2023 NCAA Division II Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


Anne Lepesant contributed to this report.

The first full day of action at the NCAA Division II Championships will feature preliminary heats in the 200 IM and 50 freestyle, along with the early heats of the 1000 free and the women’s 1-meter diving prelims.

This year’s meet has a vastly different landscape in essentially every event due to the departure of Queens, the long-reigning national champions who have begun the process of reclassifying to Division I this season.

Without Queens swimmers in the field, along with the graduation of UIndy’s Marizel van Jaarsveld and the absence of Rollins’ Ward Lockhart, no 2022 champions will defend their individual titles on Wednesday.

UIndy’s Johanna Buys, third last year in the women’s 50 free, holds the top seed in that race, while the 200 IM is led by Nova Southeastern freshman Emilia Ronningdal, who led off the victorious 800 free relay last night.

On the men’s side, Henderson State junior Lamar Taylor is the swimmer to beat in the 50 free, having been 19.10 this season. Just 19th last season, Taylor has accrued a ton of experience over the last 12 months, including representing Bahamas and making the 50 free final at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The men’s 200 IM is missing the top two finishers from last year, with Delta State fifth-year Emanuel Fava coming in as the top returner after taking third in 2022, while Colorado Mesa junior Ben Sampson holds the top seed after an impressive season.

Women’s 200 Individual Medley – Prelims

  • NCAA DII Record: 1:55.63, Patri Castro Ortega (Queens) – 2016
  • Meet Record: 1:55.63, Patri Castro Ortega (Queens) – 2016

Finals Qualifiers:

  1. Emilia Ronningdal (Nova), 1:59.70
  2. Paige Mikesell (IUPUI), 2:00.82
  3. Savanna Best (Nova), 2:00.98
  4. Kaitlyn McCoy (Indy), 2:00.99
  5. Aurora Duncan (Drury), 2:01.19
  6. Claire Conover (Drury), 2:01.33
  7. May Lowy (Nova), 2:01.34
  8. Mellie Wijk (Drury), 2:01.69
  9. Lily Borgenheimer (Mesa), 2:02.30
  10. Sierra Gillan (Tampa), 2:02.62
  11. Celina Marquez (Nova), 2:02.82
  12. Maria Fe Munoz (Drury), 2:03.00
  13. Mckenzie Hemingway (West Chester), 2:03.21
  14. Aleksandra Maslova (Nova), 2:03.51
  15. Madysen Barnes (Tampa), 2:03.53
  16. Celina Schmidt (Indy), 2:03.67

Nova Southeastern’s Emilia Ronningdal came into the meet as the only swimmer sub-2:00 in the women’s 200 IM this season and backed that distinction up in the prelims, clocking 1:59.70 to lead the field and narrowly miss her personal best of 1:59.56 set at last month’s Sunshine State Conference Championships.

IUP fifth-year Paige Mikesell, who was 14th last year, had a big drop to qualify second for the final in 2:00.82, dipping well under her previous best of 2:02.08 set back in 2020.

Nova Southeastern put three swimmers through to the ‘A’ final in total, including senior Savanna Best claiming the third seed in 2:00.98 after she topped the consolation final last season to place ninth. UIndy’s Kaitlyn McCoy, third last year, was .01 back for fourth.

The top returner in the field, Nova Southeastern’s Celina Marquez failed to make the ‘A’ final as she was 11th in 2:02.82, well off her season-best of 2:01.04.

It’s been a great start for the Nova Southeastern women, as not only did they win the 800 free relay, they went 3/2 in this event, while Drury also got three swimmers through to the ‘A’ final and have one ‘B’ finalist.

