Denison Holds Lead through Second Full Day of NCAC Championships

On the second full day of swimming and diving in Granville, Ohio the Big Red men and women remain atop the leaderboard with Kenyon’s Lords and Ladies sitting in second. The contested events yesterday were: 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, Women’s 1 meter diving and the 800 freestyle relay.

At the conclusion of the night, Denison’s women opened a lead with 1349 points over the second-place Kenyon team (1208). DePauw sits in third (823) with Oberlin in fourth (629). For the men, Denison has lost some of its tremendous lead. They remain at the forefront of the scores with 1276 points, but the Lords have made up quite a bit of ground, tallying 1198.5 – only 77.5 points behind. The other story of this meet is the third and fourth place teams: DePauw (698) and Wabash (677).

Wabash has been on a rebuilding streak for the past few years, and has claimed this year as their chance to prove themselves. So far, sitting a bare 21 points out of third place, they seem to be doing pretty well.

Women

The 200 medley relay was a close race from start to finish, but with splits just a little faster on every leg, the Kenyon Ladies wrapped up the victory with a 1:42.29 to claim the 2015 NCAC championship title in the event. The quartet of Celia Oberholzer, Katie Kaestner, Laura Duncan and Jenner McLeod bested the runner up Denison team by less than a second. Finishing third was Wittenberg.

The women’s 400 IM was a very tightly contested event as well, with the top two athletes finishing just .01 apart. Angela Newlon of DePauw led for the first 350 yards, but a late charge from distance specialist Taylor Johns of Denison was just too much for her to handle. Johns snatched the victory with a 4:24.48 while Newlon finished right behind. In third was Johns’ teammate, Michelle Howell.

Sprint powerhouse Carolyn Kane led a 1-2 in the 100 butterfly, clocking a 55.84 in finals to win. That was a touch slower than her prelims swim in which she reset the pool record with a 55.71. Second place was Krysta Garbarino, almost a second behind her teammate. In third was Kenyon’s Natalie Parker. 

Big Red got another huge boost from the 200 freestyle. With five athletes in the top 9 – compared to Kenyon and DePauw with one athlete, or Oberlin with two – they had a clear command of points. Campbell Costly, fresh off a 500 free victory and NCAC record the previous night, claimed her individual NCAC title of the meet in 1:50.15. Teammate Alex Elizeus joined her in second place. DePauw’s Emily Weber claimed third.

To counteract Denison’s huge 200 free success, Kenyon’s Ladies had some success of their own in the 100 breaststroke. This time the Ladies had four athletes in the top 9 to Big Red’s two. The Ladies tipped the scales with a 1-2-3 sweep in the event, as Kaestner won (1:03.21), Julia Wilson placed runner up and Duncan claimed third. In the B final, Taylor Lifka of Denison dropped over two seconds from prelims to post a 1:06.67 that would have earned her 7th place finish in the A final.

Pool and National record holder Oberholzer returned to the water after her successful relay to compete in the 100 backstroke. She won by nearly a second, leading from start to finish. Her final time was 55.88, a little slower than her prelims time of 55.82, and several seconds off her National record (53.46). In second, the only other athlete to clock a B cut in the event, was Denison’s Ashley Yearwood. Third for DePauw was Annie Graves. 

In the women’s 1 meter diving event, Maria Zarka reset her own pool record for the Kenyon Ladies (456.90), earning them 35 more points in the effort to catch Big Red. With three Denison divers competing on the boards, however, Zarka’s contribution only balanced out some of those points. Sarah Lopez, who finished runner up on 3 meter, finished as the runner up for Denison. Katie Black, third on 3 meter, claimed third as well on 1 meter for Wittenberg.

In the final event of the session – the grueling 800 freestyle relay – the Big Red women crushed the competition, finishing in 7:27.33 to reset the pool record. The quartet of Costley, Johns, Kate Wright and Elizeus led from the first 50 through the end of the race. Trailing them by nearly two seconds was DePauw’s relay, with Kenyon finishing almost nine seconds behind the leader.

