NCAC Champs Day II – Dignan Breaks Another National Record; Denison Men and Kenyon Women Still Leading

After an impressive second finals session, in which more pool records have continued to fall, and multiple NCAC records have been broken, Denison University’s Connor Dignan has the honor of having broken yet another national record in diving in three days. On Wednesday, Dignan smashed the men’s 3 meter diving record; this evening, he crushed the 1 meter diving record by over twenty points to win.

Dignan was not the only diver racking up points – in a feat exactly like the one accomplished on the 3 meter board, the divers of DU went 1 through 6 on 1 meter to earn yet another 180 points for their team. Sitting outside the Big Red group in 7th and 8th and 9th respectively were Oberlin’s Jordan Attwood (411.80), Wittenberg’s Eric Roberts (407.30) and Kenyon’s Brandon Roman (387.00).

In the pool, Denison has continued their dominance, especially on relays. They claimed victory at the opening of the session with a 1:30.17 from the squad of Spencer Fronk, Al Nennig, Conrad Wuorinen and Ryan Fleming in the 200 medley relay. DePauw was less than a second behind, touching in with a 1:30.94 for second. Kenyon came in third, only three hundredths behind (1:30.97).

In the men’s 400 IM the Lords of Kenyon sought to make up some ground over the Big Red. They swept the top three spots, led by last year’s NCAC Champion, Andrew Chevalier. Chevalier finished with a 3:54.18 to break his own standard set last year at this meet (3:54.51) as well as resetting the pool record in the process. A freshman for the Lords, Ian Reardon took second with a 4:00.10. He was under four minutes in the prelims session, along with teammate Mark Newell, who claimed third in finals (4:01.31). In the Consolation final, Nathan Thorne of Denison dropped over five seconds from his morning swim to put up a 4:04.13, a time which would have put him seventh had he been in the A final.

Christian Josephson put together a star effort to break the pool record he’d set in the prelims (48.78) by coming home almost half a second faster than anyone else in the field to touch in at 48.62. The defending NCAC champion in the event, Casey Hooker of DePauw was right on his heels, a little over a tenth behind to finish second in 48.76. Andrew Rich for DU was third with a 49.21.

Carlos Maciel won the men’s 200 freestyle with in a come-from-behind type race to reset the pool record. He touched in at 1:38.43, hammering the last 50 with a 25.1. Austin Caldwell, the NCAC Champion from last year in this event, was a little over a second behind, coming into the wall with a 1:39.65 to secure his runner up spot. He was joined by four other Lords from Kenyon in the top heat, providing a counterbalance to Denison’s depth in diving and their win from Maciel; Joey Duronio was third for the Lords, finishing with a 1:40.28.

National record holder Damon Rosenburg came on the scene in the 100 breaststroke to win with a new NCAC record, breaking the one he’d set himself at last year’s championships (55.29) with an impressive 54.66. That’s a little over a second slower than the national record Rosenburg set at the midseason meet in December of 53.61. Trevor Manz, a freshman for the Lords, finished in second place, with a 55.43. Rosenburg’s teammate Nennig rounded out the top three with a 56.23.

Kenyon made another strike at breaking down the deficit built by Denison’s divers in the 100 backstroke. Harrison Curley – who swam a 49.0 lead off leg on the 400 medley relay last night, came in victorious in the 100 back with a 49.14. The next two places were both Denison swimmers, but three other Lords joined Curley in the A final, adding additional points to the Lords’ tally. Jackson Humphrey was second with a 50.63, and Fronk took third with a 51.01. In the B final, Denison’s Max Howes dropped over half a second to win the heat with a 51.91.

The final contested event of the evening was the men’s 800 freestyle relay. Kenyon came out victorious, but it was only from the final leg of the race. Duronio led off, about a second and a half slower than DePauw’s Hooker. The gap widened with Percy Gates racing Alex Grissom. Chevalier, who had already enjoyed an individual NCAC title in the 400 IM, held his ground against Stephen McMurtry, but it was Caldwell’s leg which made up the ground and brought the Lords to victory. He split a 1:37.53 to close the gap and build a lead, touching in to close the relay out at 6:39.94. DePauw’s Matt Haeske brought their relay home for runner up position at 6:41.75. Denison was third (6:46.41).

