2018 NAIA National Championship Fan Guide – Men’s Meet

2018 NAIA National Championships – Men’s Meet

The 2018 NAIA Men’s Swimming and Diving National Championship begin Wednesday, February 28 in Columbus, Georgia. Sponsored by the Columbus Sports Council at the Columbus Aquatic Center, the meet will bring together over 200 athletes from 29 schools to compete in this national championship.

The NAIA, which governs the athletic programs of smaller colleges and universities, has sponsored men’s swimming and diving since 1957 and women’s swimming and diving since 1981. Currently, 27 institutions field men’s teams and 32 sponsor women’s teams.

On paper, the men’s meet looks like it will be dominated by Keiser University, whose third-place finish in last year’s national championship led to a NAIA Coach of the Year award for Adam Epstein. While only in its second season, Keiser has established itself as a major force in the NAIA. Double-defending champion Olivet Nazarene shouldn’t be overlooked, though; the Tigers outperformed their psych sheet seedings by over 210 points last year to win their second consecutive men’s title. 2017 runners-up Savannah College of Art & Design will be in the mix as well.

While it’s difficult to seed the meet, since many teams haven’t yet had the chance to swim fully tapered (unlike NCAA swimmers going into their championships), we have tried to predict outcomes based on last year’s results in conjunction with this year’s top times.

Stars

Diving

University of the Cumberlands junior David Groh is the only diver entered in the men’s meet, so he will automatically add 40 points to the Patriots’ score.

Freestyle

Keiser sophomore Marcel Nagy, a Grand Valley State transfer, is the top seed in the 50 free (20.28), 100 free (44.92), and 200 free (1:40.57). However, he also comes in with the #1 times in the 100 fly (48.19) and 100 back (47.87), and the #2 time in the 200 fly, so it’s uncertain where he will be used. Perry Lindo of Thomas, who won the 50 free and was runner-up in the 100 free, comes in seeded 6th and 7th in those respective events. Other sprinters to watch are Keiser junior Andrei Stukov, SCAD freshman Zoltan Monori, and Keiser freshman N’Nhyn Fernander.

Keiser senior Wyatt Engler leads the qualifiers in the 500 free (4:33.19) and ranks third in the 1650 free. Lindenwood-Belleville sophomore Niels Engeln (15:53.71) and Vinny Lijoi of Thomas University (15:54.57) are the top two qualifiers in the mile; they finished fourth and sixth last year. ONU sophomore Xavier Bordes Adell, 2017 runner-up, is seeded sixth.

Backstroke

After Nagy, the top two seeds in the 100 back are SCAD freshman Gergo Zachar (49.24) and Cumberlands freshman Daric Sundeen (50.78). The highest seeded A-finalist from 2017 is Asbury’s Clay Bisher (4th with 51.25). In the 200 back, four of the top 7 seeds are freshmen, with the top time coming from SCAD’s Zachar (1:47.67). Besides Sundeen (1:51.38), the other newcomers include Lindenwood-Belleville freshmen Carolus Josefina (1:52.45) and Santiago Baro (1:52.92), seeded 6th and 7th, respectively. 2017 A-finalists Bisher, ONU’s Charles Bennett, and Lindsey Wilson’s Clemens Paetzold are also seeded in the top 10.

Breaststroke

Keiser sophomore Lukas Macek, defending champion in both the 100 breast and 200 breast, is the top seed in those events with 55.28 and 1:59.44. His teammate Joel Hansson has the second-fastest seed times of 55.71 and 2:00.63. SCAD senior Anton Arvidsson, runner-up last year in the 100 breast, comes in with a top-8 time. Similarly, Cumberlands junior Jacob Smith, who took second in the 200 breast in 2017, is seeded 3rd in the 100 and 5th in the 200.

Butterfly

The 100 fly is looking to be the most competitive event in the men’s meet. Keiser’s Nagy has the top time coming into the meet (48.19), but the next five seeds are all freshmen: ONU’s Iran Cavalcante-Almeida (48.29), Viktor Lyson of Cumberlands (48.46), SCAD’s Zachar (49.06), Keiser’s Fernander (49.11), and Lindenwood-Belleville’s Martin Le Pays du Teilleul (49.45).

In the 200, ONU’s Cavalcante-Almeida is the top seed with 1:47.25, but SCAD has four freshmen with top-8 times: Zachar (3rd with 1:49.40), Gergely Harsanyi (4th with 1:51.07), Monori (7th with 1:52.61), and Miles Kredich (8th with 1:52.63).

Individual Medley

Keiser’s Macek leads the field of qualifiers in the 200 IM with 1:49.19. ONU’s Daniil Kuzmin, runner-up in 2017, is seeded second (1:50.79). Next come freshmen Le Pays du Teilleul of Lindenwood (1:51.55), Harsanyi of SCAD (1:52.42), and Monori of SCAD (1:53.18). Harsanyi comes in ranked 1st in the 400 IM with 3:57.53, followed by Kuzmin (3:58.86) and Monori (4:00.11). Kuzmin will look to defend his title in the 400.

Team Race

The top ten teams, scored more-or-less from the psych sheet, are as follows:

  1. Keiser University
  2. Olivet Nazarene University
  3. SCAD Savannah
  4. University of the Cumberlands
  5. Lindenwood University-Belleville
  6. Thomas University
  7. West Virginia University – Tech
  8. The College of Idaho
  9. Lindsey Wilson College
  10. Asbury University

4-DAY SCHEDULE

Wednesday:
800 Freestyle Relay

Thursday:
200 Free Relay
500 Freestyle
200 Individual Medley
50 Freestyle
400 Medley Relay
1 Meter Diving (Women)

Friday:
200 Medley Relay
400 IM
100 Fly
200 Freestyle
100 Breaststroke
100 Backstroke
3-Meter Diving (Women & Men)

Saturday:
1-Meter Diving
1650 Freestyle
200 Backstroke
100 Freestyle
200 Breaststroke
200 Butterfly
1 Meter Diving (Men)
400 Freestyle Relay

 

“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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beachair

Will the next team leaving NAIAs please turn out the lights.

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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