Scoring the Women’s D-III NCAA Championship 2015: Psych Sheet Breakdown

by Hannah Saiz 7

February 26th, 2015 College, NCAA Division III, News

NO. 1 EMORY’S shoo-in on Division-III swimming might be less guaranteed this year – judging on the prelims psych sheet. No. 3 Denison – with some killer relays – is set to finish well under 100 points behind the Emory women. Some fast swims from the Denison team and some slow ones from Emory, might result in a new Division-III champion.

Although no. 8 Williams was ranked in preseason at the bottom of the top ten, some fast swims at NESCACs might lead Williams into a 33-point finish over no. 2 Kenyon.

Scoring the psych sheet as if it were finals results (i.e., the first 16 seeds earn points) we predicted D-III results for this year. Check them out below:

  1. Emory | 548
  2. Denison | 473
  3. Williams | 359
  4. Kenyon | 326
  5. Johns Hopkins | 279
  6. Gustavus | 151
  7. Amherst | 138
  8. Wheaton (IL) | 130
  9. MIT | 115
  10. St. Thomas | 111
  11. NYU | 97
  12. Wash. U. | 85
  13. UChicago | 69
  14. Bates | 64
  15. Univ. of Wisconsin – Whitewater | 57
  16. DePauw | 56
  17. Middlebury | 51
  18. IWU | 35
  19. Luther | 34
  20. Mount Holyoke | 25
  21. Trinity U. | 25
  22. CMS | 24
  23. Springfield | 23
  24. Univ. of Wisconsin – Stevens | 21
  25. Stevens (NJ) | 21
  26. Kalamazoo | 20
  27. Bowdoin | 19
  28. Ohio Northern | 16
  29. Rose-Hulman | 15
  30. La Verne | 12
  31. Centre College | 12
  32. F&M | 11
  33. RPI | 11
  34. Conn. College | 10
  35. Transylvania | 9
  36. CMU | 8
  37. Pomona-Pitzer | 7
  38. Vassar | 7
  39. Lake Forest | 6
  40. W&L | 5
  41. Hope College | 2
  42. URochester | 2
  43. Ursinus | 2

All that being said, diving can sometimes play a huge role in the final rankings of a team – so these results could change heavily – especially with some fast swims from some dark horses.


 500 Free


  1. Thompson | Williams – 20 points
  2.  Costley | Denison – 17 points
  3. Johns | Denison – 16 points

Sarah Thompson will be closing out her senior year at Williams, and the distance phenom certainly isn’t going to let a little thing like not currently being ranked #1 stop her from claiming top honors. Last year she dropped almost ten seconds off her seed time to capture the NCAA crown. This year, she’s even faster. Campbell Costley of Denison will be the one most likely to challenge Thompson’s bid for the title. Now a sophomore, Costley has dropped over four seconds from where she was heading into NCAAs last year, and she isn’t slowing down. Teammate Taylor Johns is an obvious choice for third place on the podium, but keep an eye out for the Kenyon wild-child Mariah Williamson who may also make a bid in finals.

200 IM


  1. Hyde | Amherst – 20 points
  2. Waddell | Williams – 17 points
  3. Wisniewski | Johns Hopkins – 16 points

Emily Hyde claimed the NCAA title in the 200 IM last year. She’s back again this year, over a second faster coming into NCAAs than in 2014. But this year looks like she may face some stiff competition. Freshmen are hard to predict, but Emma Waddell and Anna Wisniewski are both currently ranked in the top three nationally, and if they perform according to expectation, could be putting some big numbers on the boards for their respective teams. Also worth keeping an eye on is Annelise Kowalsky who was runner up in this event for Emory last year.


