2018 NAIA Women’s National Championships – SCAD Bees Claim 2nd Title in 3 Years

2018 NAIA National Championships – Women’s Meet

The Savannah College of Art and Design won their fourth NAIA National Championship and second in the past three years on Saturday night at the Columbus Aquatic Center in Columbus, Georgia.

Women’s 1650 Yard Freestyle – Timed Final

  • Meet Record: 16:43.37, 2007, Kathryn Rosberg, Simon Fraser
  1. Suzanna Gonzalez, Morningside 17:07.01
  2. Karla Islas, Olivet Nazarene 17:26.47
  3. Margaret Halloran, Milligan 17:35.61

Emily Wood of Lindsey Wilson was the fastest miler of the morning session; she set the time to beat in the evening’s timed final with 18.12.78. In the end, that was good enough for 9th place as all eight of the swimmers in the fastest heat came in under 8:12.

Top-seeded Suzanna Gonzalez of Morningside College dropped 12.2 seconds from her seed time, swimming unchallenged in the middle lane, and finished first with 17:07.01. Second to the wall was ONU freshman Karla Islas with 17:26.47. Milligan freshman Margaret Halloran was third in 17:35.61, just ahead of SCAD freshman April O’Gorman (17:38.28). Brenau senior Ella Kleinschmidt (17:58.01) made it four years in a row scoring in this event, three of which she finished in the top-8. Loyola freshman Andrea Van Den Berg touched sixth (18:01.20). She was followed by SCAD freshman Grayson Reynolds (18:04.25) and Keiser senior Jane Lev (18:05.61).

Women’s 200 Yard Backstroke – Final

  1. Amanda Moran, Olivet Nazarene 2:01.35
  2. Christina Klouda Cumberlands 2:03.55
  3. Kamy Alexander, Loyola 2:06.27

ONU senior Amanda Moran captured her third consecutive title in the 200 back, although well off her meet record time from 2017. Moran notched a 2:01.35 to win the crown this year ahead of Cumberlands junior Christina Klouda (2:03.55). Loyola freshman Kamy Alexander, who placed 4th in the 100 back, swam to third with 2:07.27.

Shayna Salzman of SCAD placed fourth (2:08.17). She was followed by Brenau junior Lindsay Dowling (2:03.32), Kara DeLong of ONU (2:09.29), Lindenwood-Belleville freshman Chelsea Merfol (2:10.08), and Thomas’s Kiana Molina (2:12.09).

Women’s 100 Yard Freestyle – Final

  • Meet Record: 49.24, 2017, Julie Woody, SCAD
  1. Alexis Kessler, Lindsey Wilson 51.00
  2. Jessica Macdonald, Lindsey Wilson 51.27
  3. Madison Kelly, College of Idaho 52.28 / Julie Henninger, SCAD 52.28

The sophomores from Lindsey Wilson swept the gold and silver medals in the women’s 100 free, with Alexis Kessler going 51.00 for the win and Jessica Macdonald clocking a 51.27 for second place. There was a tie for third as both SCAD junior Julie Henninger and College of Idaho’s Madison Kelly came to the wall in 52.28. Kelly was third last year, too.

The rest of the A finalists were Leanne Latocha (52.38), Cumberlands freshman Mendy De Rooi (52.45), Union College senior Olivia Salome (52.66), and Sarah Dostie of SCAD (52.98).

Women’s 200 Yard Breaststroke – Final

  • Meet Record: 2:14.90, 1993, Laurette Hakansson, Drury
  1. Andrea Vega, Olivet Nazarene 2:17.57
  2. Sara Lacusky , SCAD 2:17.77
  3. Julia Hnidenko, Cumberlands 2:19.87

ONU junior Andrea Vega came from behind to beat defending champion Sara Lacusky of SCAD, 2:17.57 to 2:17.77. As such Vega completed the breaststroke sweep, while Lacusky took home a pair of silver medals in the events, as well as a gold in the 200 IM. In a repeat of the 100 breast podium, Julia Hnidenko of Cumberlands took third place, stopping the clock at 2:19.87.

Idaho’s Caroline Yannelli (2:21.99), Cameron Klimczak of Cumberlands (2:22.80), Loyola’s Paige Carter (2:23.03), WVU-Tech’s Kendra Monnin (2:23.40), and SCAD’s Alle Ragland (2:23.94) completed the A final.

Women’s 200 Yard Butterfly – Final

  • Meet Record: 2:00.89, 2015, Christine Tixier, Biola
  1. Lydia Reinhardt, SCAD 2:04.88
  2. Rebecca Justus, SCAD 2:05.54
  3. Cadie Crow, SCAD 2:08.43

SCAD swept the podium in the women’s 200 fly, with 1-2-3 finishes from sophomore Lydia Reinhardt (2:04.23) and seniors Rebecca Justus (2:05.54) and Cadie Crow (2:06.59).

Next to the wall were Lindenwood-Belleville twins, freshmen Marie Geck (2:06.83) and Alina Geck (2:09.88). Keiser freshman Anna Lofton followed in 2:09.97. Brenau freshman Maggie Davis and Lindenwood freshman Amelie Essman completed the podium.

Women’s 400 Yard Freestyle Relay – Final

  • Meet Record: 3:23.11, 2015, Oklahoma Baptist University (L Galarza, E Forbes-Milne, A Antonissen, L Keller)
  1. Olivet Nazarene 3:29.43
  2. SCAD 3:29.89
  3. Lindsey Wilson 3:30.39

ONU won the final event of the meet with a new school record of 3:29.43 in the women’s 400 free relay. Andrea Vega led off with 52.37; she was followed by Islas (53.50), Deirdre Gerke (51.87), and Latocha (51.69). SCAD placed second in 3:29.89 with legs from Dostie (52.80), Chloe Hui (52.96), Shayna Salzman (52.13), and Henninger (52.00). Third-place Lindsey Wilson (3:30.39) featured the fastest split of the meet, a 50.33 anchor from Kessler. The other three swimmers were Laura Stephenson (53.76), Bailey Seitz (54.45), and Macdonald (51.85).

Final Team Scores

  1. SCAD Savannah 603.5
  2. Olivet Nazarene University 519
  3. University of the Cumberlands 387
  4. Lindsey Wilson College 267
  5. Keiser University 254
  6. Loyola New Orleans 238
  7. College of Idaho 230
  8. Brenau University 191
  9. Lindenwood Belleville 166
  10. Asbury University 164
  11. Union College 140.5
  12. Indiana Wesleyan University 114
  13. WVU-Tech 113
  14. Milligan College 84
  15. St Ambrose 78
  16. Morningside College 63
  17. Thomas University 47
  18. Life University 19
  19. Columbia College 16
  20. Bethel University 13
  21. Soka University 4


“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 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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