Men’s 200 Individual Medley – Prelims

  • NCAA DII Record: 1:41.61, Marius Kusch (Queens) – 2018
  • Meet Record: 1:41.61, Marius Kusch (Queens) – 2018

Finals Qualifiers:

  1. Ben Sampson (Mesa), 1:45.16
  2. Andrew Rodriguez (Drury), 1:45.69
  3. Jackson Lustig (McKendree), 1:46.12
  4. Matteo Zampese (Florida Southern), 1:46.82
  5. Emanuel Fava (Delta State), 1:46.88
  6. John Amrein (OC), 1:46.89
  7. Juan Daniel Garcia Ruiz (Findlay), 1:46.94
  8. Santiago Corredor (Tampa), 1:47.23
  9. Alireza Yavari (McKendree), 1:47.42
  10. Marcel Snitko (Wingate), 1:47.56
  11. Keegan Hawkins (GVSU), 1:47.75
  12. Emile Dost (St. Cloud), 1:47.78
  13. William Waite (Mines), 1:47.78
  14. Davi Mourao (Drury), 1:47.94
  15. Thomas Flower (Nova), 1:48.14
  16. Jakub Kiszczak (Mesa), 1:48.21

Colorado Mesa’s Ben Sampson paced the men’s 200 IM prelims in a time of 1:45.16, using a strong back half to inch ahead of Drury’s Andrew Rodriguez in the sixth and final heat.

Sampson, a sophomore, swam an altitude-adjusted time of 1:43.76 at the Colorado Mesa Invitational in November, which ranks first in D2 by nearly two seconds this season.

Rodriguez clocked 1:45.69 to qualify second, lowering his lifetime best of 1:46.78 set in November 2021. He was fifth last season in a time of 1:46.92.

McKendree sophomore Jackson Lustig, who has been making some noise with his 200 fly performances this season, advanced third into the final in a time of 1:46.12, crushing his PB of 1:47.50 set at the Mizzou Invitational.

The top returner from the 2022 final, third-place finisher Emanuel Fava of Delta State, qualified fifth overall in 1:46.88, just behind Florida Southern’s Matteo Zampese (1:46.82). Zampese came into the meet ranked second in D2 this season after going 1:45.73 at the Sunshine State Conference Championships last month.

Women’s 50 Freestyle – Prelims

Finals Qualifiers:

  1. Johanna Buys (Indy), 22.54
  2. Kiara Pozvai (HSU), 22.62
  3. Laura Dekoninck (Lynn), 22.71
  4. Bryn Greenwaldt (Augustana), 22.82
  5. Manon Compagner (CN), 22.87
  6. Tilde Morin (Tampa), 23.06
  7. Daniella Solkow (Delta State), 23.09
  8. Katarzyna Rogowska (Drury), 23.10
  9. Helga Fodor (Lynn), 23.11
  10. Kelsea Munro (Wingate), 23.14
  11. (TIE) Luna Mertins (Lynn) / Leticia Vaselli (Indy), 23.15
  12. Isabelle Sering (St. Leo), 23.19
  13. Ashlyn Moore (Drury), 23.23
  14. Brooklyn Dressel (CSU East Bay), 23.33
  15. Emily Mears-Bentley (Findlay), 23.37

UIndy fifth-year Johanna Buys blasted her way to the top time of the morning in the women’s 50 free, stopping the clock in 22.54 to near her nation-leading time of 22.49 set at the House of Champions Invitational.

Buys is the top returner from last season, having finished third behind the Queens duo of Danielle Melilli and Monica Gumina in the 2022 final.

Henderson State’s Kiara Pozvai was close behind to qualify second in 22.62, just shy of the 22.59 best time she set at the New South Conference Championships just a few weeks ago.

Lynn’s Laura Dekoninck matched her season-best to advance third in 22.71, while Augustana’s Bryn Greenwaldt, second-fastest in D2 this season at 22.50, qualified fourth in 22.82.