 50 Free


  1. Paulson| St Thomas – 20 points
  2. Bogdanovski | Johns Hopkins – 17 points
  3. Kane | Denison – 16 points

Anastasia Bogdanovski may be the best sprint freestyler ever to grace a Division III swimming pool. She claimed Swimmer of the Meet honors at NCAAs last year, and as a senior defending her title, she promises to be no easier to defeat this year. However… Someone is going to try, and just might succeed. Emma Paulson is a newcomer to the Division III scene, starting her DIII collegiate career at St Thomas after transferring from U-Wisconsin. Paulson is currently the only athlete under 23 seconds in the 50 freestyle, and as such is the front runner to maybe winning this tightly contested event. Carolyn Kane is a sophomore sprint standout hailing from Denison who finished third in the 50 freestyle last year and looks to continue her podium streak.

 200 Medley Relay


  1. Kenyon – 40 points
  2. Johns Hopkins – 34 points
  3. Emory – 32 points

Relays are difficult to predict, and the psych sheet has the top two – Kenyon and JHU – separated by just .03 seconds. Add to that that Emory (currently ranked third) is also less than a tenth out of medal position and you have a recipe for an exceptionally tight race where exchanges and hundredths of a second will make all the difference.

 200 Free Relay


  1. Denison – 40 points
  2. Emory – 34 points
  3. Kenyon – 32 points

Denison has proved over and over again this year that it has the sprint power to rival Emory…and at NCAAs, the Big Red may get a chance to prove it first hand. Denison is the clear favorite, going into NCAAs with over a second lead on any other competitors. The race for second will be tighter with Kenyon seated less than half a second behind the Eagles. JHU may have lost a lot of manpower after last season, but expect them to show up with some sort of surprise. Maybe a relay of Anastasia Bogdanovski clones.


400 IM


  1. Pierce | Williams – 20 points
  2. Pruden | Mount Holyoke – 17 points
  3. Johns | Denison – 16 points

Megan Pierce will be a sophomore at Williams this year. She won the 400 IM as a freshman, and will be looking to defend her title and begin a four-year title run to echo that of great Ephs from days gone by. She’s already on the right track: less than two seconds away from what she finished with last year, and already almost two seconds faster than what she came into NCAAs with in 2014. Cathleen Pruden is also on her second competitive collegiate season at Mount Holyoke. She was fourth in the event at the 2014 NCAAs, but is already a full second faster than she was in finals last year. Taylor Johns will be facing a punishing schedule, but the Denison junior is in fine shape for facing down the rigors of a distance-oriented meet. She is also away and beyond where she was at NCAAs last year. Megan Beach of Emory may be a dark horse worth keeping an eye on: she finished runner up in the event in 2014.

 100 Fly


  1. Nitz | Wheaton – 20 points
  2. Waddell | Williams – 17 points
  3. Doerner | NYU – 16 points

Kirstin Nitz is now a junior. In three years, she has successfully put Wheaton, IL on the DIII map nationally. She has competed in more events – and been significant – than most other athletes could dream of. She’s also back to defend her 100 butterfly national title – and record – which is almost laughable, considering there ought to be no contest. Her seed time going into this meet (53.72) would have taken first by over a second last year, provided she wasn’t racing herself (NCAA record: 52.64). The real question isn’t whether Nitz will win the 100 fly, but who will join her on the podium. Emma Waddell stands out again as a freshman who could do some serious damage for Williams. She’s a little more than three tenths behind Nitz, and more than half a second ahead of everyone else in the field. Emily Doerner of NYU was eighth in the event last year,but has dropped a substantial amount of time – to the tune of two-ish seconds – coming into the meet for 2015. The only other flyer under the 55 second mark coming in is Johns Hopkins’ Anna Wisniewski who may also make a podium bid.

 200 Free


  1. Bogdanovski | Johns Hopkins – 20 points
  2. Thompson | Williams  – 17 points
  3. Costley | Denison – 16 points

Yet again JHU’s Anastasia Bogdanovski hops to the top of the list. She was the NCAA champion in this event last year, and looks good to repeat, considering her entry time is already faster than her finals time from last year. Sarah Thompson finished second last year, two seconds behind Bogdanovski. Thompson may have a little challenge this year in Denison’s Campbell Costley – who also should provide some challenge in the more distance oriented events – but ultimately, the Williams senior will most likely take home silver.

