Drury University won both the men’s and women’s titles at the first-ever Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships, which ran from Wednesday until Saturday.
The Panther women topped 1000 points, scoring 1011 to win by a wide margin, finishing over 200 points ahead of runner-up Truman State and winning all but one event over the course of the weekend. The men’s meet was a bit closer, with Drury beating Indianapolis by just under 100.
With the all-Division II meet happening for the first year, the fastest time in each event becomes the new conference meet record by default. In addition, Drury’s Agnieszka Ostrowska broke an NCAA Division II national record in the 200 breast on Saturday night.
The meet started with the 1000 free on Wednesday morning. Drury took the opportunity to stake itself to a gigantic early lead, sweeping the top 4 spots in the event, led by conference champ Sarah Pullen‘s 10:08.25.
Wednesday night continued with the 200 medley and 800 free relays. Drury continued to dominate by winning both, a sign of things to come for the Panthers. The team of Yakaterina Rudenko, Agnieszka Ostrowska, Wai Ting Yu and Kaylan Gieseke went 1:42.08 to run away with the medley. Rudenko, Ostrowska and Yu were all the fastest in their respective strokes.
The 800 free relay went to Pullen, Hilary Ottaviano, Leah Reed and Tinsley Andrews in 7:26.20. Pullen showed up once again as an early hero for Drury, leading off in 1:49.44 to put Drury in front, a lead they never relinquished.
Pullen was back for win number 3 on Thursday, pacing the 500 free at 4:51.93, about 7 seconds ahead of teammate Allie Reynolds, who was second. Drury once again went 1-2-3-4 in the event.
Ostrowska picked up her first of a number of wins in the next race, the 200 IM. The Polish senior went 2:01.50, dominating the breaststroke leg in 33.91. That was enough to beat Truman State freshman Evyn Spencer, one of the conference’s best butterflyers, who was 2:03.27 for second.
The 50 free went to Yu of Drury. The junior barely touched out Indianapolis senior Julia Madera 23.18 to 23.29 to keep Drury’s win streak alive. Yu came off that race to anchor the Panthers’ 200 free relay, yet another victorious Drury team. Their 1:34.08 topped Truman State’s 1:34.90, thanks in large part to Yu’s 22.64 anchor split.
Friday started out much the same way. Drury sophomore Gretchen Stein blew out to a 4:24.18 win in the 400 IM, topping the field by 6 seconds thanks to her excellent butterfly leg of 1:00.83.
But then Truman State’s Evyn Spencer finally ended Drury’s run of consecutive conference titles, coming from behind to beat Wai Ting Yu for the 100 fly win. Spencer, a freshman, was 55.45 to Yu’s 55.76.
The next race was another Drury-Truman State showdown, but this time Drury came back out on top. Senior Tinsley Andrews put up a 1:50.43, coming back from a tenth down to top Truman State senior Casey Jepsen. Jepsen ended up second in 1:51.22.
The 100 breast went to Drury’s 200 IM winner Agnieszka Ostrowska in a dominant time of 1:02.42. She’d already shown tremendous speed in the breaststroke to this point, but this had to be an exciting race for Drury as Ostrowska is now only a second or so off the Division II national record with nationals still to come.
Panther freshman Yakaterina Rudenko powered away for a win in the 100 back at 54.35 before coming back in the next event to lead off the 400 medley relay in 43.39, showing great stamina and consistency. That big lead off combined with Ostroska’s 1:02.8 split was enough to get Drury yet another win in 3:43.33.
Pullen competed her distance sweep Saturday by winning the mile in 16:56.42, with Drury once again sweeping the top three spots.
Drury also went 1-2 in the 200 back, led once again by Rudenko. She went 1:57.83 for the 5-second win with junior teammate Chelsea Staab second. After that, Wai Ting Yu picked up another sprint win, going 50.27 in the 100 free.
The biggest fireworks of the weekend came in the 200 breast. Agnieszka Ostrowska, fresh off her 200 IM and 100 breast wins for Drury, shattered the Division II national record in the 200 breast, going 2:12.70. That was seven seconds faster than she went at prelims and also five seconds better than the second-place competitor. She’ll have a chance to lower that record further (and perhaps take down the 100 record as well) at NCAAs.
The 200 fly came down to a tight race between Drury teammates Hilary Ottaviano and Gretchen Stein. The senior, Ottaviano, held off a charge by sophomore Stein to pick up the win in 2:03.76.
Fittingly, Drury capped off its team championship by winning the 400 free relay. The team of Wai Ting Yu, Leah Reed, Tinsley Andrews and Yakaterina Rudenko went 3:25.47 – that included a 50.08 leadoff split from Yu, her fastest 100 of the weekend.
