2023 NCAA Division III Championships: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap


James Sutherland contributed to this report.

The opening day of the 2023 NCAA Division III Championships in Greensboro will kick off with preliminary heats in the men’s and women’s 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and 200 medley relay, plus the women’s 3-meter diving event.


  • Division III Record: 4:43.37, Kendra Stern (Amherst) – 2011


  1. Taryn Wisner (Denison), 4:52.13
  2. Kristin Cornish (Johns Hopkins), 4:52.54
  3. Tara Witkowski (Denison), 4:53.48
  4. Caitlin Marshall (NYU), 4:54.72
  5. Jessica Gordon (Amherst), 4:57.30
  6. Lily Codd (Williams) / Emily Harris (Denison), 4:57.33
  7. Sarah Hoffman (Kenyon), 4:57.38

Defending champion Taryn Wisner secured the top seed in the women’s 500 free in a time of 4:52.13, just ahead of Johns Hopkins’ Kristin Cornish.

Wisner, a sophomore, set a lifetime best of 4:48.55 en route to winning the title last year, while her fastest swim this season was the 4:49.12 she produced at the North Coast Athletic Conference Championships in February.

Cornish, also a sophomore, was the runner-up to Wisner last season and came into the meet as the top seed with her time of 4:48.37 from earlier this season. Cornish had the most front-end speed in the heats and finished in a time of 4:52.54.

The top three finishers from last year’s final qualified in the same order this morning, as Denison junior Tara Witkowski rounded out the top three in 4:53.48, having gone 4:51.69 in the 2022 final and owning a lifetime best of 4:51.19 set last month.


  • Division III Record: 4:18.35, Arthur Conover (Kenyon) – 2017


  1. Patrick Pema (Emory) – 4:21.68
  2. Kellen Roddy (Johns Hopkins) – 4:23.18
  3. Mason Kebler (Wash U) – 4:24.16
  4. Justin Finkel (Conn College) – 4:24.16
  5. Bryan Fitzgerald (Kenyon) – 4:26.23
  6. Thomas Pritchard (NYU) – 4:26.43
  7. Benjamin Thorsen (Emory) – 4:26.88
  8. Alexander Atherton (Williams) – 4:26.96

Patrick Pema led prelims of the men’s 500 this morning by a comfortable margin, speeding to a 4:21.68. He undercut his seed time by a little over a second, securing lane four for tonight’s final by exactly 1.5 seconds. Pema was out quick this morning, splitting 2:08.82 on the first 250 yards of the race. He then came home in 2:11.86.

Johns Hopkins’ Kellen Roddy had a huge swim this morning, taking three seconds off his seed time to post the second-fastest time of the morning with a 4:23.18.

Mason Kebler and Justin Finkel were both under the 4:25 mark this morning as well, setting up what should be a fun race to watch tonight.

Aside from Pema, Emory managed to earn a second ‘A’ finalist for tonight, seeing sophomore Benjamin Thorsen come in seventh this morning with a 4:26.88. Notably, that swim was just a touch of Thorsen’s season best of 4:26.51.


  • Division III Record: 1:57.76, Crile Hart (Kenyon) – 2022


  1. Sophia Verkleeren (Williams) – 2:00.91
  2. Greta Gidley (Hope) – 2:01.07
  3. Jordyn Wentzel (St. Kate’s) – 2:01.55
  4. Neely Burns (Trinity) – 2:02.03
  5. Lillian Klinginsmith (Tufts) – 2:02.65
  6. Kinsey Brooks (Mary Washington) – 2:02.70
  7. Augusta Lewis (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps) – 2:02.90
  8. Sara Kraus (Hope) – 2:03.11

Williams sophomore Sophia Verkleeran was off her season best of 2:00.55 this morning but still managed to clock the top time in prelims, touching in 2:00.91. She got out to a great start, splitting 26.57 on fly then throwing down a 29.05 on the backstroke leg, which was the only back split in the field this morning under 30 seconds.

Hope’s Greta Gidley finished close behind time-wise this morning, touching with the second-fastest time of the prelims in 2:01.07. Hope had another swimmer make it back for the ‘A’ final tonight, seeing Sara Krauss clip her season best to finish eighth this morning.

St. Kate’s fifth-year Jordyn Wentzel is making her presence known as well. Wentzel took third this morning with a 2:01.55, taking 1.35 seconds off her season best with the performance.