 400 Medley Relay


  1. Emory – 40 points
  2. Williams – 34 points
  3. Kenyon – 32 points

The top three medley teams are within a second – really just outside six tenths of a second – of each other. If that doesn’t spell tight competition, I don’t know what will. The Eagles have a batch of talented strokers that ought to make this a fun race to watch. Outside the top three, Denison and Johns Hopkins will also have relays worth keeping an eye on, to see if they jostle into the top three.

 200 Fly


  1. Nitz | Wheaton – 20 points
  2. Newsum-Schoenberg | Emory – 17 points
  3. Pierce | Williams – 16 points

Kirstin Nitz is the third woman under the two minute mark in Division III history. (The pioneer, Logan Todhunter, had an illustrious career at Williams.) That fact alone makes her a shoo-in for the title in the 200 butterfly unless McKenna Newsum-Schoenberg has something tucked up her sleeves. She is already faster than she was last year at NCAAs, and almost five seconds ahead of where she was coming into 2014’s NCAA champs. Megan Pierce is another one already three seconds faster than she was at NCAAs last year. The dark horse this year is actually the NCAA champ from last year: Abby Erdmann from Chicago. Erdmann’s 2:01:35 last year would rank her second going into NCAAs this year, but she’s only ranked 17th heading into the meet. Maybe she’s changed focus, or maybe she hasn’t rested fully yet, and will be part of a dazzling sub-2 top trio.

 100 Back


  1. Oberholzer | Kenyon – 20 points
  2. Paulson | St Thomas – 17 points
  3. Slagel | Luther – 16 points

Kenyon’s Celia Oberholzer is the NCAA record holder, which is one point in her favor. She’s also won the 100 back two years running, which is another. She is, however, “only” seeded fifth heading into March, with my prospective second place pick – Emma Paulson – as the nation’s fastest…currently. Paulson is the only woman under the 55 second mark in the 100 backstroke (54.99), with Clare Slagel of Luther a bare .03 seconds removed. The race should be awfully tight – Slagel was third last year, but look also for Emily Doerner (NYU) to make a move on the scene as well, given that she’s only a hundredth behind Slagel in the standings going into NCAAs.

 100 Breast


  1. Spaay | Whitewater – 20 points
  2. Strom | Gustavus – 17 points
  3. Hyde | Amherst – 16 points

Amy Spaay isn’t the “typical” senior, being in her fifth year of college. She owns a few records (including the NCAA meet record in this event), and will be looking to reset them as a finale to her collegiate career. She’s right on where she was last year at this time. Jenny Strom is looking strong for the Gusties with a time coming into NCAAs that betters the time she swam last year. She is one of three athletes under the 1:03 mark in the event, with Emily Hyde rounding out that top three. Another name to keep an eye on is seventh ranked Annelise Kowalsky who finished runner up in this event for Emory last season.

800 Free Relay


  1. Johns Hopkins – 40 points
  2. Emory – 34 points
  3. Denison – 32 points

Let’s see if history repeats itself. This is the exact order the 800 free relays finished in at NCAAs last year. The JHU team with have Bogdanovski again, but will need replacements for the two seniors lost. Considering their seed time would have finished third at NCAAs last year – and having Bogdanovski on board – there shouldn’t be much issue in the Jays staking their claim.

 1650 Free


  1. Thompson | Williams – 20 points
  2. Costley | Denison – 17 points
  3. Pierce| Williams – 16 points

Sarah Thompson seems like a shoo-in for the victory in the mile, considering how dominant she has been in the event for – what feels like – forever. Maybe that’s the Eph tradition, handing down the mile from one to another. In any case, after winning the mile by over 12 seconds last year, Thompson seems like she will probably be the safest bet to top the podium. The battle for second and third look to be the more tightly contested events, with Campbell Costley – currently top ranked in the event – holding a slight edge over Williams’ Megan Pierce. We will have to wait and see how things shake out, though, because there are two potential upsetters in this event: Costley’s teammate Taylor Johns and Kenyon’s Mariah Williamson. 