1. Drury University 731
2. Truman State University 540
3. University of Indianapolis 454
4. Lewis University 327
5. William Jewell College 289
6. Bellarmine University 132
7. Maryville University 91
Missouri S&T freshman Jonathan Glaser won the first GLVC title on the men’s side. His 9:12.20 was enough to win the 1000 free by about six seconds over a pair of Drury Panthers.
On Wednesday night, Indianapolis powered away for a 200 medley relay win. Bruno Barbosa, Musaffer Demirtas, Daniel Chan and Justin Rossillo went 1:28.90, getting field-best splits of 23.2 from backstroker Barbosa and 24.4 from breaststroker Demirtas. Drury was second thanks to butterflyer Stanislav Kuzmin’s 21.1 and Nick McCarthy’s 19.4 anchor split.
The 800 free relay was another Missouri S&T win, with Glaser returning to anchor the team in 1:38.06. Luke Norris, Keith Sponsler and Al Kerc joined Glaser to go 6:32.52, with Sponsler putting up the best split at 1:36.83.
Freshman Louis Tarin won the 500 free for Lewis, going 4:25.49 to top Drury’s Fahad Alkaldi. The Panthers got in on the title action in the next event, though, sweeping spots 1-3 in the 200 IM led by Albert Lloyd‘s 1:48.25.
The 50 free featured a unique conference championship tie. The anchors of the top two medley relays from the night before went stroke for stroke to tie atop the GLVC in the splash and dash – Justin Rossillo of Indianapolis and Nick McCarthy of Drury both went 20.49.
Both men came back to swim the 200 free relay at the end of the night, with McCarthy leading off Drury’s second-place team in 20.51 and Rossillo splitting 19.6 on the anchor leg for third-place Indianapolis. The win in that event went to Missouri S&T’s squad of Luke Norris, Al Kerc, Luis Nesrala and Keith Sponsler in 1:21.28. Sponsler was 19.8 coming home.
Friday kicked off with a Missouri S&T 1-2 in the 400 IM. Ethan Goldfarb and Ryan Lane, both juniors, went 3:53.68 and 3:58.90 respectively to pace the field.
After that it was Drury’s Stanislav Kuzmin picked up his first individual title of the weekend, winning the 100 fly in 48.19. S&T answered right back by winning the 200 free (Keith Sponsler in 1:37.15, a close race with Lewis freshman Victor Tarin) and taking 2nd and 3rd in the 100 breast. That breaststroke race went to Indianapolis’s Musaffer Demirtas in 54.71.
Indy made it into a run by taking the next two events to close the night. Justin Rosillo, who tied for the 50 free title, got a conference championship all his own in the 100 back, going 48.66 to beat Drury’s Sean Feher. Rosillo then came back to swim freestyle on the winning 400 medley relay team – Bruno Barbosa, Brandon Norman and a third swimmer not listed on results (but presumably breaststroke Musaffer Demirtas) went 3:16.28, getting a 53.6 out of the breaststroker and a 43.3 from Rosillo on the anchor leg.
Drury opened up Saturday’s action by sweeping the top two spots in the 1650 with freshmen. Alec Morris won in 15:32.25 while Fahad Alkhaldi took second with a 15:55.50. The Panthers kept things going from there with Sean Feher‘s 1:47.30 win in the 200 back, a margin of victory spanning a good two seconds. That gave Drury almost a 100 point lead with only a few more events to swim, a deficit that turned out to be insurmountable.
Missouri S&T fought hard to the end. Sophomore Keith Sponsler won a share of his second title of the weekend in the 100 free. In that race, Indianapolis junior Justin Rossillo tied for his second title of the weekend, a statistical oddity, though not as surprising considering it happened in the 50 and 100 frees, the two fastest (and typically most tightly-bunched) races. Sponsler and Rossillo were both 44.68 in the race.
S&T went 1-2 in the 200 breast, led by 400 IM champ Ethan Goldfarb‘s 1:58.51. Miguel Chavez was second, also getting under 2:00.
Indianapolis took the last individual swimming race with Daniel Chan. The junior won the 200 fly in 1:48.79, beating William Jewell’s Nathan Graber. That led into the final 400 free relay, where Missouri S&T got back on top, going 2:57.79 to pick up the win. That included a 43.9 anchor split from Sponsler, who powered away to seal the win.
1. Drury University 838
2. University of Indianapolis 747.5
3. Missouri Univ of Science and T 743.5
4. Lewis University 472
5. William Jewell College 397
6. Truman State University 338
7. Bellarmine University 154