  • Division III Record: 1:44.18, Andrew Wilson (Emory) – 2018


  1. Garrett Clasen (Chicago) – 1:47.17
  2. Alexander McCormick (Wash U) – 1:47.19
  3. Steven Rua (Johns Hopkins) – 1:47.59
  4. Jaden Luo (MIT) – 1:48.00
  5. Oliver Schalet (Williams) – 1:48.06
  6. Patrick Daly (Denison) – 1:48.07
  7. William O’Daffer (Emory) – 1:48.23
  8. Kyle Garcia (Chicago) – 1:48.54

Chicago junior Garret Clasen, Wash U junior Alexander McCormick, and Johns Hopkins senior Steven Rua all had terrific swims this morning, taking the top three seeds for finals tonight. All three men took more than a second off their season bests this morning, all touching at 1:47-point as well. Funnily enough, they all had almost identical fly splits as well, with McCormick and Rua both splitting 23.09 and Clasen clocking a 23.10. McCormick and Rua were both excellent on backstroke this morning, well Clasen really excelled on the breast leg. Look out for that dynamic tonight, when these swimmers are competing for an NCAA title.

Chicago got another swimmer in the ‘A’ final, seeing junior Kyle Garcia touch in 1:48.54 for the eighth-fastest overall time this morning. The swim was just off Garcia’s seed time of 1:48.15, so we’ll see if he has a little extra left in the tank tonight.


  • Division III Record: 22.48, Fiona Muir (Emory) – 2018


  1. Kaley McIntyre (NYU) – 22.78
  2. Caroline Maki (Emory) – 22.88
  3. Taylor Leone (Emory) – 22.92
  4. Alexandra White (Kenyon) – 22.99 (Tie)
  5. Tara Culibrk (Denison) – 22.99 (Tie)
  6. Ella Riccio (Bowdoin) – 23.26
  7. Katelin Ulmer (Tufts) – 23.28
  8. Mikaili Charlemagne (Springfield) – 23.34

NYU freshman Kaley McIntyre threw it down this morning, blowing away her season best with a 22.78 to secure lane four for tonight’s ‘A’ final. It was a truly massive performance for McIntyre, taking 0.48 seconds off her lifetime best of 23.26 which she swam at the UAA Championships last month.

Emory senior Caroline Maki had a big swim as well, clocking a 2.88 for the second-fastest time of the morning. The swim marks Maki’s first time under 23 seconds in the event this season, as well as a new lifetime best, undercutting her previous top mark of 22.93, which she set at last year’s NCAAs.

Emory teammate Taylor Leone, a fifth-year, swam a 22.92 for third this morning, taking 0.01 seconds off her seed time.

Kenyon’s Alexandra White and Denison’s Tara Culibrk were also under 23 seconds this morning, tying for fourth at 22.99. That marks a season best for Culibrk, while White has already been 22.83 this year.


  • Division III Record: 19.37, Oliver Smith (Emory) – 2018


  1. Nathaniel Berry (Bates) – 19.71
  2. Noah Holstege (Calvin) – 19.73
  3. Neil Mortimer (Colby) – 19.86 (Tie)
  4. Nicholas Goudie (Emory) – 19.86 (Tie)
  5. Djordje Dragojlovic (Kenyon) – 19.91
  6. James McChesney (TCNJ) – 19.96
  7. Peter Labarge (Tufts) – 19.98
  8. Tobe Obochi (MIT) – 20.04

It very nearly took a sub-20 to make the ‘A’ final for the men’s 50 free tonight, seeing MIT junior Tobe Obochi finish eighth with a 20.04. For Obochi, it was a great swim, taking 0.18 seconds off his seed time. Notably, Obochi had a massive 19.41 split on a 200 free relay at NEWMAC Championships last month, so keep an eye on him tonight even though he’ll be in lane eight.

Bates senior Nathaniel Berry led the way this morning, taking 0.29 seconds off his seed time. Calvin’s Noah Holstege was right behind, touching in 19.73. Notably, Holstege has already been as fast as 19.51 this season, so keep that in mind as we ead into the final tonight.

Emory freshman Djordje Dragojlovic had a big swim this morning as well, finishing in 19.91 for fifth. That marks his first time under 20 seconds in the event, also making him the only freshman (or underclassman, for that matter) to qualify for the ‘A’ final tonight.