Men’s team rankings through event 27: Denison (1460), Kenyon 1305), DePauw (792.5), Wabash (625), Oberlin (474), Ohio Wesleyan (455.5), Wittenberg (442), Wooster (316), Allegheny (312), Hiram (147)

In the women’s meet, at least as many exciting moments existed, and several records also were reset. The Ladies, who have maintained their lead over the course of the meet (though the Big Red have narrowed it slightly), won the first event of the session – the 200 medley relay. The team of Rachel Flinn, Laura Duncan, Jourdan Cline and Jenner McLeod posted a 1:41.93 to best the competition by a little over a second. Denison was second (1:43.26) followed by Wittenberg in third (1:46.88).

The 400 IM provided plenty of room for the Big Red women to make up points. Led by Michelle Howell, Denison’s swimmers took first, second and sixth in the A final, as well as having Lucy Roth win the B final (4:36.34). Howell’s 4:24.00 was shy of the meet record she set last year, but still quite good enough for a resounding victory. She pulled away from the competition on the breaststroke leg, putting some serious distance between herself and teammate Taylor Johns, who finished second (4:28.04). Angela Newlon, who reset the NCAC record in the 500 the previous day, was third with a 4:28.27. 

The women’s 100 butterfly went to Wooster’s Courtney McGovern, who broke the pool record that had been reset in prelims by Natalie Parker of Kenyon. McGovern had the only sub-30 closing 50 in the pack, to finish with a 56.36. Following her to the wall were Cline (56.61) and Erika Jensen (57.10) of Kenyon.

Hillary Yarosh stepped up in the 200 freestyle to win the NCAC title and kick off a Kenyon winning streak in the remainder of the night’s events. Yarosh’s 1:49.62 isn’t that far off the 1:49.29 she swam at last year’s NCAA meet to reset the Kenyon varsity record. Packed into the A final to offset Yarosh’s point scoring were five Denison athletes, two of which rounded out the top three for the night. Campbell Costley, a DU freshman, posted a 1:51.26 to earn herself the runner up position, and Molly Willingham claimed third place honors with a 1:51.67.

The next Lady claiming an event title was Katie Kaestner  who won the 100 breaststroke in a very close race. Kaestner’s 1:03.22 was just enough to keep ahead of breaststroke rival Natalie Lugg from Denison, though not quite fast enough to clip the record Kaestner had set herself in prelims. Lugg’s 1:03.38 was good for second place. They were joined in the top three by Wittenberg’s Molly Gustafson who ran down Kenyon’s Duncan to post a 1:04.84 – winning the touch out by just .05 seconds. In the B final, Kelsey McMurtry of Kenyon dropped nearly two seconds to claim the top spot, posting a 1:06.94 for tenth place.

Individual victory number three of the night went to Kenyon’s Celia Oberholzer, the national record holder in the 100 backstroke, as well as NCAC Champion from the previous year. Oberholzer had posted a 55.1 lead off leg of the 400 medley relay the previous night, but settled for easily winning tonight’s final with a 55.35. Teammate Rachel Flinn was the only other woman under the 56 second mark, touching with a 55.91 for runner up honors. Willingham of Denison – fresh out of the 200 freestyle – was third at 56.32.

The final event of the evening went easily to the Ladies. The team of Haley Townsend, Yarosh, Williamson, and Kaestner wrapped up the victory in the 800 freestyle relay by almost two full seconds, beating out Denison for the win with a 7:27.66. The Big Red settled for runner up with a 7:29.48, and DePauw took third (7:48.32).

Women’s team rankings through event 27: Kenyon (1234), Denison (1208), DePauw (739), Wooster (582), Wittenberg (557), Oberlin (507), Allegheny (444), Ohio Wesleyan (313), Hiram (163)

The final day of the NCAC championships begins with prelims tomorrow at 10:30 am EST, followed by finals at 6:30 pm. Live results seem to be having difficulty, but the live stream is up here. 

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About Hannah Saiz

Hannah Saiz fell into a pool at age eleven and hasn't climbed out since. She attended Kenyon College, won an individual national title in the 2013 NCAA 200 butterfly, and post-graduation has seen no reason to exit the natatorium. Her quest for continued chlorine over-exposure has taken her to Wisconsin …

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