By Cathleen Pruden, Swimming World College Intern
The Denison men and women will look to capture their eighth straight North Coast Athletic Conference Championships beginning with men’s three meter diving Wednesday night. Swimming and diving action will continue with prelims and finals Thursday through Saturday. In 2015, the Denison women scored 1,930 points while Kenyon finished runner up with 1,740. On the men’s side, the Big Red totaled 1,966.5 points, ahead of the Lords’ 1,758.5. The 2016 psych sheet shows some more tight competition at this year’s meet.
Last year’s Swimmer of the Year, Campbell Costley, appears primed for success again this year. The distance events have been very close in recent years, and this season is no different. The Denison junior is the top seed in the 500 freestyle (4:50.51), less than a second off her own meet record, and is followed closely by DePauw’s Angela Newlon (4:50.58). In the 1650, Costley is seeded third (16:53.21), behind teammate Taylor Johns (16:45.75) and impressive Kenyon freshman Marysol Arce (16:40.35). Arce is also the top seed (4:21.36) in the 400 IM, ahead of Newlon (4:22.42), teammate Mariah Williamson (4:26.67), and Denison’s Halli Garza (4:28.36), last season’s Newcomer of the Year.
In the race for the team title, the 200 IM could be important, as Denison and Kenyon each have five of the top 11 seeds. The sprinting prowess of these two teams is also impressive. In the 50 freestyle, Denison junior Carolyn Kane is seeded first (23.17) followed by Kenyon’s Hannah Lobb (23.47). The Big Red are seeded 1-3-4-8-9, while the Ladies hold places 2-5-6-7 in the event. Denison and Kenyon hold the top two spots in each of the five relays. With last year’s meet coming down to under 200 points and scoring extending through 27th place, action looks to be exciting again this year.
Aaron Saccurato, 2015’s Newcomer of the Year, will be important for the Big Red again this championships. The sophomore is the top seed in the 1650 (15:49.40), just ahead of teammate Ben Burdick (15:55.13) and Kenyon’s David Perez (15:55.40). In the 500 freestyle, only five seconds separate the top nine seeds, so times should be quick in the morning as swimmers seek spots in the championship final. The 200 freestyle is another incredibly deep event, as the top 13 seeds have all posted NCAA B cuts this season. The Big Red hold the top four spots: Ryan Fleming (1:39.09), Joe Brunk (1:39.30), Max Howes (1:39.39), and Saccurato (1:39.54). These men could combine for a monstrous 800 freestyle relay.
Depauw’s Blake Lehmann is a multiple event top seed in his final NCAC championship. The senior is tied for the top seed in the 50 freestyle (20.42) with Kenyon’s Ryan Funk. Lehmann leads the way in the 100 butterfly (48.64), just ahead of Funk (48.74). In the 200 breaststroke, the top eight swimmers have posted NCAA B cuts, lead by Kenyon’s Danny Jurgens (2:02.64). The event’s top nine also includes two non-Denison or Kenyon swimmers: Wabash’s Zechariah Banks and DePauw’s Sam McManus, potentially giving another school the chance to break in and take an individual title.
The full Psych Sheet can be found here: 2016 North Coast Athletic Conference: Psych Sheet – Results