DIII Men’s Midseason Rankings: Denison On Top, Kenyon Second
Post midseason, it's fun to look into the future and try to predict how the end of the season will play out. We've seen some incredible swims this year already from the men in DIII - it's time to take a more in depth look and try to figure out how individual players and teams will stack up come March. Current photo via Denison Athletics/Allen Rich
This year on the men’s side of the meet in Division III promises to be just as exciting as the women’s meet. The graduating class of 2013 took with it some heavy duty talent: think names like Wyatt Ubellacker, Ian Stewart-Bates and Quinn Bartlett. Of course, like recruiting, graduation is part of the game, and it’s time to move on and embrace the new crop of talent that has been steadily growing over these past few months.
In arranging this batch of top 25 for the men’s rankings, I’ve done about the same thing as I did with the women – namely, a bunch of calculations having to do with graduation, relays, and swimmers in the top 16 after midseason, eased by teams’ historical trends and whether they even have a midseason meet.
Update: After posting this list initially, we learned that Will Guedes was no longer on Kalamazoo’s roster, so they have been removed from our top 25.
So, here’s the top 25 for this year:
25) Whitman (Last year #17)
Karl Mering is one of – if not the – best flyer in Division III right now. It’s possible he could be a one man wonder and carry himself up into the standings – or with a few teammates, go even further.
24) Grinnell (Last year #22)
Michaell Brus reset the national record in the 200 backstroke last year, so he bears some watching. Right now Grinnell isn’t top 16 in anything – so it’ll be interesting to see how that shapes up come race day.
23) UW La Crosse (Last year #34)
In finals last year, both Andrew Janny and Justin Bublitz scored high enough in finals to have had a chance to break into top 8. If they dive well in prelims they have a chance to bolster their team.
22) New York University
Jeremiah Crowley has three top 16 times that could turn some points for NYU. If their 2 medley relay makes it, there’s a possible top 8 spot too.
With a trio of swimmers ranking top 16 so far after midseason, and four relays that – if invited – could rank them top 16, the development of this little dream team might be something to watch.
20) UW Stevens Point (Last year #16)
Stevens point has one top 16 relay so far, in the highly competitive 400 freelay. Sam Jekel is right on the cusp of top 16 in the 100 butterfly.
19) Ithaca (Last year #18)
After having two divers qualifying top 8 last year, having only one diver this year in Matt Morrison may put a crimp in Ithica’s style, point wise. Morrison may still be a force to be reckoned with though, depending on how he deals with the pressure of diving without his teammate at NCAAs.
18) Mary Washington (Last year #19)
Hugh Anderson broke the national record in the 400 IM last year, and was runner up in the 200 butterfly. So far it looks like he’s the solo player, but if he gets some teammates together, his leadership could inspire some serious point scoring.
16) Gettysburg (Last year #15)
While there aren’t a ton of individual athletes from Gettysburg lining up, the team does have some top ranked relays that could benefit them a lot. With the third fastest time in the 100 freestyle so far this year, Jason Potter might be the reason Gettysburg has a good 400 freelay.
15) Claremont MS (Last year #10)
CMS lost almost no senior points, but their relay power is lacking this year. Without some stepping up by the younger crew, making a strong showing at NCAAs could be difficult.
14) Chicago (Last year #28)
Chicago came out of nowhere this year to surprise – well, just about everyone. The Maroons had an early midseason meet which stacked the top rankings in their favor early on, but even after all the other teams went through their midseason meets, Chicago still has a number of athletes up there, as well as four relays in the top mix.
13) Williams (Last year #8)
Williams is another of those NESCAC schools that doesn’t have a midseason meet to gauge off. However, after losing about a quarter of their points to graduating seniors last year, that should be enough to push them down substantially in the standings.
12) Wash U. MO (Last year #21)
After losing no points to graduation after last year, Wash U looks to be in a pretty solid place after midseason. Six of their athletes are top 16 after midseason. The one thing that could put a dent in plans for being unequivocally awesome is that their average relay placing isn’t that great. Their best relay – the 400 medley – might be top 8, but it’s a stretch. Still, having a lot of swimmers with potential swims never hurt anyone.
11) St Olaf (Last year #11)
St Olaf didn’t lose anyone to the 2013 graduation – but, with exception of Michael Gratz, most of their top swimmers are ranked in the lower half of the top 16. Gratz currently owns the top 200 IM time.
