2019 NAIA Men’s Nationals – Keiser Holds Off SCAD Challenge to Win 2nd Consecutive Title

2019 NAIA National Championships – Men’s Meet

Day Four

The final day of competition at the 2019 NAIA National Championships was full of tension, as for the first time in the four-day meet it became clear that Keiser would have to work to keep their title. Coming into the meet with a 95-point advantage on paper, the Seahawks had seen SCAD increasingly erode the point differential. The Bees had an extraordinary fourth prelims session, outscoring their seedings by 38 points and moving within a relay DQ of the title. The peak for SCAD came in the slower heats of the 1650 free, when a couple of big swims for the Bees floated the possibility of eking out a win over the defending champions.

Keiser never gave up, though. The Seahawks had a couple of very impressive finals swims, plus a dominating relay to seal the deal, and they took home the 2019 title by a margin of 22.5 points.

Men’s 1650 Yard Freestyle – Fastest Heat

  • Meet Record: 15:18.39, 2017, Joel Thatcher, SCAD
  1. Niels Engeln, Lindenwood-Belleville – 15:30.65
  2. Pol Roch, Keiser – 15:40.46
  3. Xavier Bordes Adell, Olivet Nazarene – 15:47.73
  4. Manuel Laguna Gomez, WV Tech – 15:51.48
  5. Spence Clark, SCAD – 16:06.08
  6. Josh Smilie, SCAD – 16:07.20
  7. John Morgan McDonald, Cumberlands – 16:13.95
  8. Nathan Kuszynski, St. Ambrose – 16:15.92

There were enough great morning swims in the mile to put real pressure on the top-8 in the evening’s timed final. SCAD freshman Spence Clark, notably, dropped 41.3 seconds from his seed time and looked like he could wind up in the top 8 (he finished 5th). St. Ambrose’s Nathan Kuszynski dropped over 1 minute and 1 second to land in the second spot heading into the final; he ended up 8th.

The evening heat was dominated by Lindenwood-Belleville junior Niels Engeln, the defending champion. Engeln swam a more measured race this year. He was out slower (2 seconds slower at the 200; more than 3 seconds slower at the 300; 3.5 at the 400; 3.9 slower at the 500 and at the 600). But from the 800 on, he was much faster than he’d been a year ago. By the 950 he was already ahead of last year’s pace, and he continued to outsplit his 2018 self until he touched the pad at 15:30.65, 7.4 seconds faster than he’d been a year ago. Keiser freshman Pol Roch, who had already won the 500 free and 400 IM and was hoping to pull off the distance triumvirate, was with Engeln through the first half of the race but as Engeln began to pull away over the second half he couldn’t keep up. Roch took second in 15:40.46, a 6.9-second improvement over his seed time.

Xavier Bordes Adell of Olivet Nazarene and Manuel Laguna Gomez of West Virginia Tech, 3rd and 2nd in this event last year, finished 3rd and 4th this year, just ahead of SCAD’s Clark.

Men’s 200 Yard Backstroke – Finals

  • Meet Record: 1:45.61, 2012, Ryan Searles, SCAD
  1. Jan Suchan, Keiser – 1:47.18
  2. Daric Sundeen, Cumberlands – 1:48.48
  3. Gergo Zachar, SCAD – 1:48.59
  4. Trey James, Loyola – 1:50.41
  5. Collin McKelvey, Midland – 1:50.99
  6. Clay Bisher, Asbury – 1:51.80
  7. Seth Cripe, Olivet Nazarene – 1:52.70
  8. Alex Torrents, Keiser – 1:52.85

Keiser sophomore Jan Suchan, seeded 2nd coming into the meet, went 1:49.65 to get the win over Cumberlands sophomore Daric Sundeen (1:48.48) and defending champion Gergo Zachar of SCAD (1:48.58). Suchan drove hard from the start and was already ahead by half a body length at the 50. Sundeen was slightly ahead of Zachar at the 100 but pulled away on the 3rd 50. Zachar came home 8/10 faster over the final 50 but ran out of pool and couldn’t catch Sundeen for the silver medal.

Men’s 100 Yard Freestyle – Finals

  • Meet Record: 42.53, 2014, Daniel Z Ramirez, Oklahoma Baptist
  1. Marcel Nagy, Keiser – 43.92
  2. Andrei Stukov, Keiser – 45.12
  3. Zoltan Monori, SCAD – 45.52
  4. Irvin Hoost, SCAD – 45.62
  5. Miles Kredich, SCAD – 45.71
  6. Olek Olenjik, Lindsey Wilson – 45.84
  7. Warren Massimini, Loyola New Orleans – 46.08
  8. Tim Olbrich, SCAD – 46.59

If SCAD had any hopes left after the backstroke, Keiser dashed them all in the 100 free. Defending champion Marcel Nagy led a 1-2 sweep going 43.92, more than half a second faster than his winning time from 2018. Teammate Andrei Stukov followed in 45.15, beating three SCAD Bees (Zoltan Monori, Irvin Hoost, and Miles Kredich) to the wall.

