Courtesy: American Athletic Conference
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The 2019 American Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships will head to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the first time in conference history, as the IUPUI Natatorium will serve as the home of the league’s sixth title meet from Wednesday, Feb. 27-Saturday, March 2. The American will crown champions in 42 events this week with six member schools sending representatives to compete through the four-day event.
The Houston women and Cincinnati men will defend their 2018 titles. The Cougars look to win a third-consecutive championship, while the Bearcat men took home their first American title a year ago.
The ECU men have won three conference championships (2017, 2016 and 2015), finishing in the top two since joining the league. The SMU women look to get back on track after placing outside of the top two for the first time last season. The Mustang women took home the conference’s title in 2016 and 2015.
Fourteen men’s and women’s individual champions from the 2018 conference meet return to defend their titles in 2019. The Houston women hold 11 top marks in 2019 heading into this year’s championship, while the SMU women own six top marks in The American in this year. ECU leads the men with seven top marks on the league’s performance list, while the Cincinnati and UConn men each hold five No. 1 marks in The American.
The American Digital Network will stream the entire meet with live coverage featured on its Facebook Digital Plus page. Brenden Gulick and Joel Elber will have the call.
All-Conference and Key Returners
Four returning conference champions from Houston combined for six titles a year ago, including six-time gold medalist Zarena Brown, who won the 100, 200 and 500 freestyle titles last season and swam as part the Cougars’ three first-place relay squads. In total, Houston welcomes back 11 podium finishers from their 2018 championship team. In addition to Brown, the Cougars’ Peyton Kondis is a two-time individual gold medalist, winning the 100 breaststroke in 2017 and 2018. Houston, which spent time in the top 25 this year, finished 5-1 in dual meets during the regular season, including wins over Tulane and SMU in head-to-head competition.
Both the SMU women and Tulane finished their seasons with 4-5 dual-meet records this year. The Green Wave came out on top in its regular-season finale, defeating the Mustangs 154-146 on Feb. 8. However, SMU returns six All-Conference athletes, including two of the conference’s defending individual champions in Andrea Podmanikova (200 breaststroke) and Erin Trahan (100 butterfly). Five top-three 2018 American finishers return for Tulane.
The Cincinnati women had a 5-0 start to their dual-meet slate, but took losses to Northwestern and Kentucky to end the regular season. Seven Bearcats who earned all-conference honors in 2018 return to this year’s meet. The ECU women posted their 27th-consecutive winning campaign with a 4-3 dual meet record. Catherine Johnson and Stefanie Scherwitzel each posted top-three finishes at the 2018 conference championship for the Pirates. The UConn women finished their dual meet season with a winning record (5-4), but ended the year with losses to Dartmouth and Villanova. Four of the five Huskies that earned podium finishes at the 2018 conference meet return to this year’s title competition.
Hans Kabelka (200 freestyle) and Dominic Polling (200 IM) are the two returning individual gold medalists from Cincinnati’s championship men’s squad. The Bearcats, which return seven all-conference honorees, ended their dual-meet season with a 5-2 mark in 2018-19.
Both the UConn and ECU men also have seven all-conference performers returning. The Pirates’ entrants include two-time defending 100 butterfly champion Gustavo Santos, as well as the 2018 100 and 200 breaststroke champion Jacek Arentewicz. The Pirates captured four American relay titles in 2018 and concluded the regular season with a dual-meet record of 4-2—capping their 36th straight season finishing at .500 or above.
For the Huskies, junior Will Kearsey returns after winning The American’s 100 and 200 backstroke races twice. UConn won its final four dual meets, ending the season with a 5-3 record against opponents from other conferences. The SMU men return seven podium finishers and ended their regular season 3-2 in dual action.
On the Diving Board
With three 2018 conference champions returning and numerous athletes meeting the NCAA Zone Diving standards, it is expected to be a competitive battle for the women on the diving front. Thirteen divers representing five of The American’s six teams met NCAA 1-meter Zone standards, while eight divers met the 3-meter Zone qualifying criteria. The returning conference champions include the 2018 Women’s Most Outstanding Diver Claire Schuermann of Cincinnati (1-meter), Lauren Burrell of Houston (3-meter) and Patricia Roscoe of Cincinnati (platform). Both Schuermann and Burrell have each met the Zone-Diving criteria for the 1 and 3-meter dives this season.
However, it is UConn graduate student Monica Marcello who holds the top dives in each of these events this season. Marcello, who missed the 2017-18 season with an injury, recorded a score of 317.55 in the 3-meter against Army to lead the league and scored 356.70 against Villanova for the conference’s top 1-meter dive this year. The Huskies own four of the top-10 1-meter scores in the league with sophomore Erin Clifford ranking second with her top score of 300.20 against Williams and Boston College. Schuermann holds the third-best 1-meter dive in the league this year (295.90).
