2021 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championships
- Friday March 5 – Sunday March 7, 2021
- Liberty Natatorium, Lynchburg, Va
- Short Course Yards
The 2021 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Swimming Championships were held this past weekend at the Liberty University Natatorium in Lynchburg, Va. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, several conference schools did not compete this year. This meant that Guilford College, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, and Washington & Lee were not at the meet. Since Washington & Lee won both the men’s and women’s titles last year, 2021 would see a new champion crowned on each side.
Additionally the meet was held on two days (Friday and Sunday) using a timed-finals format.
The women’s meet was a two-team battle between the University of Lynchburg and Roanoke College. The two teams combined to win every event, with each school winning nine events a piece.
Roanoke Sophomore Kimberly Large was named ODAC Swimmer of the Meet as she was the lone swimmer to win three events at the meet. Large won the 50 free (23.93), 100 free (52.43) and the 100 butterfly (58.28). Large was also part of two winning relays for Roanoke, the 200 free relay (1:37.47) and the 400 free relay (3:33.86).
Roanoke was boosted by another multi-event winner. Junior Izzy Mack won the 500 free in 5:15.34 and the 1650 free in 17:58.54. Mack also led-off the 800 free relay as Roanoke took home the win in 8:01.65.
The last event winner for Roanoke was junior Maria Vinson who captured the 200 butterfly in 2:11.03
Lynchburg used three multi-event winners as they fought to get to the top of the podium. Freshman Delaney Kennedy swept the IM events, taking home the 200 IM in 2:10.41 and the 400 IM in 4:33.63. Freshman Karolena Steckler swept the backstroke events, winning the 100 in 58.71 and the 200 in 2:05.50. Sophomore Claire Galoway won both breaststroke events, taking the 100 in 1:05.15 and the 200 in 2:23.73.
Lynchburg used their strength in the the IM, backstroke, and breaststroke events to win both the 200 medley relay (1:46.77) and the 400 medley relay (3:54.72)
Additionally, freshman Lindsey Hair won the 200 free for Lynchburg in 1:58.46.
In the end, Lynchburg’s depth was the deciding factor. There were several events where they took home multiple top-8 finishes:
- 100 breaststroke: 1-2-3-4
- 100 backstroke: 1-2-5
- 400 IM: 1-3-4
- 200 breaststroke: 1-2-3-5-6
- 200 butterfly: 2-3-4-5-7
These events pushed Lynchburg 53.5 points ahead of Roanoke as they captured their first ODAC team title in school history. Notably, this is Lynchburg’s second year as a program after being reinstated in 2019 after being shut down following the 1970-71 school year.
Kennedy was named Women’s Rookie of the Year.
Coach Brad Dunn of the University of Lynchburg was named Women’s Coach of the Year.
Hanna DeVarona, a senior at Hollins University was the recipient of the Bonnie Kestner Sportsmanship Award. All women and men swimmers are eligible for this award.
Final Women’s Team Scores
- University of Lynchburg — 922.50
- Roanoke College — 869
- Bridgewater College — 449.50
- Emory & Henry College — 257.50
- Virginia Wesleyan University — 204.50
- Ferrum College — 177
- Sweet Briar College — 167
- Hollins University — 145
The men’s meet was less dramatic as the Roanoke men used 16 event wins to cruise to a 200+ point victory and earn their first ODAC team championship.
Leading the way for Roanoke was the 2021 ODAC Men’s Swimmer of the Meet, junior Connor Kinkema. Kinkema won, for the second year in a row, the 100 breaststroke (56.00), the 400 IM (4:02.77), and the 200 breaststroke (2:01.90). All three swims set new ODAC Meet and Conference records.
Roanoke featured a second three-event winner in junior Ben Tate. Tate took home top honors in the 500 free (4:38.42), the 100 butterfly (50.82), and the 200 butterfly (1:51.74). This was the second consecutive year that Tate won the 500 as he set the ODAC Meet and Conference record last year in 4:36.80.
Sophomore Josh Rauch of Roanoke set an ODAC Meet and Conference record in the 1650. Rauch, who won the mile last year in 16:23.58 dropped almost 10 seconds from a year ago as he finished in a smoking 16:13.84.
Roanoke won all five relays, taking home the 200 free relay in 1:25.33, the 400 free relay in 3:04.16, the 800 free relay in 6:57.68, the 200 medley relay in 1:32.88, and the 400 medley relay in 3:23.61.
Other winners for Roanoke include:
- 50 free: senior Nick McGrath, 21.27
- 100 free: junior Richie Evans, 46.13
- 200 free: junior Brian Grimmett, 1:44.51
- 200 IM: freshman Jacob Winn, 1:57.12
Lynchburg sophomore Kevin Bennett broke Roanoke’s stronghold on events as he swept the backstroke events. Bennet won the 100 back in 51.46 and the 200 back in 1:50.64.
Winn was named Men’s Rookie of the Year.
Coach Scott Thacker of Roanoke College was named Men’s Coach of the Year.
Final Men’s Team Scores
- Roanoke College — 1001
- University of Lynchburg — 792
- Bridgewater College — 349
- Hampden-Sydney College — 311
- Emory & Henry College — 178
- Virginia Wesleyan University — 167
- Greensboro College — 51
- Ferrum College — 14