely Harsanyi, swimming in lane 5, and Miles Kredich, swimming next to him in lane 6, tried to go with Cavalcante-Almeida but it was painful. They were both 51-mids at the 100 and 1:20s at the 150, but both came home in 31s to finish fifth and fourth, respectively, with 1:52.06 and 1:51.94.

SCAD freshman Gergo Zachar clocked a 1:50.70 to clinch the silver medal, while Martin du Teilleul of Lindenwood-Belleville came in just ahead of Kredich and Harsanyi with 1:51.55 for third.

Sixth through eighth went to College of Idaho’s Andrew Clifford (1:53.31), ONU sophomore Seth Cripe (1:53.59), and Lindenwood-Belleville junior Timo Billmann (1:55.10).

Men’s 1-Meter Diving – Final

  • Meet Record: 587.35, 2004, Grant Brehaut, Simon Fraser
  1. David Groh, Cumberlands 213.40

David Groh of Cumberlands outperformed his prelims diving by 12.25 point to finish the meet with 213.40 on the 1-meter board.

Men’s 400 Yard Freestyle Relay – Final

  • Meet Record: 2:56.93, 2015, Oklahoma Baptist University (J Goyetche, M Sambolin, J Sossa, D Ramirez)
  1. Keiser 2:56.94
  2. Olivet Nazarene 3:00.68
  3. SCAD 3:02.07

Keiser finished the meet with a 2:56.94 rout in the 400 free relay. Sophomore Justin Lewis led off in 45.80, handing off to Nagy in second place behind SCAD thanks to a 45.03 from Monori. Nagy swam second for Keiser and promptly unleashed a 43.64 to take over the lead. Fernander followed with 43.49 and Stukov brought it home in 44.01. The Seahawks came within 0.01 of breaking the meet record of 2:56.93, set in 2015 by Oklahoma Baptist.

The SCAD Bees were in a battle with ONU for second place in the team standings, and the outcome of the 400 relay would determine who would take home the runner-up trophy. As long as Keiser won the race, all SCAD needed to do was have four legal starts and finish no lower than fourth. The Bees (Monori, Tim Olbrich, Zachar, and Arvidsson) hung on at second until the final leg when ONU’s Cavalcante-Almeida put the Tigers into second. ONU (Kuzmin, Bennett, Magnoler, and Cavalcante-Almeida) finished second with 3:00.68. It was an exciting finish to an excellent four days of racing at the 2018 NAIA National Championships.

Final Team Scores

  1. Keiser University 653.5
  2. SCAD Savannah 485.5
  3. Olivet Nazarene University 481.5
  4. Lindenwood Belleville 331
  5. Thomas University 294.5
  6. University of the Cumberlands 267
  7. WVU-Tech 234.5
  8. College of Idaho 179.5
  9. Loyola New Orleans 174
  10. Union College 134
  11. Lindsey Wilson College 131
  12. Asbury University 71
  13. St Ambrose 69
  14. Morningside College 46
  15. Life University 17
  16. Campbellsville University 10 / Midland University 10
  17. Bethel University 8 / Milligan College 8


“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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