100 Free


  1. Bogdanovski | Johns Hopkins – 20 points
  2. Larson | Emory – 17 points
  3. Kane | Denison – 16 points

Once again, Anastasia Bogdanovski should be bringing home a bucket load of points for the Jays. Going into NCAAs, she is the only woman under 50 in the event, with seven tenths of a second lead on the next fastest seed. Bogdanovski finished runner up in this event last year, but her competition has since graduated, and her current times are faster than when she got beaten. Nancy Larson of Emory is also faster now than she was coming into 2014, and and at the 2014 NCAA meet. In an event as tightly contested as a 100, age and experience tends to trump youth, so while Emma Waddell (Williams) is seeded higher on the psych sheet, it seems more likely for Carolyn Kane (Denison) to make finals and have the physical and emotional energy to drop a little extra time for a top three placing in the event. Precedence also goes to races I’ve seen, and man, can that girl kick!

200 Back


  1. Nitz | Wheaton – 20 points
  2. Slagel | Luther – 17 points
  3. Jackson | Williams – 16 points

Everyone and her mom seems to want some action on the 200 backstroke, which means this is going to be one race you won’t want to miss. Kirstin Nitz will be in the event, repping her 200s of stroke in her junior year. She won the event in 2013 with a 1:57.30 and didn’t compete in it last year. Clare Slagel claimed the 2014 crown with a 1:58.38. Choosing a possible third place is difficult, because we’ve already got three other women under the 2 minute mark, including top seed Olivia Jackson of Williams. If we’re really turning up the radar, eyes ought to be on Celia Oberholzer (Kenyon) as well. She was runner up with a 1:57 in 2013 when Nitz won the crown, though she didn’t slip under the 2 minute mark at last year’s NCAAs.

200 Breast


  1. Hyde | Amherst – 20 points
  2. Aronoff | Emory – 17 points
  3. Kowalsky | Emory – 16 points

Amherst’s Emily Hyde is nearly two seconds ahead of where she was last year coming into NCAAs when she picked up a seventh place in finals. At over a second and a half ahead of the competition, she looks like she should be set to pick up the NCAA title that Emory’s Elizabeth Aronoff claimed last season. There are plenty of Eagles worth keeping an eye on in this event: the Emory team seems positively bursting with these guys. Aronoff and Annelise Kowalsky are joined by Megan Beach as returning names to keep an eye on. Additionally, Amy Spaay of Whitewater may be a factor. In 2013 she posted a 2:14.71 to claim the title; last year she finished eighth, but we know the ability is there.

400 Free Relay


  1. Denison – 40 points
  2. Emory – 34 points
  3. Williams – 32 points

Denison’s sprinters have quite a lead over the other teams in DIII going into NCAAs, so they appear to be the easy favorites for the title. Expect something big – a kind of sprint miracle – out of the Eagles though; these women are the queens of going fast when it counts. As the last event in the meet, everyone is going to be amped up to swim out of their minds, so it’s certainly not something you’d want to miss, especially if the scores are close!

Check back here in late March for more info on Division-III nationals!

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5 years ago

You forgot SUNY Geneseo. Abigail Max is Seeded 3rd in the 2 free and 15th in the 500 free.

Reply to  Hannah Saiz
5 years ago

What I was trying to say was you don’t have geneseo scoring any points at all. I am not contesting Max being in the top 3 in the 2 free. I am contesting the matter of geneseo not having any points in your team projections. Thanks for the reply.

Reply to  Hannah Saiz
5 years ago

My point was that you do not have geneseo scoring any points not that Abi is not in the top 3. Clearly a 3 seed is likely to score a point or 2.

5 years ago

Emma Paulson transferred from U Wisconsin as a sophomore.

5 years ago

Watch out for MIT ! Those ladies are strong!!

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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