Men’s 200 Yard Breaststroke – Finals

  • Meet Record: 1:56.96, 2015, Fernando Morillas, OBU
  1. Lukas Macek, Keiser – 2:00.49
  2. Joel Hansson, Keiser – 2:01.42
  3. Paulo Dias Ignacio Jr, Wvu-Tech – 2:02.31
  4. Henrique Saraceni, Union College – 2:02.88
  5. Gustav Lucas, Life – 2:03.27
  6. Tyler Penney, Midland – 2:05.00
  7. Kevin Bohr, Thomas – 2:06.03
  8. Ronan Passman, Asbury – 2:07.38

Keiser pulled off another 1-2 finish in the very next event. Defending champion Lukas Macek and 2018 runner-up Joel Hansson put the Seahawks mathematically in the clear, as long as they didn’t DQ their relay. West Virginia Tech’s Paulo Dias Ignacio took 3rd, going 2.4 seconds faster than he’d been in 2018 when he took 6th. Union’s Henrique Saraceni moved up from 8th last year to 4th this year going 2:02.88.

Men’s 200 Yard Butterfly – Finals

  • Meet Record: 1:46.62, 2011, Javier Hernandez, Lindenwood-Belleville
  1. Alex Wu, Asbury – 1:47.89
  2. Maik Rieffenstahl, SCAD – 1:50.20
  3. Miles Kredich, SCAD – 1:50.21
  4. Martin Le Pays du Teilleul, Lindenwood-Belleville – 1:50.52
  5. Gergely Harsanyi, SCAD – 1:50.62
  6. Gergo Zachar, SCAD – 1:51.32
  7. Csaba Vekony, Keiser – 1:52.35
  8. Andrew Clifford, College of Idaho– 1:53.03

The final individual event of the night produced the biggest surprise: Asbury freshman Alex Wu dropped 2 seconds from hKristena PollNis prelims swim, which was already 1.03 seconds faster than his previous best, to win by 2.31 seconds with 1:47.89, the only sub-1:50 of the day.

SCAD freshman Maik Rieffenstahl edged teammate Kredich by 1/100 for the silver, going 1:50.20. Lindenwood-Belleville sophomore Martin Le Pays du Teilleul, who placed 3rd last year, finished 4th trailing Kredich by .31. George Harsanyi of SCAD came to the wall 1/10 behind du Teilleul and .70 ahead of teammate Gergo Zachar, who was runner-up in 2018.

Keiser’s Josh Harriott was DQd in the B final but short of a Keiser relay DQ, it couldn’t have made a difference for SCAD.

Men’s 1-Meter Diving – Finals

  • Meet Record: 587.35, 2004, Grant Brehaut, Simon Fraser
  1. Thomas Crawford, Cumberlands – 204.20
  2. Nick Carrier, College of Idaho – 172.95

Thomas Crawford of Cumberlands took the men’s 1-meter diving crown with a score of 204.20 points. The College of Idaho’s Nick Carrier earned 172.95 points for second place.

Men’s 400 Yard Freestyle Relay – Finals

  • Meet Record: 2:56.93, 2015, Oklahoma Baptist University (J Goyetche, M Sambolin, J Sossa, D Ramirez)
  1. Keiser – 2:59.46
  2. SCAD – 3:01.46
  3. Lindenwood-Belleville – 3:03.70
  4. Loyola New Orleans – 3:05.70
  5. Lindsey Wilson – 3:06.43
  6. Union College – 3:06.68
  7. Cumberlands – 3:07.15
  8. West Virginia Tech – 3:08.92

Keiser closed out the meet with a decisive win in the 400 free relay. Macek (45.98), Nagy (43.31), Roch (44.90), and Stukov (45.27) combined for 2:59.46, beating second-place SCAD by 2 seconds. In 2018 Keiser won with 2:56.94 last year, while SCAD placed 3rd with 3:02.07. This year, the Bees’ quartet of Morori (45.37), Olbrich (45.09), Hoost (44.74), and Kredich (46.26) clocked a 3:01.46 for the silver medal. Lindenwood finished 3rd with 3:03.70 from Anty Dany (45.86), Petro Halaichuk (46.85), du Teilleul (45.61), and Badr Benassila (45.38).

Final Team Scores

Team Final Score vs prelim vs psych
Keiser University 622 -9 -27
SCAD Savannah 599.5 24.5 48.5
Lindenwood University-Belleville 300 7 -142
University of the Cumberlands 284 -6 -105
Loyola University New Orleans 249 7 121
Union College 213 -2 17
Lindsey Wilson College 193 14 9
Asbury University 190 -16 53
West Virginia University Tech 177.5 -6.5 26.5
Midland University 177 -11 14
The College of Idaho 153 -22 42
Olivet Nazarene University 125 -6 -100
Thomas University 120 1 21
St Ambrose University 78 4 30
Life University 52 0 -13
Morningside College 42 5 -8
Milligan College 12 2 10
Bethel University 2 1 -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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Mr Funky

Looks like the Bees will definitely pull out a win next year, so close!

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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