The action will conclude tonight in Granville with the announcement of the NCAC champion for 2015, Athlete of the Year, and the Swimming and Diving Coaches of the Year. Catch it live here. 

Men

The Kenyon Lords were on a mission Friday night. After finishing up Thursday evening more than 160 points behind Big Red, the Lords had a lot of work to do to bridge the gap.

Things started off on the right foot for Big Red in the 200 medley relay. Conrad Wuorinen, Al Nennig, Andrew Rich and Ryan Fleming claimed the pool record with a 1:29.55, leaving the Lords in runner up position (though also under the old pool record by a few hundredths). In third, making moves of their own was the team from Wabash, making a B cut in the event and less than two seconds behind Big Red.

Kenyon began its point swing in the individual events, with the 400 IM. Both Big Red and the Lords had three athletes in the A final. Harrison Curley led a 1-2-4 finish for the Lords, scoring 95 points to Denison’s 84. Curley’s final time was 3:54.50, two seconds ahead of runner up Trevor Manz. Third place went to Jack Lindell of Denison. In the B final, Steve Stuthers of Wittenberg dropped nine seconds from his prelims time to post a 4:09.82, which would have gotten him 8th in the A final.

Rich won the 100 butterfly for Denison with a 48.65, just .03 shy of the pool record. Pool record holder Christian Josephson of Kenyon was third. Second was Blake Lehmann of DePauw. The Lords had five bodies in the top 9 of the A final to Big Red’s three, and knocked off another couple points from Denison’s lead.

Repeating the procedure in the 200 freestyle, the Lords – with four top 9 athletes to Big Red’s three – went 1-2 led by Austin Caldwell. His 1:36.91 is a DIII A cut, a new pool record (the previous pool record owned by Carlos Maciel from 2014), a new NCAC record and less than three tenths off one of the oldest National records on book: the 1:36.63 set by Kenyon’s Dennis Mulvihill in 1998. Touching in second for the Lords was Joey Duronio with Denison’s Joe Brunk in third.

In the 100 breaststroke, Denison had two athletes in the top 9 go 1-2 with no Lords to contest them. Damon Rosenburg posted a 54.79, just a little more than a tenth over his pool and NCAC records from last year. Teammate Nennig was just under a second behind for runner up. Wabash took a point leap in the breaststrokes as well with three athletes top 9, including Zecharia Banks who tied for third with Wittenberg’s James Dumstorf.

In the pool for the second time that evening, Kenyon’s Curley reset the pool and NCAC records in the 100 backstroke. Curley had already held the pool record from 2014, but the NCAC record had previously belonged to Denison’s Robert Barry from 2010. Curley’s 48.81 was nearly a second ahead of runner up and teammate Matthew Cooper, the only other athlete under the 50 second mark. Third for Denison was Jason Wesseling. The Lords took a huge leap in points from the backstroke with six athletes in the top 9, with Big Red only sporting one.

In the final event of the night, the Lords hammered home that they are here to compete, running away with the 800 freestyle in pool and NCAC record time. The previous pool record was set at last year’s NCACs by the Kenyon team; the NCAC record was set in 2013 by another Kenyon quartet. This year’s four were Wes Manz, Duronio, Caldwell and Gabriel Bellott-McGrath. Their final time was 6:37.24, more than a second under both pool and NCAC records, and more than four seconds ahead of second place Denison. DePauw took third.

The final night of the NCAC championships will be live at 6:30pm EST tonight. For live meet results, click here. For the live broadcast, click here. 

For NCAC video interviews about the event, take a look:

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About Hannah Saiz

Hannah Saiz fell into a pool at age eleven and hasn't climbed out since. She attended Kenyon College, won an individual national title in the 2013 NCAA 200 butterfly, and post-graduation has seen no reason to exit the natatorium. Her quest for continued chlorine over-exposure has taken her to Wisconsin …

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