Four Houston divers rank top 10 in The American heading into the 3-meter competition. Burrell is listed No. 2 with her score of 314.80 at the Phill Hansel Invitational, while teammate Kathryn Deininger scored 307.45 against Incarnate Word and Texas-Permian Basin for the third-best American 3-meter score. Deininger and SMU’s Johanna Holloway are the only two divers in the league to meet the NCAA Zone Diving standards for the platform dive.
The American’s men’s 1 and 3-meter titles have gone to SMU for the past five championships with Devin Burnett claiming the first two gold medals in each event, and Bryce Klein winning them for the past three seasons. However, with both divers out of the picture this year, the league will have new 1 and 3-meter gold medalists.
Three men from around the league have met the NCAA 1-meter Zone Diving standards with SMU’s Parker Hardigree leading the league with his score of 308.06 against Iowa State and TCU. ECU’s Devin Nugent and Luke Stivers also have scores better than 300 this year for the second and third-best 1-meter dives in the conference, respectively.
Stivers owns the top 3-meter dive in The American this year with his score of 341.33 against South Carolina. He is the only male diver to meet this year’s NCAA 3-meter Zone Diving standards. Nugent has the second-best 3-meter dive in the league, while Hardigree ranks third.
Three-time American Diver of the Week, Louis Hunt of Cincinnati, is a three-time podium finisher, earning two bronze medals in the platform and a runner-up finish in the 2016 3-meter dive. Nugent was the runner-up in the platform at the 2018 conference meet, but UConn’s Torry Wagner owns The American’s top platform score this season with his mark of 245.45 registered at the 15th House of Champions Invitational.
The American’s men’s swimmers have combined for 15 NCAA B-Cut times with 10 different athletes garnering the marks. ECU has swum for the most B Standard times among the conference this season with six, while Cincinnati and UConn each own four. SMU’s Jesse Washington swam the fastest 100 free in the conference (42.49) on a relay leadoff against Oklahoma Baptist for the Mustangs’ sole B-Cut time this season.
ECU’s Jacek Arentewicz and Lyubomir Epitropov each swam the fastest 100 and 200 breaststroke times in The American. Arentewicz, a two-time American champion, swam B-Cut times of 53.52 seconds in the 100 breast and 1:55.57 in the 200 breast to lead the conference. Epitropov’s pair of B-Cut marks each came at the Janis Hape Dowd Nike Invitational. He logged 54.09 seconds in the 100 breast and 1:58.02 in the 200 breast for the second-best marks in the league.
Cincinnati’s Polling also owns a 200 breaststroke B-Cut time, swimming 1:58.14 at the 15th House of Champions Invitational. At that same meet, he swam a second B-Cut mark after clocking 1:46.11 in the 200 IM.
Two UConn men have also met multiple NCAA B Standard times. Four-time American individual men’s champion Will Kearsey landed both his qualifying times at the House of Champions Invitational. He clocked 19.52 seconds to lead The American in the 50 freestyle and swam the top 100 backstroke in the league with his time of 47.30 seconds. At the same meet, teammate David May posted the second-best 100 butterfly time in the league (46.82 seconds) before shooting atop the conference’s performance list with his time of 1:44.64 in the 200 butterfly. ECU’s Gustavo Santos, a two-time American 100 fly champion, owns the top time in the event this year (46.19 seconds), recording his mark at the Georgia Tech Invitational.
American Athletic Conference Men’s NCAA B Standard
Athlete, School (Events)
Dominic Polling, Cincinnati (200 IM, 200 Fly)
Del Selmanovic, Cincinnati (500 Free)
Tyler Jones, Cincinnati (1,650 Free)
Will Kearsey, UConn (50 Free, 100 Back)
David May, UConn (100 Fly, 200 Fly)
Jacek Aretewicz, ECU (100 Breast, 200 Breast)
Lyubomir Epitropov, ECU (100 Breast, 200 Breast)
Gustavo Santos, ECU (100 Fly)
Marek Osina, ECU (400 IM)
Jesse Washington, SMU (100 Free)
Thirteen women representing five teams from around the league have combined to swim 21 NCAA B Standard marks in 2019. Houston has accounted for the most B-Cut marks with 11, while SMU owns six. Houston’s Brown (100, 200 and 500 freestyles) and SMU’s Podmanikova (100 breast, 200 breast and 200 IM) each have three conference-leading B-Cut times. Houston’s Laura Laderoute (100 and 200 Back), Peyton Kondis (100 and 200 breast) and Angeliki Mavrantza (100 and 200 breast), along with SMU’s Erin Trahan (100 fly and 200 fly) join Brown and Podmanikova in owning multiple NCAA B-Cut marks this year.
All three of Brown’s top times came at the Phill Hansel Invitational. She won the 100 freestyle in 49.06 seconds with teammate Mykenzi Leehy placing second for a B-Cut time of 49.23 seconds. Brown also won the 200 freestyle in 1:45.51 and swam her top 500 freestyle time this season in the prelims (4:47.19).