Men’s 50 Freestyle – Prelims

  • NCAA DII Record: 18.88, Matej Dusa (Queens) – 2022
  • Meet Record: 18.88, Matej Dusa (Queens) – 2022

Finals Qualifiers:

  1. Jack Armstrong (HSU), 19.21
  2. Lamar Taylor (HSU), 19.24
  3. Abe Townley (St. Cloud State), 19.44
  4. Diego Mas (Indy), 19.45
  5. Kyle Micallef (Florida Southern), 19.46
  6. Gregg Lichinsky (McKendree), 19.53
  7. Khameron Glass (Drury), 19.54
  8. Jeron Thomspon (Indy), 19.66
  9. Tistan Tibor (Tampa), 19.81
  10. Viacheslav Ohnov (Wingate), 19.83
  11. Luka Cvetko (Wayne State), 19.88
  12. (TIE) Cami Marrugo Montano (Findlay) / Joao Silva (Indy) / Tim Stollings (Findlay), 19.89
  13. (TIE) Caleb Law (McKendree) / Bartosz Mielniczuk (Emmanuel), 19.96

The Henderson State duo of Jack Armstrong and Lamar Taylor dominated the men’s 50 free prelims, posting the top two times of the session by a wide margin.

Armstrong, a fifth-year senior who previously swam for Grand Canyon University in D1, put up a personal best time of 19.21 to lead the field, undercutting his previous mark of 19.30 set at the 2021 Miami Invitational.

Taylor, a junior who finished 19th one year ago, qualified second overall in 19.24, with his nation-leading time of 19.10 at the New South Conference Championships earlier this month.

St. Cloud State senior Abe Townley chopped five one-hundredths off his lifetime best to qualify third in 19.44, having been 19.49 at last season’s NCAAs on a relay lead-off (he was fifth in the individual final).

UIndy’s Diego Mas (19.45) and Florida Southern’s Kyle Micallef (19.46) both hit personal bests to advance fourth and fifth into the final, respectively. Mas was 10th last season, while Micallef took eighth.

Women’s 1000 Freestyle – Slower Heats

  • NCAA DII Record: 9:43.70, Georgia Wright (West Chester) – 2020
  • Meet Record: 9:43.70, Georgia Wright (West Chester) – 2020

Top 8 Finishers:

  1. Keeley Durkin (West Chester), 10:02.06
  2. Estelle Bauer (Nova), 10:04.73
  3. Emilia Colti-Dumitrescu (Indy), 10:07.35
  4. Victoria Ortiz (Nova), 10:09.08
  5. Karolina Dubcakova (Indy), 10:09.35
  6. Brynhildur Traustadottir (Indy), 10:09.66
  7. Meghan Slowey (Mines), 10:09.75
  8. Barbara Munoz (Wayne State), 10:10.04

With the fastest heat by seed time swimming in finals tonight, the women’s 1000 free kicked off with heat 2. West Chester’s Keeley Durkin dropped 8.6 seconds to win the heat in 10:02.06, coming to the wall two body lengths ahead of Nova S’eastern’s Estelle Bauer (10:04.73). From the other end of the pool, Emilia Colti-Dumitrescu clocked a 10:07.35, improving her seed time by four seconds, to come in third.

Karolina Dubcakova of UIndy set the pace and led the third heat of women from out in lane 1. Barbara Munoz of Wayne State trailed by about half a body length, with Jillian Hughes of Rollins just on her shoulder. Munoz made a run for Dubcakova on the bell lap, and nearly caught her at the 975 wall, but Dubcavoa still had gas in her tank and she finished strong to take the heat with 10:09.353. Munoz placed second with 10:10.04, while Hughes touched in 10:11.75 for third.

Heat 4 went to Brynhildur Traustadottir from Indy. She took 9.3 seconds off her seed time to win in 10:09.66 ahead of Florida Southern’s Erica McCann (10:11.92) and Truman State’s Adelaide Reaser (10:12.48). McCann and Reaser also had big drops: 9.1 and 5.0 seconds, respectively.

The 1000s concluded with a six-second improvement from Florida Southern’s Olivia Miles to take the final heat in 10:15.37.

