DIII Round-Up: Post-Conference Championships Check-In

All the Division III conferences have officially wrapped up as of this weekend. Unofficial psych sheets are set to release tomorrow (Wednesday, February 28), so we’re here to recap a few storylines ahead of the lead-up to NCAAs.

What Will Derek Maas Enter at NCAAs?

Emory has had a stranglehold on the University Athletic Association (UAA) team title since 1999 and this year was no different, but it was NYU’s Derek Maas who was awarded Swimmer of the Year for the men’s meet. The Alabama transfer went three-for-three in his individual events, winning the 200 IM (1:44.72), 100 back (46.78), and 200 back (1:42.40), the latter of which was a UAA record and personal best.

Maas now leads the nation in those three events, and is ranked in the top three in the 100 breast (52.78), 200 breast (1:57.35), 100 fly (47.13), and 200 fly (1:44.90) from his performances at the NYU Winter Invite just a week after UAAs. This presents one of the biggest questions that will soon be answered by the unofficial psych sheets: which events will Maas enter at NCAAs? He could chase Andrew Wilson’s legendary records in the 100 breast, 200 breast, and 200 IM, or he could continue to compete in backstroke as he did at conference and mid-season.

NYU swept the Swimmer of the Year honors, with Kaley McIntyre taking home the women’s award. She swept the 50 free (22.60), 100 free (49.47), and 200 free (1:46.87), setting personal bests in the 50 and 200 where she is the defending NCAA champion. Last year she opted for the 200 back over the 100 free on the final day, placing 9th overall, but hasn’t competed in a backstroke event this season indicating she’s all-in on freestyle.

Champions Emory were led by Megan Jungers for the women and Nick Goudie for the men. Both took home two individual titles apiece, with Jungers winning the 100 back (54.24) and 200 back (1:59.64) and Goudie sweeping the 100 free (44.23) and 200 free (1:37.76).

Kenyon Sweeps NCACs for the 23rd Time

Kenyon is back on top of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), sweeping the men’s and women’s team titles for the first time since 2008. This is the 23rd time they’ve won both meets in conference history. The Kenyon men are the defending NCAA runner-ups, while the women finished 3rd last year. Denison was the runner-up in both NCAC team races this year.

Kenyon freshman Bengisu Caymaz continues to improve in her debut yard season, sweeping the distance events with personal bests in the 500 free (4:49.26) and 1650 free (16:34.52).

In the men’s meet, defending 100 free champion Djordje Dragojlovic set what was, at the time, the top time in the division (43.51). He was overtaken a day later by James McChesney (College of New Jersey), who swam 43.48 at his conference meet, and a week later by MIT’s Tobe Obochi, the 2022 champion (43.40).

Pomona-Pitzer Powers Up

The Pomona-Pitzer women topped the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) for the 24th time in program history, led by senior Alex Turvey who took home Swimmer of the Meet honors for the third year in a row. She leads the nation in the 100 fly by four-tenths of a second (53.76) and is 3rd in the 50 (22.89) and 100 free (49.83) respectively.

Notably, Sagehens’ sprint free relays set the top times in the division, swimming faster than their performances from last season’s NCAAs. Sabrina Wang (23.60), Chesna Pelka (23.08), Francesca Coppo (23.11), and Valerie Mello (22.29) clocked 1:32.08 to undercut their 2023 NCAA final time by nearly a second (1:33.06) and getting within two-tenths of their team record from 2022 (1:31.93).

In the 400 free relay, Turvey (50.10) teamed up with senior teammate Katie Gould (50.75), Pelka (50.83), and Mello (49.96) to tie PP’s team record (3:21.64), set when they recorded a runner-up finish in the event at 2022 NCAAs. Notably, that time would have edged Tufts for the 2023 title by just two-hundredths.

CMS took home the men’s SCIAC title, led by defending 200 fly champion Frank Applebaum. Applebaum lowered his own D3 record in the 200 fly earlier this season and while he was off his time here (1:45.75), he still handedly took home the title. He also added conference titles in the 100 fly (47.55) and 200 IM (1:46.38).

Noteworthy in the NESCAC

The Williams women have landed a top 5 finish at NCAAs for the past 14 years, but we typically don’t get an idea of their form until the end of the season. The NESCAC already starts competition much later than most conferences, and Williams doesn’t compete in a typical mid-season invite.

The Ephwomen reclaimed the NESCAC title after falling to Tufts last year, with 2x national champion Sophia Verkleeren leading the way. The junior became the first in D3 this season to dip under the 2:00 barrier in the 200 IM, clocking 1:59.48. She also cracked 4:20 in the 400 IM (4:17.68) to top the rankings, and punched a personal best of 53.65 in the 100 back leading off Williams’ 400 medley relay to lead D3.

