NCAA Division III Preview: D-III Teams Face Off Against D-I Squads

PHOENIX, Arizona, January 24. DIVISION III powerhouses Denison, Emory, MIT, Williams and Amherst will take to the pool beginning this evening in one of the few remaining dual meet weekends of the season. Here’s a closer look at each of their meets.

MIT vs. Williams; Amherst vs. MIT

Three top-10 teams in Division III will face off against one another this weekend, as MIT travels to Williams tonight then hosts Amherst tomorrow. All three teams are ranked in the top nine in Division III by Collegeswimming.com: Williams is currently fourth for both men and women, Amherst is fifth on the women’s side and sixth on the men’s, and MIT is fifth in the men’s rankings and ninth in the women’s.

As far as the men’s dual meets are concerned, MIT may be the strongest of the three teams on paper, with more swimmers ranked in the top 10 in Division III than Amherst or Williams. Austin Fathman (50 and 100 free), Bradley Mattix (100 and 200 back), Bradford Jokubaitis (200 back), Sean Corcoran (100 fly) and Luke Schleuter (200 fly) are all in the top 10 in their respective events, with no Williams or Amherst swimmers ahead of them. The 1000 free is the only event in which a Williams or Amherst swimmer are ranked higher, as Williams’ Christian Gronbeck is sixth with a 9:36.40. However, it takes more than a few event wins to win a dual meet; Amherst and Williams will have to rely on their depth to top MIT this weekend.

The women’s meet between MIT and Williams should be very evenly matched; both schools have a couple of swimmers capable of winning several events, and none of them overlap. Williams will look to distance specialists Sarah Thompson (1000 free) and

Megan Pierce (1000 free, 1650 free, 100 fly and 400 IM) for big points, while MIT will count on sprint free and backstroke specialists Veronika Jedryka (50 and 100 free, 100 and 200 back) and Christy Rogers (50 free, 100 and 200 back) for some 1-2 finishes and strong relay swims.

Emory vs. Alabama 

After falling to another Division I opponent in Georgia Tech last weekend, Emory will take on Alabama tomorrow in Tuscaloosa. After getting pummeled by the Crimson Tide two years ago in the teams’ first-ever meeting, the Eagles will look to put up a better showing this time around. The Eagles may not have the fastest swimmer in every event, but they’re depth is seriously impressive; Emory swimmers are all over the Division III top times in every event for both men and women.

Emory and Alabama match up fairly well in a several events on the women’s side. The sprint freestyle events will be interesting, as both Emory and Alabama have two swimmers in the 23-mid range in the 50 free and two in the 51-second range in the 100. Emory has three swimmers with 1:51s in the 200 free, which could be a huge point swing. Both schools have strong backstrokers and breaststrokers as well, but Alabama will have a huge edge in fly with Kristel Vourna, who is more than three and a half seconds faster than Emory’s Nina Zook. The Alabama men look to have slightly less depth than the Emory men in a few events, namely the sprint freestyles, while Emory should make a big statement in the backstroke events with Ross Spock, Jared Scheuer and Colin Heil.

Denison vs. Carnegie Mellon; Denison vs. Michigan State

For the third weekend in a row, Denison will face two opponents as the team fields split squads against multiple teams. On Saturday, half the squad will travel to Carnegie Mellon, while the other half will take on Michigan State in East Lansing. The Denison men are 2-2 in their split squad meets so far, beating Grove City and Wittenberg and falling to Pittsburgh and Eastern Michigan. The women’s team has beaten Wittenberg and Grove City and dropped their meets to Eastern Michigan, Ohio, Pittsburgh and James Madison.

The Denison women will look to several swimmers to post big points this weekend. Freshman Carolyn Kane has posted the fourth-best 50 free time in the country this year at 23.34, while her 100 free is sixth at 51.14. Campbell Costley and Taylor Johns will provide a dangerous 1-2 punch in the women’s distance events as well.

The Denison men will count on strong performances from their 200 freestyle group, as Carlos Madel has the top time in Division III and teammates Sean Chabot, Joe Brunk and Spencer Fronk sit in third, fourth and eighth. Junior Damon Rosenburg, who last semester set a Division III record in the men’s 100 breast, will be a huge boost on the medley relay and both breast events.

 

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Author: Emily Sampl

Emily Sampl, an editorial assistant for Swimming World Magazine, is a free-lance writer for USA Swimming and an assistant coach at Boulder High School and Boulder Elks Swim Team in Colorado.

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