Kenyon College faced off against Ohio State University last night in what has become an annual duel between two top notch teams. Kenyon is well known for being a powerhouse in Division III, and Ohio State is a top contender in the Division I Big Ten. Even as a top notch swim program, it’s fairly obvious that even the top DIII team has little chance of beating a top DI team, especially this early on in the season. Division III athletes are still getting back into the swing of things while teams like OSU have the ability to train their athletes year round.
So why compete?
Maybe a better question is why not compete! The Lords and Ladies both had ups and downs in the meet, and the highs were tempered by an exhausting week of practice beforehand. But learning to race while tired is part of the process, and there’s no training for racing quite like getting up on the blocks and having some stiff competition. The race-day atmosphere was made even more animated in two ways: firstly, Kenyon’s head coach Jessen Book helped coach the OSU men for a number of seasons prior to taking over the Lords and Ladies. Secondly, this is only the first of two meets Kenyon will have featuring the Division I titan. Kenyon and OSU will have a rematch in mid-January.
As to the meet itself – Kenyon’s freshmen came out and made quite a splash, as did some returning swimmers. For the Ladies, sophomore Katie Kaestner had a strong meet, coming within a tenth of beating DI competition, though ultimately she settled for second in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.84) and 200 breaststroke (2:25.15). National champion junior Celia Oberholzer hung with her competitors, showcasing her 200 backstroke with a runner up finish in 2:10.41. Senior Rachel Flinn took second in the 200 IM (2:16.08).
More members of the class of 2016 also shone in second place showings – Mariah Williamson put together a solid effort in the 500 (5:09.27) and Haley Townsend brought home a tight 100 butterfly, clocking in at 1:00.16. And Maria Zarka also made a splash – or rather, didn’t – on her way to capturing second place on the 3m board with 253.88 points.
On the men’s side of the meet, the Lords picked up a bunch of runner up finishes across the meet. Junior Austin Caldwell led the charge with a 1:41.72 in the 200 freestyle, just managing to touch out an OSU swimmer for second. Freshman Trevor Manz added to the silver medal haul with his 200 breaststroke (2:05.25) and 200 IM (1:54.63). Junior transfer Harrison Curley turned in an strong 200 backstroke and another second place finish with a 1:53.12. Yearmate Joe Guilfoyle finished the 500 in 4:49.76 and sophomore Christian Josephson contributed to the team effort with a 51:83 in his 100 fly.
On the boards, sophomore Brandon Roman claimed runner up on one meter (210.90) while freshman Derek Hoare took second on the three meter.
Complete meet results for the women’s and men’s meets can be found here and here, respectively. The DI take on the meet is here.
And stay tuned in January for that rematch!