The only event Verkleeren swam that is no longer a #1 time is the 200 back (1:58.26), where she is the defending champ. MIT’s Kate Augustyn, the 2023 runner-up, swam 1:56.98 this past weekend at the NEWMAC Championships, setting up an exciting showdown come March.

The Williams men also won their meet a week later, but it was Connecticut College’s Justin Finkel who stole the show. He swept his individual events, establishing the top time in the 200 free (1:35.69) and 500 free (4:24.66), and #2 in the 200 fly (1:44.62). He recorded a pair of runner-up finishes at last season’s NCAAs in the 500 free and 200 fly.

Other leading times came from Bates’ Max Cory in the men’s 50 free (19.66) and Amanda Wager in the women’s 200 breast (2:12.61).

From D3 Podiums to ACC Runner-Ups

As seniors, Tanner Filion and Liam McDonnell finished 1-2 in the 100 back at last year’s D3 NCAAs. They both decided to use their fifth year of eligibility at Notre Dame.

Both Filion and McDonnell competed at ACCs last week, contributing points to ND’s runner-up finish. Filion made a pair of consolation final appearances in the 100 back (44.99) and 100 fly (45.47), recording personal bests in both. Notably, his 100 back time was the 2nd fastest time of the whole meet and ties him for 13th in D1 this season. He also placed 7th in the 200 back (1:41.50), just off his best time that stands as the D3 record (1:41.17). Filion also contributed to ND’s winning 400 free relay, splitting 41.61 on the second leg.

McDonnell also competed in the 100 back (47.16) and 100 fly (46.45), placing 21st and 22nd overall with a personal best in the 100 fly.

In This Story

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PFA
1 month ago

Just want to point out that Hamilton freshman Nathaniel Taft came in with best times of 20.87, 45.68, and 1:41.62 just became a likely A finalist in all 3 races. 19.83, 43.57, and 1:36.22 what an improvement! If he drops even more at NC’s could challenge for not only the title but maybe even the D3 records

THEO (the real one)
Reply to  PFA
1 month ago

Taft and Max Cory were the big surprises from NESCAC. It would have been unthinkable before this season to see them as national champions this year but now it seems perfectly likely.

But in the 100 I’m hoping that Tobe didn’t taper for NEWMACs and is on pace to shatter the record while negative splitting his 100 free (he actually does this, it’s so weird).

PFA
Reply to  THEO (the real one)
1 month ago

crazy thing is he went 43. with a 21.99 back half, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before at any level with a 100 free and nearly even split it like that
Also I get the feeling were about to see multiple D3 records go down this year with others also getting under the previous record but finishing 2nd

Last edited 1 month ago by PFA
DeeCeeBee
Reply to  THEO (the real one)
1 month ago

Absolutely, will be exciting to watch the 50 and 100 frees. Unfortunate to see Tobe couldn’t swim the 100 at NCAAs last year. Something that flew under the radar was Max Cory’s 42.7 split anchoring a relay (19.9 / 22.8) at NESCACs. If he splits it the same way from a flat start, 20.5 / 22.8 makes 43.3…and if he gets faster between NESCACs and NCAAs, it could make an interesting race where he’s ahead at the start and Tobe catches up with his insane back half. Could be like a Dressel v. Chalmers situation, but Nathaniel Taft also thrown in there as a wildcard with huge unknown upside potential.

THEO (the fake one)
1 month ago

The fall-off of a certain men’s team needs to be studied…

Swammer
Reply to  THEO (the fake one)
1 month ago

are you referring to Denison?

Last edited 1 month ago by Swammer
THEO (the real one)
Reply to  THEO (the fake one)
1 month ago

Thanks for acknowledging your truth

Swimmer
Reply to  THEO (the fake one)
1 month ago

That smarty school in Baltimore too

Go Violets!
1 month ago

Love this D3 content!

What are everyone’s team predictions?

Women?
1. Denison
2.Kenyon
3. Williams
4. NYU
5. MIT

Men?
1.Emory
2. Williams
3. Kenyon
4. NYU
5. Chicago

Comfy Pants
Reply to  Go Violets!
1 month ago

No Emory in top 5 for women?!

Go Violets!
Reply to  Comfy Pants
1 month ago

https://swimulator.herokuapp.com/conference?conference=Nationals&season=2024&taper=Top+Time&date=Whole+Season&heats=16&size=17&gender=Women&division=D3

Swimulator has the Emory women right up there close to the top five, and they can certainly get there! Especially if they have strong divers, which Swimulator doesn’t account for…..

Go Violets!
Reply to  Comfy Pants
1 month ago

Emory really has great opportunities to add to their predicted 217.5 points from seed, especially with 12 predicted individual scorers, more than anyone, except Kenyon (14). Also? Divers Watt and Klugherz will almost certainly add to that point total! Can’t wait to watch!!

