Editorial coverage sponsored by SpeedoUSA
By Ben Safran
SHENANDOAH, Texas, March 20. THE NCAA Division III Championships kicked off at the Conroe Natatorium with some big swims, including a huge double from Williams' Caroline Wilson.
Caroline Wilson started her back-to-back double strong by winning the first event at NCAA Division III Nationals. Along with Williams College teammate, Sarah Thompson, the two top seeds after prelims held their spots by going 1-2. Both were out in under 1:53 at the 200 mark as they pulled away from the field. Wilson was able to build a strong lead and held off a charging Williams in the last 100.
Wilson finished with a final time of 4:47.32 and Williams was at 4:47.99 as they both repeated finishes from 2012. Alyssa Swanson took third for Denison at 4:52.69 while Mariah Williamson and Kiersten Bell of Kenyon took 4th and 5th. Emory's women started off a strong first night by placing 3 in the A final and 1 in consolations. Becky Shaak of Lake Forest won consolations in a time of 4:54.79, who held off 2nd place Stephanie Ternullo of Amherst who went 4:55.88.
Defending champion and current record holder Allen Weik of Denison was seeded 4th after prelims but blew away the rest of the field in a time of 4:23.99. He was out in a 1:42.11 and it was never a close race. Galen Sollom-Brotherton of Whitman came in 2nd with a time of 4:27.47 and Nicholas Schmidt of John Hopkins was 3rd at 4:27.61. Drew Ledwith moved up one spot from last year, finishing 4th for Keene St. Hopkin's Justin Tang finished 5th while two Kenyon Lords came in 6th & 7th. In the consolation, Remy Mock took the race by the horns and lead for most of the race, winning for MIT in a time of 4:28.39.
Caroline Wilson won her second race in as many events by winning the 200 IM in a time of 1:59.43 she took off on backstroke and never looked back. In her morning swim, Wilson smashed Kaitlyn Orstein's 2008 NCAA record by more than a second going 1:58.81. Anna Kokensparger, MIT, touched out Michelle Howell, Denison, going 2:01.74 and 2:01.99 for 2md and 3rd. Emory had another 5 night swims 3 being in the A final, with Sadie Nennig finishing 5th, Mia Michalak 6th, and Kylie McKenzie and 7th. Brooke Woodward of Emory, also won the consolation heat, peeling off from the pack at breaststroke and finishing with a time 2:05.06 and Nina Zook placed 13th.
Defending champion Jeff Depew, of Redlands, came in looking to be another repeat champion. He teamed up with his brother, Chris, of Redlands to go 1-2 in the event. His winning time of 1:47.20 was a drop of .40 seconds from the 2012 championship winning time. Jeff Depew made his move in the breast with a split at least .50 seconds faster than the next top 3 finishers and used his underwaters to his advantage. Quinn Bartlett of Denison and Michael Gratz of St. Olaf finished 3rd and 4th going 1:49.02 and 1:49.13. Peter O'Brien and James Douglas, Emory took care of the next two spots finishing at 1:49.38 and 1:49.78 and Kenyon and Denison each had a finalist in the top 8. Austin Caldwell of Kenyon went 1:50.34 and Bart Brunk of Denison went 1:51.07. Blake Weber, Claremont MS and Brendan Deveney, MIT, tied for the win in the consolation final barely touching out Carlos Maciel, Denison, in a time of 1:49.74. Like Depew, Weber used the 3rd 50 to come from behind.
Kristen Nitz, freshmen from Wheaton who set the NCAA Division III Record at her conference meet in February, was the only swimmer to break 23 in both morning and night swims. Going 22.82 and then 22.87 at finals, she was the first to the wall and held everyone off to place 1st in her initial NCAA Championship meet. Last year's champion Kellie Pennington from Springfield, finished 2nd with at 23.07. Sophie Pilhofer of Carleton College placed 3rd with a 23.28 just touching out Chandra Lukes, Redlands (23.31) and Louise Moores, Stevens (23.35). Continuing in the trend of the night, Emory had another 2 swimmers final with Renee Rosenkranz and Nancy Larson coming in 6th and 7th. In an event that featured a lot finishes from smaller schools, Jade Woodend of Hartwick won the consolation final at 23.35. Kenyon, Denison and Johns Hopkins all had swimmers place in the 50.
The men saw few changes from prelims. The Top 6 morning qualifiers finished in the same positions, with Wyatt Ubellacker of MIT winning in a time of 19.81, after going 19.51 at prelims. That's MIT's first national championship as a program. Erik Klontz, Carleton College went a 19.86 finishing 2nd and Curtis Ramsey, Kenyon, touched at 19.95 and in 3rd. All three placed higher than they did in the same vent last year and Ramsey was one of three Kenyon men in the final. Dylan Coggin won the consolation heat for Johns Hopkins at 20.29.
Women's three-meter diving
Kenyon freshman Maria Zarka topped the diving event for the night with 514.25 points. College of NJ's Danica Roskos took second with 509.15 points, while Amherst's Kaitlyn Linsmayer rounded out the top three with a 486.85-point tally.
200-yard medley relay
Hannah Saiz split a 23.75 in her 50 fly split of the 200 Medley and Anna Connolly was able to bring home the Gold for Kenyon. Rachel Flinn and Katie Kaestner swam the backstroke and breaststroke legs that lead to a final time of 1:41.60. Emory's Anna Dobben went a 22.94 to out touch John Hopkins for 2nd place. Denison finished 4th. In the consolation heat Caroline Wilson swam her 3rd event of the evening anchoring Williams 9th place relay.
MIT was able to win the Men's 200 Medley Relay behind their 50 free champion, Ubellacker's 20.44 fly split. Their winning time of 1:28.57 was just ahead of Denison's 1:28.66 and Emory's 1:29.92. Kenyon and Johns Hopkins came in 4th and 5th touching at 1:29.01 and 1:29.39. Some notable splits were Dension's Damon Rosenburg's 24.65 breast and Emory's Ross Spock's 22.48 back.
Including diving, Emory is sitting on top at 151.5 points. Kenyon is at 104, Denison at 92 and behind Caroline Wilson's awesome double, Williams at 91.5. Amherst rounds out the top 5 with 66 points.
Kenyon leads the way at 110 points while Denison is in close second with 89. After winning the 50 Free and 200 Medley MIT has 88 points. Johns Hopkins is 4th at 72 and Emory men are in 5th with 67 points.