The Kenyon men, once winners of the most impressive streak in college sports history when they won 31-straight championships, returned to the top of the podium on Saturday night with a 499.5-428 victory over their conference rivals from Denison. This avenges both the last two national titles that have gone to Denison, as well as the conference championship they won earlier this year.
In the men’s mile, Denison junior Allen Weik won in 15:09.63: a margin of roughly 25 yards ahead of Keene State junior Drew Ledwith (15:24.50). That gave Weik a sweep of the distance events at the meet, after winning the 500 on Wednesday.
That was a big win for Denison, as they needed a first-place finish to make any serious dent into the Kenyon lead.
The Kenyon men, though, got the points right back with a big victory in the 100 free from Ian Stewart-Bates in 43.77. The powerful Wyatt Ubellacker from MIT, who would eventually be named the Swimmer of the Year, took 2nd in 44.01, followed by Kenyon junior Ian Richardson in 44.25.
Kenyon’s four A-finalists in this race stretched the Lords’ lead to nearly 100 points.
In the next race, Michael Brus got the last laugh in a back-and-forth battle he’s had all year with Denison’s Quinn Bartlett. Both swimmers broke the Division III Record in the 200 backstroke in prelims, but Bartlett did it first (and lower).
In finals, though, Brus took almost a full second off of Bartlett’s time, and won in 1:44.81 to really establish an impressive standard. He’s just a junior, so he may be the one to shoot for it next year.
Bartlett looked good for about 150 yards, but slipped to 3rd in 1:46.08. In between was US Merchant Marine Academy’s Kevin Lindgren in 1:45.72. That tallied three men under the old National Record.
Dylan Davis from Johns Hopkins was 4th in 1:46.49, which almost cleared the old mark as well.
Denison was able to get the margin back down to 70, but with that being their last big advantage over Kenyon in this meet, that was about all-she-wrote.
There were still a lot of big individual titles given out, though. Occidental sophomore Steven van Deventer turned into the last 50 and rocketed off of the wall to put this race away in 1:58.60.
Williams’ Paul Dyrkacz was 2nd in 1:59.28, and 100 champion Simas Jarasunas from Stevens was 3rd in 1:59.86. Jarasunas looked unbeatable for about 140 yards, especially after coining himself a 200 breaststroker, but he couldn’t hold on for the last 50.
The Kenyon men finished with a dynamite last relay, winning in 2:55.07 after coasting through prelims. The Kenyon relay broke the National Record last year, and even with two new legs on this year’s group, they still had no troubles winning with the country’s best sprint group. Stewart-Bates led them off in 43.66.
MIT’s relay was 2nd, before getting DQ’ed, but Wyatt Ubellacker anchored with a 42.83 split. Ultimately, it wouldn’t hurt their team scoring.
The women’s meet was all-but-decided headed into the final day, with Emory once again overwhelming the field with their depth.
There were a lot of really outstanding races. Williams’ Sarah Thompson picked up where her teammate Caroline Wilson left off. Wilson won the last three titles, but this year dropped it for the 200 IM instead. This year, she was the lap counter as Thompson took a huge win in 16:31.60. She’s just a sophomore, and with a 17-second margin over Kenyon freshman Mariah Williamson, she has a chance to run the Williams team streak in this event to 7 over the next few seasons.
Redlands sophomore Chandra Lukes won the 100 freestyle in 50.22. That’s the Redlands women’s team’s first ever event championship at the NCAA Championships.
This final was even tighter than advertised: Springfield’s Kellie Pennington took 3rd in 50.35, and the top 8 ranged only from 50.22-50.93.
Wheaton freshman Kirsten Nitz won her third individual event of the meet in the 200 back with a 1:57.30, bettering 100 champion Celia Oberholzer in 1:57.89. Nitz is the next big thing in Division III swimming; she took individual titles this weekend in the 50 free, the 100 fly, and the 200 back, which shows how dominant she has the potential to be. If everything breaks her way, and she keeps picking the right events, she could break Wilson’s record and win 12 individual events. That’s a long way away, though.
Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Amy Spaay was yet another multi-event winner, taking the 200 breaststroke title in 2:12.71. The former Arizona Wildcat is a Wisconsin native, and came back home with great success.
Nazareth’s Carissa Risucci and Stevens’ Brittany Geyer made this a very good three-team race, finishing in 2:14.90 and 2:15.09, respectively.
The Emory women had put the meet out of contention by the time the 400 free relay came around, and while that was their only event win on the final night, it was a big one. For the fourth-straight season, the Eagles won the NCAA title in this meet-closing event; out of the four, though, this one was special because it was a Division III National Record, and it capped their 4th-straight team National Championship. Senior Anna Dobben led a veteran relay with a 49.68 anchor.
Johns Hopkins, who is having the meet of their lives, was 2nd in 3:22.69. That capped a 5th-place team finish that is tied for their highest in program history.
Women’s Top 10
1. Emory 619
2. Kenyon 483
3. Denison 363
4. Williams 304
5. Johns Hopkins 290
6. Amherst 240
7. Stevens 167
8. Mit 125
9. Grove City 116
10. Gustavus 98
Men’s Top 10
1. Kenyon 499.5
2. Denison 428
3. Mit 334
4. Johns Hopkins 316
5. Emory 280
6. Stevens 185
7. Amherst 172
8. Williams 130
9. Redlands 129.5
10. Claremont MS 117