GAMBIER, Ohio, March 10. IN the history of women's National Collegiate Athletic Association competition, no institution has as many team and individual national titles as the Kenyon College women's swimming team.
The Ladies have won 18 NCAA Division III national championships and a combined total of 187 individual and relay national titles.
Thursday, the Ladies will begin the task of trying to add to those record-setting totals as they start competition in the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championship at Emory University in Atlanta.
Last season, the Ladies captured their 18th title by holding off Denison and Emory universities. Kenyon won seven of the 20 events and racked up 577 points. Denison, the 2001 national champions, finished second with 418 points and Emory was third with 368 points.
Four of the Ladies' victories in the 2002 Championship came in relay events, while Beth Galloway, Agnese Ozolina and Ashley Rowatt accounted for the other three titles. Galloway won the 100-yard backstroke in an NCAA Div. III record time of 55.70. Ozolina won the 200-yard individual medley and Rowatt won the 400-yard individual medley. All three return for this season's championship.
The Ladies have a total of 17 swimmers who qualified for the national meet. Denison has eight swimmers making the trip and Emory leads the way with a championship roster of 18 swimmers.
Galloway, a junior, has won a total of two individual and four relay national titles. She has also earned All-American status in all 14 national events that she competed in over the last two seasons. Only four other women in Kenyon history have collected the maximum 28 career All-American certificates in swimming. Additionally, Galloway currently holds this season's fastest Division III times in the 50-yard freestyle (23.09) and the 100-yard backstroke (56.29).
Ozolina, also a junior, won five national titles last season for the Ladies. The two-time Olympic qualifier from Latvia was a part of all four winning Kenyon relay teams and she also won the 200-yard individual medley. Ozolina just missed in two other events as she took a pair of second-place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle. Going into this year's championship, she holds this season's Division III top times in the 100-yard freestyle (50.95), the 200-yard freestyle (1:52.29) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:06.47).
Rowatt, who is one of seven seniors on the Ladies' championship roster, returns to defend her title in the 400-yard individual medley. She's a nine-time All-American swimmer who was also a part of Kenyon's winning 800-yard freestyle relay team last season. In addition to those titles, Rowatt also was national champion in the 200-yard individual medley in the 2000 season.
The Ladies will also rely on the talents of sophomore Emelyne Dengler and seniors Erinn Hurley and Betsy Garratt. Garratt owns 17 All-American awards in her collegiate career and also holds five relay titles, including three from the 2002 season. Dengler was a part of three winning relay teams last season and Hurley was a part of two.
Kate Holland, Kristin Landry and Hillary Strong will lead the Ladies in distance events, while freshman Rachel Smith and Jane Alexander could make a huge impact in their NCAA Championship debuts.
The championship is a three-day event that will start on Thursday and end on Saturday. Preliminary sessions will begin at 11 a.m. and final sessions will start at 6:30 p.m. each day.