Men’s 1000 Freestyle – Slower Heats

  • NCAA DII Record: 8:54.10, Fabio Dalu (McKendree) – 2021
  • Meet Record: 8:54.10, Fabio Dalu (McKendree) – 2021

Top 8 Finishers:

  1. Miguel Marcos (Wingate), 9:07.94
  2. Tomasz Jackowski (Wayne State), 9:09.83
  3. Paul Demesy (West Chester), 9:09.91
  4. (TIE) Christian Hedeen (Indy) / Kyle Benjamin (Mesa), 9:10.77
  5. Stanislaw Chalat (Indy), 9:15.13
  6. Ondrej Zach (NMU), 9:15.15
  7. Szymon Kapala (Drury), 9:15.71

Miguel Marcos of Wingate improved his entry time by 3 seconds to open the morning heats of 1000 free with a solid 9:07.94. Finishing two bodies behind him were a pair of freshmen: Wayne State’s Tomasz Jackowski (9:09.83) and West Chester’s Paul Demesy (9:09.91). While Marcos led the field from the outset, Jackowski and Demesy were jockeying for position behind him. Jackowski was slightly in the lead through the 600, when Demesy took over. He held onto his position through the 950, when Jackowski came home in 25.76 to snatch second place by .09.

Colorado Mesa fifth-year Kyle Benjamin surged out front early in the men’s third heat to lead the field by two body lengths by about the 600. Behind him, Drury’s Ivan Dubinin and Chance Ricca of Rollins traded stroke for stroke in second place, while Drury’s Josue Hernandez and NMU’s Ondrej Zach were similarly tied for the fourth/fifth positions. While Benjamin continued to build his lead, Hernandez and Zach took off at the 800 and moved past Dubinin and Ricca. At the bell lap, Zach sprinted ahead of Hernandez. Benjamin clocked a 9:10.77 for first place. He was followed Zach (9:15.15) and Hernandez (9:16.13). Lynn’s Mohamed Masmoudi came from way back to finish half a second behind Dubinin (9:22.26) for fifth (9:22.81).

The final heat went to Indy’s Stanislaw Chalat in 9:15.13. It was a season best for the senior, but fell about 2.4 seconds short of his best time from 2021.

Women’s 1-Meter Diving – Prelims

  • NCAA DII Record: 511.55, Kayla Kelosky (Clarion) – 2011
  • Meet Record: 511.55, Kayla Kelosky (Clarion) – 2011

Finals Qualifiers:

  1. Mikaela Senkus (Wayne State), 452.90
  2. Daniela Reyes (UWF), 452.25
  3. Luna Vejarano (Clarion), 443.55
  4. Gracyn Segard (GVSU), 430.95
  5. Adriana Mieses Sanchez (UWF), 425.90
  6. Olivia Liddle (Azusa Pacific), 424.80
  7. Regan Gubera (McKendree), 416.65
  8. Mikaela Starr (Indy), 408.85
  9. Madison Kooistra (GVSU), 403.10
  10. Alexis Lumaj (Indy), 402.65
  11. Olivia Nelson (UWF), 401.85
  12. Michelle Mejia (UWF), 401.15
  13. Kyra Apodaca (Mesa), 400.20
  14. Anna Catherine Vogt (Clarion), 398.25
  15. Jade Fontenelle (UWF), 395.45
  16. Emily Bolt (Davenport), 385.80

Wayne State’s Mikaela Senkus, who placed third in this event last year and 16th in 2021, led the morning round on the 1-meter board with 452.90 points. She narrowly outscored West Florida’s Dani Reyes to retain the top slot headed into finals tonight. Senkus led the field with two big dives in the first rounds: an inward 1-1/2 somersault pike that earned 52.80 points, and a forward 2-1/2 somersault pike that scored 54.60 points. Overall, she averaged 6.62 per dive and 41.17 points per round, through 11 rounds.

Reyes, too, began with a high-scoring dive. She earned 52.80 on the same inward 1-1/2 somersault pike as Senkus, then proceeded to perform consistently in the following ten rounds, averaging 6.82 per dive and 41.11 per round.

Grand Valley’s Gracyn Segard, who is the double defending champion, came in fourth place.

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1 year ago

It’s a shame Ward Lockhart didn’t swim this year, I really enjoyed watching him last year

1 year ago

St. Cloud State off to a hot start! Lets go Huskies!!

1 year ago

Paige Mikesell swims for IUP, Not IUPUI

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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