North Coast Athletic Conference Championships, Day Two

CANTON, Ohio, February 11. AFTER the Big Red pulled out to a 154 point lead over Kenyon on Thursday, the Lords continued a slow climb back into contention on Friday night at the 2011 North Coast Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships from Canton, Ohio.

After the 100 breaststroke, Kenyon found themselves with their first lead of the championship but thanks to a gang of seven Big Red swimmers in the backstroke event, that KC lead would be very short-lived. After two of three days, Denison has totaled 1,171 points while Kenyon has amassed 1,049 points giving DU a 122 point lead heading into Saturday.

While the Big Red tallied three wins on the night, the 100 backstroke was the turning point of the evening for Gregg Parini’s squad. Junior Robert Barry (Richmond, Va./St. Christopher’s School) defended his title successfully and won the event for the third time in his career with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 49.36. That time topped his ‘A’ cut split in Thursday’s 400 medley relay. Following Barry were DU swimmers in second, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and 11th place. Mike Barczak (Beverly Hills, Mich./Brother Rice) was the runner-up in 50.06 which was an ‘A’ cut. Mike DeSantis (Beverly Hills, Mich./Groves) took fourth in 50.70 while Quinn Bartlett (Berwyn, Pa./Conestoga) was fifth (50.96). Kyle and Sean Chabot (Washington, Mich./Stoney Creek) took fifth and sixth, respectively and Matt Edgin (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) placed 11th. Denison’s six swimmers in the top-7 all had either ‘A’ or ‘B’ cuts. After the dust settled, Denison had scored 174 points in the event and had gained 93 points on their rivals from Gambier.

Following the near clean-sweep in the backstroke, Denison’s momentum carried over to the 800 free relay where Spencer Fronk (Cherry Hills Village, Colo./Cherry Creek) swam an impressive 1:40.66 anchor split to pull off the comeback victory over the final 50 yards. The relay was comprised of Dan Thurston (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron), Al Weik (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest), Brad Ratliff (Eldersburg, Md./Century) and Fronk. Their time of 6:46.61 was a ‘B’ cut. It also marked Denison’s third-straight 800 free relay title at the conference championship.

Another DU swimmer who won his third consecutive event title was Thurston in the 400 individual medley. The junior posted a prelim time of 3:58.21 and came back with a 3:58.89 in the finals. Checking in sixth was Jackson Humphrey (Westerville, Ohio/Columbus Academy) in 4:04.64 and Ratliff won the B-final with a time of 4:07.11. Humphrey and Ratliff’s times were both provisional qualifying marks.

In the first event of the night, the 200 medley relay, Barry, Jake Lewing (Yardley, Pa./Pennsbury), Kyle Chabot and Barczak were touched out by 12 hundredths of a second by Kenyon. DU totaled a time of 1:31.39 and Barczak posted a 20.11 ‘A’ cut split while anchoring the freestyle leg.

Lewing came back in the 100 breaststroke for a runner-up finish, and a ‘B’ cut time of 56.99. Andrew Krawchyk (Severna Park, Md./East Chapel Hill [N.C.]) followed in fifth place with 57.57. Wabash College’s Evan Rhinesmith won the event, marking the first NCAC swimming & diving title in Little Giant history.

Another ‘A’ cut was posted by Fronk in the 200 freestyle when he touched in 1:39.69. His classmate, Weik, trailed in third place in 1:41.38 while Joe Katich (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) took fifth (1:43.42) and Merritt Boardman (Burlington, Vt./Rice Memorial) placed eighth in 1:44.81.

Just as they did in 2010, the Big Red women’s swimmers and divers have posted a clean sweep through the first 14 events at the 2011 North Coast Athletic Conference Championship from Canton, Ohio. Denison recorded eight more wins on Friday night to go along with three meet records and two school records. In the process, DU has pulled away from Kenyon College and lead the Ladies by 363 points. Denison has tallied 1,338 points while Kenyon checks in with 975 points.

Denison’s pair of school records were turned in by Emily Schroeder (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) in the 400 IM and Ksenia Golovkina (Newton, Mass./Newton South) in the 100 breaststroke. Both had the pleasure of breaking their own school and meet records in the process. For Schroeder, she posted an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4:22.88 in the 400 IM, to rack-up her sixth NCAC title of her career.

Golovkina continued her dominance at this year’s championship by besting her own meet record twice in one day. She capped off the night with a time of 1:02.91 which will stand in the record books for at least one more year. However, first-year Natalie Lugg (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) proved that she will be a prime candidate to take down Golovkina’s record in 2012 after her time of 1:03.54 in preliminaries. Lugg took second in the finals in 1:03.75 and Brenna Broadus (Charlottesville, Va./Western Albemarle) placed fourth in 1:06.85.

In the women’s three-meter dive, senior Lizzie Litwak (Loudonville, N.Y./Albany Academy for Girls) took home her first NCAC championship in the final conference competition of her career with an 11-dive score of 370.45. Just as they did in the one-meter dive, Denison would take the top-3 spots in the three-meter dive as Dallas Manson (Torrington, Conn./Torrington) placed second, just 1.25 points behind Litwak. Following in third was first-year Rachel Keselring (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield).

The lead-off event for DU on Friday was the 200 medley relay which went to the foursome of Maddie Armitage (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington), Golovkina, Lauren Wine (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) and Morgan Nuess (Kettering, Ohio/Dayton Christian) in 1:42.74. That time was an A-cut and the victory moved Golovkina past Kristen Hohl and Anna Tuttle and into second-place on Denison’s all-time list of total conference championships. After her two victories this evening, Golovkina now has 13 career NCAC wins.

Litwak wasn’t the only DU athlete to earn her first individual NCAC title on Friday. Lindsay Zeberlein (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Mountain Vista) won the 100 backstroke in 56.55 as four Denison swimmers locked down the top five spots. Trailing in third place was Cari Martin (Beavercreek, Ohio/Beavercreek) while Sarah Yu (Durham, N.C./Chapel Hill) and Armitage took fourth and fifth, respectively.

In the 200 freestyle, Alyssa Swanson (Aurora, Colo./Regis Jesuit) missed her season-best time by just one one-hundreth of a second but still won the event with a time of 1:50.18. That marked the second-straight win for Swanson in the 200 free.

Denison’s depth was on full display in both the 200 free and 100 fly as Marit Wangstad (Wayzata, Minn./The Blake School), Hilary Callen (Oswego, N.Y./Oswego) and Tully Bradford (Lakeside Park, Ky./Notre Dame Academy) held down positions three through five in the 200 free. All three swimmers posted ‘B’ cut times.

In the 100 butterfly, Broadus picked up her second win of the championship, touching in 56.79. Laurel Brabson (Boonsboro, Md./Boonsboro) placed second in 56.87 and Wine took third in 56.98. Fourth and fifth places went to Lianne McCluskey (Hope, Maine/Camden Hills Regional) and Victoria Masney (West Vancouver, British Columbia/Mulgrave) and eighth was held down by Nuess. Overall, DU totaled 160 points in the 100 fly while gaining 125 points on Kenyon.

Denison’s night would be capped off with the program’s third consecutive 800 free relay championship as Swanson, Wangstad, Schroeder and Callen cruised to a new meet record and an ‘A’ cut. Swanson’s 1:50.78 lead-off split set the tone for the 8-second victory.

No women’s team in the history of the NCAC Swimming & Diving Championship have won all 20 events in the same year. Denison came close last year with 19 victories. They will return to C.T. Branin Natatorium on Saturday at 10 a.m. ready to take another shot at history.

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