HOLLAND, Mich., March 8. FOUR in a row and 21 out of 22. That will be the title count for Kenyon after the weekend, provided it defends its throne at the NCAA Division III Women's Championships. The meet starts Thursday at the Holland Community Aquatic Center in Michigan.
Kenyon will face challenges from Emory, Denison and Williams. Those three schools notched the second through fourth slots in last year's team standings.
The Kenyon women do not return any individual champions, but Jessica Connors is one of the nation's top breaststrokers and Rebecca Allison and Danielle Korman are also major scoring threats. Rachel Smith handles the distance events. Last year, Kenyon won all five relays.
Emory is the only school in the competition that qualified the maximum 18 competitors and will turn to Leigh Campbell, the top seed in the 1,650 free, and its top-ranked 800 freestyle relay. Denison, meanwhile, should benefit from the contributions of Sarah Peck in the 100 and 200 freestyles.
Carleton College's Marie Marsmann enters the meet as the Division III record-holder in the 50, 100 and 200 free events. Marsman is the top seed in the 50 and 100 disciplines and sits third in the 200 free.
The 100 breaststroke could emerge as the race of the weekend as Williams' Lindsay Payne and Washington & Jefferson's Kaitlyn Orstein are scheduled to clash. Payne set an NCAA record in February and Orstein is a freshman transfer from Tennessee who set the Division III record in the 200 I.M. last month. Orstein is the top seed in 200 I.M. and 400 I.M.