10)The College of New Jersey (Last year #14)
Most of TCNJ’s possible qualifiers are sitting low end top 16 or in the periphery right on the cusp. however, they do have a lot of potential qualifiers, and three of their five B cut relay teams are ranked in the top 8 after midseason. James Shangle, a sophomore currently is TCNJ’s highest individual ranking, having posted the seventh fastest 200 breaststroke time thus far this season.
9) Stevens (Last year #6)
Stevens has some strong relays lined up, but not much else right now. Ravi Sun is their only athlete with a top 16 ranking after midseason, so it’ll be a race to see who – and how – they qualify for some action in March. They didn’t lose a ton of points to graduation, so they should be able to bounce back strong this season.
8) DePauw (Last year #13)
Casey Hooker will be at the helm this season leading DePauw’s charge at the big meet. He’s the top seed for their team across four events, including having posted the second fastest time this year in the 100 butterfly. DePauw also has a shot at some top 8 relays this year, especially in the competitive 400 freelay, where they are currently ranked with the third fastest time this season.
7) Keene St. (Last year #11)
Drew Ledwith will be guiding Keene when push comes to shove. He’s the top ranked individual in the mile and the 500 at this point in the season, and might have a shot at top 8 in the 4oo IM as well. Keene’s relay power will be in the freestyle events at NCAAs, and it’s possible they might not even qualify a top 16 medley relay.
6) Amherst (Last year #7)
Amherst scored 172 points last year and did not graduate any point scoring seniors. However, they also don’t have anyone in the top ranks of any event. Amherst – and most of the NESCAC schools, don’t have a midseason meet equivalent, so it’s hard to predict exactly who will be fast and in what event(s) at the end of the year when conference rolls around. Amherst has been in the top ten for the past four years, though, so it’s banking on historical trends at this point. What we do know for sure is that Amherst has two returning divers who scored last year – Mark Idleman in top 16, and Colin White in top 8.
5) Johns Hopkins University (Last year #4)
The Jays are on fire this year. After midseason, they’ve got a strong set of top 16. The only downside is that about half of those are newbie freshmen, which could play out in the Jays’ favor, or which might end up being a wild card that goes downhill. To be fair – their relays haven’t suffered from the young talent; JHU is the top seed in the 800 freelay by over a second and a half, after all. And – with exception of Anthony Lordi who has the fastest 100 freestyle time this year – all the fastest Jays times belong to the freshmen.
4) Emory (Last year #5)
Emory lost the fewest points to the graduation storm, and of the 13 athletes they have sitting in the top 16, only two are freshmen. That means a lot for the team’s experience with collegiate swimming and with competing under pressure at a high level. So far this season the Eagles’ relays have been duly impressive – top two in three out of five. So far it looks like the athletes who could do the most point scoring for the team are the brothers – Hayden Baker and Christian Baker, along withRoss Spock with some help from Andrew Wilson.
3) MIT (Last year #3)
The Engineers have four relays with potential for top 8 placing, as well as eleven athletes who have made a spot either in the top 16 or on the cusp. There’s only one freshman in the group, which means that this is a team who knows how to work together. Remy Mock was second in the 200 freestyle last year, as well as top eight in the 200 butterfly, returns in decent standing to lead his compatriots through the Big Meet. MIT also currently owns the top spots in the 50 freestyle (Austin Fathman) and 200 butterfly (Luke Schlueter).
2) Kenyon (Last year #1)
The Lords took a serious hit when the class of 2013 graduated – these guys together scored more than 100 more points than any other graduating class. Most of last year’s relays were 3/4 seniors, too, which leaves the Lords hurting a bit on the relay side. So why second instead of third or even fourth? The Lords team is known for its resilience, and is a team that generally takes a while to get moving. The distance crew is clearly prepared – the mile, 500 and 400 IM are overrun with Lords. Also, with 18 guys already in the top 16 across events and an with avid group of freshman who are willing and able to lay it all down when the time comes – let’s just say the bet’s on for a little Kenyon magic in March.
1) Denison (Last year #2)
The Big Red are not to be taken lightly this year, as Damon Rosenburg has already proven by breaking a national record at midseason. Denison only graduated two point scoring seniors last year, and sophomore Ben Lewis might already be on the fast track to being better than the senior he’s replacing – after all, he won the 1m diving competition last year. Speaking of diving – this is one area where Big Red comes out ahead of just about every other top DIII school, because they utilize diving as part of their driving force. Besides Lewis, Denison has five other divers back in Granville who might be looking to also qualify and add some points to the pool come March. No matter what, it’ll be a tight run for the top!
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 …