MIAA
1 month ago

David Bajwa

Ben Catton

Julien Camy

Eric Chimes

Forrest Peterson

Charles Platt

Colin Kalkman

Bailey Smith

Caleb Gemmen > Christian Dunitis

polarbear tamer
1 month ago

i miss D3swimming forum

mcphee
Reply to  polarbear tamer
1 month ago

this is right and true!

imjumbo
Reply to  polarbear tamer
1 month ago

me too man, me too

Polarbear
Reply to  polarbear tamer
1 month ago

Yes!!!!!

zThomas
Reply to  polarbear tamer
1 month ago

I know DonCheadle

swimswamswum
1 month ago

D3 swimming across the country is getting really fast, but the NESCAC was insanely deep this year for the men.

SwimMaxxing
Reply to  swimswamswum
1 month ago

More top heavy than deep if we are being honest. The A final in every event was absolutely smoking, but by the time you got to the bottom of the B it was just meh. For instance, in the 500, it took a 4:44 to final at NESCAC, versus a 4:36 at UAA.

Polarbear
Reply to  SwimMaxxing
1 month ago

because NESCAC has 50s of stroke so there are more events to spread people around. not apples to apples in the slightest

SwimMaxxing
Reply to  Polarbear
1 month ago

I disagree. Just taking the same example of the 500 cuz why not, only 11 out of the 24 finalists in the NESCAC would final in the UAA (it took a 4:36.35 to make it back). If you could conjure up 13 more 500 swimmers from that were entered in the 50s of stroke that day that were all that fast… I’d be pretty impressed.

Again, this isn’t a slight at the NESCAC at all. Arguably the fastest conference in the country at the top, with big names like Justin Finkel, Ev Nichol, Nathaniel Taft, Max Cory, etc., I just don’t think it is that “deep”. Just my two cents.

Hannah
Reply to  SwimMaxxing
1 month ago

It depends on the event. Some nescac events were shallow this year on the men’s side (backstroke and some distance). Some were much deeper like sprint free and breaststroke.

Last edited 1 month ago by Hannah
Comfy Pants
Reply to  SwimMaxxing
1 month ago

There’s more depth than NESCAC results suggest. Not all of the athletes who would score get a seat on the bus.

Ben
Reply to  Comfy Pants
1 month ago

that is certainly the case at UAAs as well.

swimmy
Reply to  swimswamswum
1 month ago

I’m curious because of their full taper will NESCAC swimmers be able to hold or improve upon their seedings going into Nationals?

Comfy Pants
Reply to  swimmy
1 month ago

Do the NESCACs fully taper? Talked to one D3 coach last year (not NESCAC) who said they don’t taper for conference.

Comfy Pants
1 month ago

Found this online: The list of qualifiers, including alternates, will be announced on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. ET in a selections press release posted on NCAA.com.

Joe
Reply to  Comfy Pants
1 month ago

where’d you find that? on the ncaa.com d3 page it says they will release final entries next week. The usual timeline is usually a day or two after the pre-cut psych sheet so your timeline makes more sense though.

THEO (the real one)
1 month ago

Great recap. Williams exceeded expectations. If they can keep momentum and drop more at NCAAs I think they have a real shot here at finally being the bride and no longer the bridesmaid. This applies to both men’s and women’s. Every year I am blown away at how well the nescac teams can develop swimmers with such minuscule official season lengths, and I do think they’re at a fundamental disadvantage for it, so if they can ever pull of a win that would just be remarkable

Towelie
Reply to  THEO (the real one)
1 month ago

Official season lengths are short but all of the top teams in the nescac start practicing as soon as the semester starts. Captains lead practices that are essentially the same as the practices the coaches lead starting in November, but there are no coaches on deck. There’s a lot of social pressure to attend all of the captains practices, so they’re generally very well attended. It’s not nearly as large of a disadvantage as it seems from an outside perspective

Theo
Reply to  Towelie
1 month ago

I actually did know that from my recruit trip there in the fall. It was fun to be able to practice with the team (which is allowed bc practice was not officially sanctioned). But my point is: that’s impressive! lot’s of teams have “captains practices” that are hardly legit.

Theo
Reply to  Theo
1 month ago

also to be clear I am old. The recruit trip I am mentioning was like 10 years ago. But I think these traditions run deep and the NESCACs odd schedule has been a constant in D3 swimming for a long time.

jp input is too short
Reply to  Theo
1 month ago

“I am old. The recruit trip I am mentioning was like 10 years ago.”

No. No no no. You are not old! Or I am ancient.

Hannah
Reply to  Towelie
1 month ago

Nescac season starts a couple weeks earlier post Covid (October 15 instead of November 1) and I can confirm those extra weeks of actual training make a difference. Captains practices are well attended usually but it’s easier to sustain them for two weeks instead of a month. Some people also don’t start twos days until the actual season.