GRANVILLE, Ohio, February 14. DENISON University’s men’s team holds a 109-point lead over NCAA Division III rival Kenyon after one full day of competition at the North Coast Athletic Conference swimming and diving championships, while Kenyon is ahead of Denison by 40 points in the women’s meet.
Denison won three men’s swimming events on Thursday to Kenyon’s two, but the big reason why the Big Red lead 670-561 is the men’s 3-meter diving competition that took place Wednesday. Denison took the top six spots, led by Connor Dignan and his NCAA Division III record score of 645.70.
With Denison hosting the conference championships for the first time, several pool records were in jeopardy, and many of them fell in Thursday’s swimming action. Denison won three events to Kenyon’s two. Ryan Fleming, Conrad Wuorinen, Damon Rosenburg and Carlos Maciel posted a pool record time of 1:21.19 in the 200 freestyle relay just ahead of Kenyon’s 1:21.35. Both times are extremely fast for Division III swimming, but are far off the division record of 1:18.06 by Kenyon, which included future Division I champion Zach Turk.
Maciel added another win with a come-from-behind victory in the 200 IM. Behind teammate Jackson Humphrey by 1.3 seconds after backstroke, Maciel put in strong breaststroke and freestyle legs to win with a 1:49.71 to Humphrey’s 1:49.72. Also in the race was Kenyon’s Trevor Manz, who was third with a 1:50.20. Maciel just missed his own pool record of 1:49.67 that he swam in the preliminary heats.
Denison stood at the top of the podium again in the men’s 50 freestyle, with Fleming leading a Big Red 1-2 finish in a time of 20.45 to Wuorinen’s 20.50 that took second place. The top seven swimmers in the nine-person final all broke 21 seconds.
Kenyon’s first of two wins in the men’s meet came in the 500 free, where Alex Seaver posted a 4:28.91 to smash the pool record of 4:30.07 that he swam in prelims. That time obliterated the previous pool record of 4:38.48 set by NCAA champion Al Weik in 2012. Kenyon scored big in the event with a 1-2-3 finish that included Joe Guilfoyle in second with a 4:28.98 and Harrison Curley in third with a 4:31.43. Casey Hooker of DePauw tried to get in the top three, but settled for fourth with a 4:31.44 after holding in second place for much of the swim.
The men’s competition concluded Thursday with a conference record in the 400 medley relay by winner Kenyon and runner-up Denison. The time of 3:16.43 by Kenyon’s foursome of Curley, Manz, Christian Josephson and Austin Caldwell beat the conference mark of 3:17.82 set last year by Kenyon, and knocks on the Division III record of 3:15.09 set in 2012 by Denison. The Denison team of Humphrey, Rosenburg, Andrew Rich and Wuorinen swam a 3:17.22 for second. Well back in third was Wabash with a 3:25.91.
The women’s meet was much tighter, with the Kenyon Ladies ahead of Denison with a 575-535 score. Kenyon won three events to Kenyon’s two, while DePauw snuck in to get an individual win as well.
Denison held the lead in the women’s scoring through the first three events, with the lead never more than 38 points over Kenyon. After winning the 200 free relay with a pool record of 1:32.93 swum by Carolyn Kane, Ashley Yearwood, Claire Van Fossen and Morgan Nuess, Denison gave up the lead to DePauw, who had a stellar showing in the 500 freestyle.
A conference record time of 4:50.91 from Angela Newlon was cause for celebration at DePauw, as she became the first Tiger to win a conference swimming title. The former conference record was 4:51.18 by Hilary Callen of Denison from 2010. Denison’s Campbell Costley was a distant second with a 4:53.18 and Mariah Williamson of Kenyon was third with a 4:53.25.
Denison took the lead back in the women’s 200 IM with a victory from Natlie Lugg with a conference record 2:03.06, beating the 2:04.02 by Michelle Howell from 2013. Howell settled for second with a 2:06.18 while Hillary Yarosh took third with a 2:06.62.
Kenyon took a three-point lead after Jourdan Cline won the 50 free with a 23.41, followed Denison swimmers in second through seventh place, and five Kenyon swimmers in the B final. Kane won second place with a 23.51 and Nuess was third with a 23.67.
Maria Zenk’s score of 456.65, a pool record, helped Kenyon build a bigger lead after the women’s 3-meter diving final and the Ladies secured it with a pool record 3:44.88 in the 400 medley relay. Celia Oberholzer, Katie Kaestner, Natalie Parker and Haley Townsend beat Denison by nearly four seconds in the final event of the session. The Big Red posted a 3:47.42 for second, while DePauw was third with a 3:54.01.