Denver Sweeps Summit League Crowns, 11th Title in a Row for Pioneer Women


  • Wednesday, February 21 – Saturday, February 24, 2024
  • Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Jean J. Freeman Aquatic Center
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • Teams: Denver, Eastern Illinois, Omaha, South Dakota, South Dakota State, St. Thomas, Lindenwood, Southern Indiana
  • Defending Champion: Denver women (10x), Denver men (2x)
  • Meet Central
  • Live Results
  • Live Stream ($)
  • Full Results (PDF)

Denver swept the team titles at the 2024 Summit League Championships on Saturday night, marking the 11th conference crown in a row for the Pioneer women and 10th in the past 11 years for the men.

The Denver women dominated with 980 points to South Dakota’s 719.5 while the Pioneer men held off Lindenwood (820) with with 868 points. Lindenwood, which only recently reclassified to Division I in 2022, placed 2nd on the men’s side and 3rd on the women’s side in its last season as a program. Two months ago, the Lions announced they were cutting their men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams.

Team Standings


  1. Denver 868
  2. Lindenwood 820
  3. South Dakota 472
  4. South Dakota State 427
  5. Omaha 345
  6. St Thomas 247
  7. Southern Indiana 174
  8. Eastern Illinois 86


  1. Denver 980
  2. South Dakota 719.5
  3. Lindenwood 486.5
  4. Omaha 469
  5. South Dakota State 331
  6. St Thomas 173
  7. Southern Indiana 157
  8. Eastern Illinois 145

Saturday’s finals session began with the longest race of the meet, the 1650-yard freestyle. Denver sophomore Nika Spehar repeated in the women’s mile with a winning time of 16:38.89, comfortably beating South Dakota’s Camilla Brooger-Anderson (17:02.99) and Lindenwood’s Megan Hollaar (17:07.22). Spehar, a Croatian distance specialist, dropped nine seconds off her previous-best 16:47.97 from last February’s title win.

Denver junior Kieran Watson clinched a three-peat in the men’s mile with a time of 15:01.61 — the fourth-fastest in Summit League history. He dominated the race by more than 36 seconds ahead of South Dakota State’s Jack Ellison (15:37.84) and Denver’s Connor Hughes (15:40.85).

Spehar came back soon after her 1650 free victory to pull off an impressive double in the 200 back (1:57.28). She improved upon her 5th-place finish from last year (2:00.91), topping the podium ahead of Lindenwood’s Stephanie Marks (1:58.55) and Denver’s Darian Koler (1:59.25).

Denver junior Dylan Wright delivered another three-peat in the men’s 200 back with an NCAA ‘B’ cut of 1:42.86, still about a second off his personal-best 1:41.80 from December. The South African standout won in 2022 with a time of 1:44.27 and last year with a time of 1:43.85. South Dakota State’s Denilson Cyprianos (1:44.64) and Lindenwood’s Matheo Mateos-Mongelos (1:46.28) rounded out the podium behind Wright.

South Dakota junior Emily Kahn won back-to-back titles in the women’s 100 free with a time of 49.58 — the fifth-fastest in conference history. She was the only swimmer under 50 seconds in the final as Denver’s Erika Remington (50.03) and Ines Marin (50.39) placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Lindenwood senior Elliott Irwin triumphed in the men’s 100 free with an NCAA ‘B’ cut of 43.39. The reigning Summit League Swimmer of the Year from Australia has been as fast as 42.81 during prelims of this race last year. Irwin also helped the Lindenwood men went out with a bang, claiming the 400 free relay crown (2:53.14) in their last event as a program. Dusa Ondrej led off in 43.75, Piotr Kowalczyk split 42.89, Patryk Winiatowski split 43.24, and Irwin anchored in 43.26.

Denver junior Jessica Maeda made it a three-peat in the 200 breast with an NCAA ‘B’ cut of 2:11.01. She owns a lifetime best of 2:09.75 from December. Maeda reached the wall more than three seconds ahead of South Dakota’s Taylor Buhr (2:14.57) and St. Thomas’ Grace Urkiel (2:16.65).

In the men’s 200 breast, Denver senior Alex Lynch defended his title in 1:56.19, slightly faster than his winning time from last year (1:56.25). He has been as fast as 1:55.70 in prelims last year. Lindenwood’s Polat Tasbasi also went sub-1:57 with an NCAA ‘B’ cut of 1:56.90 while Denver’s Marco Nosack placed 3rd in 1:57.57.

The Pioneer women put the finishing touches on their 11th consecutive Summit League title with a 1-2 finish in the 200 fly courtesy of Sarah Turchanik (2:02.38) and Sabrina Rachjaibun (2:02.46).

After winning the 200 back earlier in the session, Wright returned for a successful double in the 200 fly (1:45.05). The versatile Denver swimmer shaved more than a second off his previous-best 1:46.67 from last month.

The South Dakota women capped their runner-up finish with a 400 free relay victory in 3:21.15 thanks to Gabrielle Ahrendt (51.44), Skyler Leverenz (51.20), Carson White (49.97), and Emily Kahn (48.54). They held off the top-seeded Denver quartet of Erika Remington (50.79), Ines Marin (50.23), Megan Lucyshyn (50.38), and Kali Metuzals (50.10), who combined for a runner-up finish in 3:21.50.


Women’s 1,650 Yard Freestyle – Nike Spehar, Denver (16:38.89)
Men’s 1,650 Yard Freestyle – Kieran Watson, Denver (15:01:61, NCAA B Cut)
Women’s 200 Yard Backstroke – Nika Spehar, Denver (1:57.28)
Men’s 200 Yard Backstroke – Dylan Wright, Denver (1:42.86)
Women’s 100 Yard Freestyle – Emily Kahn, South Dakota (49.58)
Men’s 100 Yard Freestyle – Elliott Irwin, Lindenwood (43.39, NCAA B Cut)
Women’s 200 Yard Breaststroke – Jessica Maeda, Denver (2:11.01, NCAA B Cut)
Men’s 200 Yard Breaststroke – Alex Lynch, Denver (1:56.19, NCAA B Cut)
Women’s 200 Yard Butterfly – Sarah Turchanik, Denver (2:02.38)
Men’s 200 Yard Butterfly – Dylan Wright, Denver (1:45.95)
Women’s 400 Yard Freestyle Relay – South Dakota (321.15)
Men’s 400 Yard Freestyle Relay – Lindenwood (2:53.14)
Women’s 3-meter – Kaitlin Calvery, Denver (304.10)


Scholar of the Championship – Caleb Swanson, South Dakota
Swimming Championship MVP – Elliott Irwin, Lindenwood
Diving Championship MVP – Zyad Morsy, Denver
Newcomer of the Championship – Piotr Kowalczyk, Lindenwood
Diving Coach of the Year – Aaron D’Addario, Denver
Swimming Coach of the Year – Jason Owen, Lindenwood

Scholar of the Championship – Morgan Baker, Omaha
Swimming Championship MVP – Jessica Maeda, Denver
Diving Championship MVP – Olivia Gordon, Denver
Newcomer of the Championship – Sabrina Rachjaibun, Denver
Diving Coach of the Year – Aaron D’Addario, Denver
Swimming Coach of the Year – Alicia Hicken-Franklin, Denver

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About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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