Two of Podmanikova’s top B-Cut times this year occurred at the SMU Classic. The sophomore won the 200 breast in 2:09.57 and placed second in the 100 breast after clocking 59.68 seconds. Her B-Cut time of 1:58.57 in the 200 IM came at the Hawkeye Invitational, finishing as the runner-up in that event.
Tulane’s Olivia Johnson swam the fastest 400 IM in The American in 4:12.17 to win the Phill Hansel Invitational, while teammate Kate McDonald clocked 2:13.27 at the same meet for one of five 200 breast B-Cut marks in the conference. Cincinnati’s Lina Kutsko has the sole B-Cut time for the Bearcat women after touching the wall in 53.76 seconds in the 200 butterfly at the House of Champions Invitational for the second-fastest time in the league. ECU’s Lily West swam the 200 breaststroke in 2:13.14 at the Georgia Tech Invitational for the Pirates’ only B-Cut time to enter the conference meet.
American Athletic Conference Women’s NCAA B Standard
Athlete, School (Events)
Lina Kutsko, Cincinnati (200 Fly)
Lily West, ECU (200 Breast)
Zarena Brown, Houston (100 Free, 200 Free, 500 Free)
Laura Laderoute, Houston (100 Back, 200 Back)
Mykenzi Leehy, Houston (100 Free)
Peyton Kondis, Houston (100 Breast, 200 Breast)
Eleanna Koutsouveli, Houston (400 IM)
Angeliki Mavrantza, Houston (100 Breast, 200 Breast)
Olivia Grossklaus, SMU (200 Fly)
Andrea Podmanikova, SMU (100 Breast, 200 Breast, 200 IM)
Erin Trahan, SMU (100 Fly, 200 Fly)
Olivia Johnson, Tulane (400 IM)
Kate McDonald, Tulane (200 Breast)
For complete coverage of the American Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships, visit The American’s Championship Central page at www.theamerican.org/swimdive and follow @American_Swim on Twitter.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27
SESSION 1 – 11:00 A.M. (DIVING PRELIMS)
SWIMMING RELAYS – 5:00 P.M.
Prelims – Women’s 1M Diving
Prelims – Men’s 3M Diving
Consols – Women’s 1M Diving
Consols – Men’s 3M Diving
Women’s 800 Yard Freestyle Relay*
Men’s 800 Yard Freestyle Relay*
Finals – Women’s 1M Diving
Finals – Men’s 3M Diving
Women’s 200 Yard Medley Relay*
Men’s 200 Yard Medley Relay*
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28
SESSION 2 – 10:00 A.M. (SWIMMING PRELIMS)
12:30 P.M. (DIVING PRELIMS)
SESSION 3 – 6:00 P.M. (FINALS)
Prelims – Men’s 1M Diving
Consols – Men’s 1M Diving
Women’s 500 Yard Freestyle
Men’s 500 Yard Freestyle
Women’s 200 Individual Medley
Men’s 200 Individual Medley
Women’s 50 Yard Freestyle
Men’s 50 Yard Freestyle
Finals – Men’s 1M Diving
Women’s 200 Yard Freestyle Relay*
Men’s 200 Yard Freestyle Relay*
FRIDAY, MARCH 1
SESSION 4 – 10:00 A.M. (SWIMMING PRELIMS)
12:30 P.M. (DIVING PRELIMS)
SESSION 5– 6:00 P.M. (FINALS)
Prelims – Women’s 3M Diving
Consols – Women’s 3M Diving
Women’s 400 Individual Medley
Men’s 400 Individual Medley
Women’s 100 Yard Butterfly
Men’s 100 Yard Butterfly
Women’s 200 Yard Freestyle
Men’s 200 Yard Freestyle
Women’s 100 Yard Breaststroke
Men’s 100 Yard Breaststroke
Women’s 100 Yard Backstroke
Men’s 100 Yard Backstroke
Finals – Women’s 3M Diving
Women’s 400 Yard Medley Relay*
Men’s 400 Yard Medley Relay*
SATURDAY, MARCH 2
SESSION 6 – 10:00 A.M. (SWIMMING PRELIMS)
12:30 P.M. (DIVING PRELIMS)
SESSION 7 – 5:00 P.M. (FINALS)
Prelims – Women’s Platform Diving
Prelims – Men’s Platform Diving
Women’s 1,650 Yard Freestyle^
Men’s 1,650 Yard Freestyle^
Finals – Women’s Platform Diving
Women’s 200 Yard Backstroke
Men’s 200 Yard Backstroke
Women’s 100 Yard Freestyle
Men’s 100 Yard Freestyle
Women’s 200 Yard Breaststroke
Men’s 200 Yard Breaststroke
Women’s 200 Yard Butterfly
Men’s 200 Yard Butterfly
Finals – Men’s Platform Diving
Women’s 400 Yard Freestyle Relay*
Men’s 400 Yard Freestyle Relay*
All times eastern