GRANVILLE, Ohio, February 15. DENISON swept the team trophies in the final day of the North Coast Athletic Conference’s swimming and diving championships, as the Big Red women overcame a slight deficit to beat Kenyon by 34 points. The Denison men held off Kenyon’s surge to take the team title by 47.5 points and set up a great battle to come at the NCAA Division III championships.
The Denison men scored 1,898.5 points over Kenyon’s 1,851. In the women’s race, Kenyon had the lead through three days of competition before settling for second with 1,805 points to Denison’s 1,839.
The final day didn’t disappoint, as four conference meet records fell to close out the meet. The first came in the women’s 1650 freestyle, as Taylor Johns of Denison posted a 1:46.91 to beat Mariah Williamson’s 16:49.21 from last year. Teammate Campbell Costley overtook Williamson at 1400 yards and held on for second with a 16:51.20 to Williamson’s 16:51.20.
In the men’s 200 back, Harrison Curley of Kenyon made his presence known with a speedy 1:46.38 to win the event and put the Division III record of 1:44.81 by Michael Brus on notice. Finishing second to Curley today was Denison’s Jackson Humphrey with a 1:48.13, while Andrew Chavalier of Kenyon placed third with a 1:50.39.
The men’s 200 breast featured a conference mark from Alex Beckwith, who came within six hundredths of David Gatz’s record of 2:01.23 in prelims but got under with a 2:01.01 in finals. Trevor Manz gave Beckwith company in his record chase, placing second with a 2:01.35. Ian Reardon was a distant third with a 2:03.43.
In the final event of the meet, the women’s 400 free relay, Kenyon might have known the meet title was out of their hands, but they put an exclamation mark on the meet with a 3:23.34 to beat the conference meet record of 3:24.80 set by Denison in 2009. Denison was right in the hunt for the win, but couldn’t make up lost time and settled for second with a 3:23.50. Well back in third was Depauw with a 3:29.44.
Casey Hooker was the only swimmer not from Kenyon or Denison to win an event today. He took the men’s 200 fly with a 1:49.85, beating out a strong surge from Kenyon’s Christian Josephson, who settled for second with a 1:50.20. Timmy Smith of Denison placed third with a 1:52.98.
Alex Seaver of Kenyon took the day’s first event, the men’s 1650 free with a 15:36.03, beating out the 15:38.94 from Denison’s PJ Fallon and the 15:40.47 from NCAA champion Denison Al Weik. Conrad Wuorinen won the men’s 100 free with a 44.95, the only swimmer under 45 seconds. Behind him was a three-way tie for second, with Kenyon’s Joey Duronio, DePauw’s Alex Alfonso and Denison’s Ryan Fleming all posted times of 45.31.
Kenyon and Denison both broke the three-minute barrier in a very exciting men’s 400 free relay, with Kenyon getting the win with a 2:59.68 to Denison’s 2:59.71. Certainly these two teams will renew the rivalry in this event and others at the NCAA championships. Not far behind was DePauw with a 3:00.61.
Other wins in the women’s meet took place by Molly Willingham in the 200 back as she posted a 2:02.24 to beat the 2:02.49 posted by Wooster’s Courtney McGovern and 2:03.33 by Denison’s Elizabeth Dalziel; Haley Townsend in the 100 free with a 51.01 ahead of the 51.03 by Carolyn Kane of Denison and 51.34 by Jourdan Cline of Kenyon; Natalie Lugg in the 200 breast with a 2:17.40, beating out Katie Kaestner’s 2:18.46 and Marissa Bednarek’s 2:20.13; a close race between Michelle Howell and Angela Newlon in the 200 fly, with Howell winning with a 2:05.13 to Newlon’s 2:05.86.