  • Division III Record: 1:39.59, Kenyon – 2022


  1. Emory – 1:41.06
  2. Kenyon – 1:41.94
  3. MIT – 1:42.39
  4. Tufts – 1:42.44
  5. Williams – 1:42.68
  6. Pomona Pitzer – 1:43.27
  7. Chicago – 1:43.64 (tie)
  8. Denison – 1:43.64 (tie)

Emory led prelims of the women’s 200 medley relay by a fairly comfortable margin this morning, swimming a 1:41.06. Megan Jungers (25.79), Anna Glowniak (28.72), Taylor Leone (23.90), and Caroline Maki (22.65) teamed up to get the job done. Notably, Maki and Leone were fresh off their 50 free prelims swims, but managed to post strong splits on the back half of the relay this morning. We know that duo will be great for Emory tonight, so their key to victory is going to be on the front half of the relay.

Kenyon finished second in 1:41.94 this morning. They got great splits out of their backstroker, Olivia Smith, who split 25.48, as well as their anchor, Alexandra White, who split 22.48. Both women clocked the fastest split in the field this morning in their respective strokes.


  • Division III Record: 1:26.14, Emory – 2017


  1. Emory – 1:27.27
  2. Bates – 1:27.74
  3. Kenyon – 1:27.84
  4. John Carroll – 1:27.96
  5. MIT – 1:28.01
  6. Calvin – 1:28.03
  7. Chicago – 1:28.31
  8. Johns Hopkins – 1:28.88

Emory also led the prelims of the men’s 200 medley relay this morning, swimming a 1:27.27 to finish first by about half a second. They were particularly strong in the middle of the relay this morning, seeing Jacob Meyer clock a 24.13 breast split and Jeffrey Echols swim 21.15 on the fly leg. Ryan Soh led the team off in 22.17 and Colin Lafave anchored with a 19.82

Bates had a huge swim this morning, taking 1.31 seconds off their seed time to post the second-fastest time of the morning. Nathaniel Berry (21.26), Marrich Somridhivej (24.74), Edmond Giang (21.90), and Maximillian Cory (19.84) combined to make it happen.

Colby’s Neil Mortimer posted a huge 20.67 on the fly leg of his team’s relay, helping them to an 11th place finish (1:29.84) and a ‘B’ final appearance tonight.

Tufts finished seventh with a 1:28.25 this morning but was disqualified for an early take-off on their third swimmer.

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17 days ago

I would have never believed it a year ago but we are on the verge of 20-point backstroke leadoffs in D3. Both Nathan Berry and Liam McDonnell have been 21.2 this year… let’s see how finals goes. They are already the fastest two in d3 history in the 50bk by a pretty wide margin

17 days ago

For those who’ve swum here, it’s a terrible pool. Blocks are set an inch behind most campus athletic facilities, slippery fins and the annoying bulkhead. Not very quick too. Seems to have messed up a lot of swimmers today

Reply to  CoachRob
17 days ago

Terrible take. This is one of the best facilities in the country and the winning times are nearly all faster than 2022 so far. That’s why you have a day and a half to get used to the pool beforehand.

Reply to  Coach
16 days ago

For a lot of west coast schools, that was not really possible on top of the time difference. At last in 2018, 2019 was slower overall compared to Indy

17 days ago

lots of really incredible student athletes at this meet, kudos to all competitors

17 days ago

First off Dragojlovic represents Kenyon not Emory. Second how many D3 freshman have gone under 20 seconds before? Seems like a huge thing for a freshman to do that! At this level and make it here into the A final.

17 days ago

Justin Finkel from Conn College has had a hell of year. Before this season his PR was a 4:39 and he just went 4:24 in prelims…

17 days ago

Big 19.45 from Obochi anchoring MIT’s 200 medley. I’m predicting some outside smoke tonight.

Reply to  kickboard
17 days ago

he’s split around that many, many times, I think having been 19.3 at least once. So I dunno if that necessarily means 19.6 flat start, which i predict will be necessary to win

Andy Greenhalgh
17 days ago

15 schools repped in the men’s 50 free finals with 8 in the A final. You love to see it.

Reply to  Andy Greenhalgh
17 days ago

The Hopkins legend himself pleasant surprise to see you in here.

NCAA fan
17 days ago

Women’s 200IM A final has no one from Denison, Kenyon, or Emory. Would love to know the last time that happened