Denison in the Lead after Day 1 of NCAC Swimming & Diving Champs

The North Coast Athletic Conference started its meet off Wednesday with women’s 3 meter diving prelims and finals. Maria Zarka secured another title in the 3 meter for herself, besting the field easily with a final score of 439.20. However, depth counts for more than singular victories in a championship meet. With three top nine finishes (including runner up Sarah Lopez), the Big Red women began Thursday with an 86 point tally. Allegheny sat in second with 53, DePauw third with 41 points and Kenyon in fourth at 35.

The swimming just got kicked off yesterday, with five events: the 200 freestyle relay, 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and 400 medley relay.

At the closing of the evening, Denison held the lead over all nine other teams on both the men’s and women’s side. The women currently have 598 points, with Kenyon in second (579), DePauw third (361) and Oberlin fourth (256). On the men’s side the gap is more significant: Denison leads with 663 points, while Kenyon is in second (500.5), DePauw in third (360) and Wabash fourth (300.5).

Women

The session opened auspiciously for the Big Red, starting with a new pool and NCAC record that was also less than two tenths off the National record set in 2010 by Emory. The quartet of Rima Jurjus, Carolyn Kane, Ashley Yearwood and Mary Van Leuven won the event by nearly two seconds, posting a 1:31.98. Three of the four splits were 22 high. In second was Kenyon with DePauw third.

Continuing on with the momentum built up by the relay, Denison’s distance swimmers went 1-2 in the A final of the 500. Campbell Costley bested the pool record she established in prelims (which had belonged to Angela Newlon of DePauw) and posted a 4:49.85 for a new NCAC record as well. Teammate Taylor Johns was the runner up, with Newlon third.

Freshman Halli Garza led another 1-2 finish in the 200 IM. Her time of 2:04.33 was just fast enough to hold off teammate Michelle Howell for the win. Coming in third for Kenyon was Katie Kaestner. 

Kenyon claimed its first victory of the night for the women in the 50 freestyle, with Jenner McLeod posting a 23.36 in the individual event. She finished four hundredths ahead of pool record holder, Denison’s Kane. Tied for third were two other members of the Big Red’s victorious 200 freestyle relay: Jurjus and Van Leuven. In the B final, Kenyon’s Megan Morris dropped almost half a second to post a B cut time that would have given her 6th in the A final.

Building on their own momentum, Kenyon’s Ladies put together a quartet that won the 400 medley relay by over two and a half seconds. The quartet was made up of Celia Oberholzer, Kaestner, McLeod and Haley Townsend. Their final time was 3:45.46. Oberholzer’s 100 back split (55.51) was easily the fastest in the field by 2 seconds and leaves little question as to who will be victorious in the 100 back tonight. The other split that leaves little to question was the anchor 100 from Denison’s Kane who powered her way to a 51.03, making up almost a second of lost ground. She is going to be the one to watch in the 100 freestyle on Saturday.

Men

The Lords turned in a pool record time with the quartet of Austin Caldwell, Ryan funk, Wes Manz and Percy Gates, clocking a 1:19.92 to claim the victory in the 200 freestyle relay. All but the lead-off clocked 19s, beating out the team from Big Red by two tenths. In third was DePauw.

Jack Belford of Wabash dropped over six seconds from his prelims time to claim the 500 freestyle. His finals time of 4:29.24 is an NCAA DIII B cut and was over a second faster than runner up Stuart Hohm of Denison, who may have been considered a favorite to win the event. This is the first NCAC title for a Little Giant since 2011. Belford’s final time was also a new school record for Wabash. Third in the event for Kenyon was Joe Guilfoyle. 

With all the back-and-forth of changing strokes, the 200 IM is a great race to watch. The NCAC and pool records were broken in the morning by Kenyon’s Trevor Manz (previously belonging to Denison’s Carlos Maciel). In the evening, Manz finished third, with Joe Brunk and Jack Lindell of Denison claiming the first and second spots, respectively. Brunk also knocked down Manz’ records, posting a 1:49.35 to do so. In the final 50 of the race, Lindell and Brunk turned on the heat, finishing with identical 25.97 splits in their come-from-behind finish.

Kenyon’s Caldwell and Denison’s Conrad Wuorinen tied in the men’s 50 freestyle. Their final time was 20.43, a little slower than the 20.36 pool record Caldwell set in prelims. (The previous time was also a 20.43, set by Wuorinen the year before.)

At the diving mark, the Lords were 8.5 points ahead of Big Red. Then the men’s 3 meter diving kicked off, and Big Red claimed the top five spots, as well as a seventh place finish. With NCAC and National record holder Connor Dignan leading the way, Big Red claimed almost 200 points and reversed the standings significantly. Dignan’s final score was 588.00. In second was Max Levy with Brian Allen third.

To finish out the night, the Lords did their best to begin closing the gap. Just as in the medley relay, the race was close. Just a tenth separated the first place team from second. The Lords led at the 100 mark, headed by Harrison Curley‘s lead of nearly a second over Denison’s Jason Wesseling. Trevor Manz’s match up against Damon Rosenburg left Big Red in the lead by nearly a second. In the butterfly for the Lords, Christian Josephson struggled to close the gap, and cut it down to just seven tenths of a second, racing Denison’s Andrew Rich. In their final match up of the evening, Wuorinen and Caldwell raced for their respective relays’ position on the podium. With an incredible back half 50, Caldwell snipped by Wuorinen to take the Lords into first. Denison and Kenyon’s relays were both well under the NCAC and pool records established last year by the same Kenyon team. In third was Wabash.

For live results, click here. Finals begin tonight at 6:30pm EST.

For NCAC interviews with the individual champions, check out this youtube video:

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Robert Bauchwitz

Great video review of the meet.

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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