Summit League Champs Day 1: Nebraska-Omaha Men Win Title In First-Ever Season

2022 Summit League Conference Championships

After being moved to April last season, the 2022 Summit League Championships kicked off in February once more with the 200 medley relay and the 800 free relay. Denver won the women’s 200 medley relay as well as both 800 free relays, while the Nebraska-Omaha men, in their inaugural season, took the men’s 200 medley relay.

Women’s Recap

The Denver women, who have been the conference champions for 8 straight years, started out with an early lead after sweeping both relays.

The team of Natalie Arky, Sophia Bricker, Eri Remington, and Aysia Leckie defended the team’s title in the 200 medley relay when they won by nearly three seconds in a time of 1:38.92. Denver’s swimmers had the fastest splits in the field across all four strokes and led the race from start to finish. Nebraska-Omaha was second with a time of 1:41.22, and also went under last year’s winning time of 1:42.04. South Dakota finished third with a time of 1:43.83.

Denver then had a dominating performance in the 800 free relay, as Emily Pincus, Ines Alexandre, Livi Schmid, and Leckie swam a time of 7:19.05 to win the race by over ten seconds and crush the school’s conference-winning time of 7:28.69 from last year. Pincus and Leckie were the only two women who split under 1:50, as Pincus led off in a 1:49.83 and Leckie closed in a 1:47.56. Pincus’s split was a personal best and indicates her improvement at Denver, as she transferred out of conference rival South Dakota State last year and has dropped from a 1:50.04 to a 1:49.83 this season.

South Dakota was second with a 7:29.31 time, and Nebraska-Omaha was third with a 7:31.69, and the same three teams on the podium in the 200 medley relay came together once more in the 800 free relay.

Team Scores After Day One:

  1. Denver- 80
  2. Nebraska-Omaha- 66
  3. South Dakota- 66
  4. St. Thomas- 58
  5. South Dakota State- 58
  6. Eastern Illinois- 52

Men’s Recap

The Denver men had a 7-year Summit League winning streak snapped last year by South Darkota after a tumultuous season that included a number of the Pioneers’ top swimmers leaving the program because of what they viewed as unfair COVID-19 protocols. That streak included utter dominance: it was rarer for them to not win an event at the conference meet than it was for them to finish 1-2-3 in an event.

But the Pioneers appear poised to regain that throne after day 1, although perhaps not with the same dominance we’ve seen from them in prior years.

An 800 free relay and a 1-meter diving title put Denver in the lead after day one, while the University of Nebraska-Omaha won the 200 medley relay in their first-ever season with a men’s team. The Summit League, during a time where NCAA swim programs were being cut left and right, added two new men’s programs to their conference last year for the 2021-22 season, which includes Nebraska-Omaha and the newest Division I program St. Thomas (MN)

Splits from Kody Hollingsworth (22.32), Daniel Young (23.65), and Elijah Clements (20.36) put Nebraska-Omaha in a comfortable lead for the first 150 meters of the 200 medley relay, before South Dakota’s Zach Kopp came charging home to split 19.43 in the freestyle leg of the relay to close the cup. Owen Hoak of Nebraska-Omaha’s 20.36 freestyle split was enough to keep Nebraska’s lead, and they won the relay in a time of 1:27.29 compared to South Dakota’s 1:27.69. Denver, without 50 free conference record holder Cameron Auchinachie who transferred to Texas this season, took third in a time of 1:29.06. 

The Denver men successfully defended their title in the 800 free relay, as Kieran Watson, Dylan Wright, Riley Babson, and Marco Nosack swam to a total time of 6:38.19. Nosack, a freshman and 2021 Austin Speedo Sectionals champion, threw down a massive split of 1:37.74 in his anchor leg. His split was the fastest split in the field and made him the only man under 1:38. South Dakota was second with a time of 6:40.79, and South Dakota took this place with a time of 6:42.80.

Denver’s Ammar Hassan took the 1-meter diving title with 348.55 points, while Nebraska-Omaha saw continued success in their Summit League debut when David Goodwin placed second for them with 207.15 points.

Team Scores After Day One:

  1. Dever- 125
  2. South Dakota State- 106
  3. Nebraska-Omaha- 96
  4. South Dakota- 78
  5. St. Thomas- 61
  6. Eastern Illinois- 54

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About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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