NCAA Division II Championships
- Dates: Wednesday, March 12 – Saturday, March 15, 2014
- Location: SPIRE Institute, Geneva, Ohio (Eastern Time Zone)
- Defending Champions: Drury
- Live Results: Available
- Live Video: Available Here (Click on Date on Scroll Bar)
- Championship Central
The Drury men leaped out to a big lead on day 1 of the 2014 NCAA Division II Championships, but the women’s meet is still a very contentious affair headed into Thursday’s preliminary session.
Men’s Prelims Recap
In the men’s meet, Drury began the day with a 1:19.45 in the 200 free relay to take the top seed by a full second ahead of Tampa’s 1:20.41. Based on history, though, don’t count out the men of Wayne State, who sit 3rd in 1:20.56. On the first day of this met, they showed a huge propensity to drop time in the relay finals and in the process broke the Championship Record.
Wingate’s Marko Blazevski, a 2012 Olympian for his native Macedonia, took the top seed in the meet’s first event the 400 IM with a 3:49.81. In finals, he should be swimming largely alone, as the defending NCAA Champion and National Record holder Piotr Jachowicz opted to pass on this event in 2014.
Nova Southeastern freshman Marco Aldabe sits 2nd in 3:53.38, and Lake Erie’s Julian Milinkovskyi sits 3rd in 3:53.57. The battle for 2nd in this race (unless someone really surprises in finals) is wide-open among the other 7 finalists.
The biggest star in Division II swimming, Queens freshman Matthew Josa, has taken another top seed after winning the 200 IM on Wednesday. Josa was a 46.32 in the 100 fly, which puts him ahead of another freshman: Philipp Sikatzki of Ashland.
Note that unlike the 200 IM, Josa’s going to have to do some work to break the National Record in this race. That one belongs to the legendary Ben Michaelson, who was a 45.60 all the way back in 2003.
Drury’s Albert Lloyd took his team’s only top seed of the day (to go with the two relay top seeds) in the 200 free. He swam a 1:36.98, with Wingate’s Leif-Henning Kluever touching just slower in 24.46. Kluever had by far the fastest closing split among the A-finalists in this race, which if Drury coaches have looked at splits might make them nervous in finals.
Grand Valley State’s Gianni Ferrero was 3rd in 1:37.22, Queens sophomore Benjamin Taylor was 4th in 1:37.36, and the top 8 in total were separated by under eight-tenths of a second.
Closing the morning’s swimming events was another top seed in the 400 medley relay in 3:12.32. That included a 43.27 anchor from Nicholas McCarthy.
Queens, who were the number two seed coming in, took 2nd just .01 back in 3:12.33 including a 45.85 fly leg from Josa and a 52.96 breaststroke split from Niclas Eriksson. Wayne State is 3rd in 3:13.36, with Jachowicz splitting 52.93 to finish a relay-only session for him.
Women’s Prelims Recap
The Drury women, like their men, began the session hot with a 1:33.02 in the 200 yard free relay. That included sub 23-second splits from both Tinsley Andrews and Wai Ting Yu.
UC San Diego was 2nd in 1:33.50, and Queens was 3rd in 1:33.61 in that relay.
A part of that Queens relay, Caroline Arakelian came back on a very quick turnaround to take the top seed in the 400 IM. That turnaround should be quicker in finals, so she’ll have an even bigger challenge there from the relatively-fresher Delta State’s Melanie Tombers, who’s a part of an impressive Delta freshman class. Tombers was 2nd in 4:19.82, and Wayne State’s Kristina Novichenko was 3rd in 4:20.29.
LIU Post sophomore Joyce Kwok is the top seed in the women’s 100 fly by almost a full second, going 53.88 with a big front-half to earn the center lane in finals.
Bridgeport’s Armony Dumur took 2nd in 54.76, and Queens’ Hannah Peiffer is 3rd in 54.95. All three of those swimmers have been 53’s this season.
In prelims of the 200 free, Wingate senior Kathryn Pheil is the top seed in 1:48.69. West Chester’s Katharina Fischer sits 2nd in 1:49.06, and UC San Diego’s Anjali Shakya is 3rd in 1:49.22. The top 6 swimmers were all under 1:50.
The Drury women finished the morning with a 3:41.88 in the 400 medley relay, which gives them easily the top seed over Cal Baptist’s 3:42.99. Cal Baptist is having a breakout meet, and they won’t make the same mistake here as they made in their 200 medley relay, where they weren’t fast enough in prelims to make the A final, but ran away with the B final.