PHOENIX, Arizona, March 11. THE Drury Panthers are back on the top of the podium after dominating performances at the Division II NCAA swimming and diving championships. The men won their ninth consecutive team title, while the women reclaimed the top trophy after losing it to Wayne State last year by one point. Surprisingly, the Drury women did not win a single individual event, and their only relay win came in the last event, the 400 free relay.
Let's get you caught up on the highlights from Friday's and Saturday's competition. Three Division II records were broken in the final two days of competition. Mariya Chekanovych of Simon Fraser won the 100 breast over defending champ Kayla Scott with a division record 1:01.50 to give the Canadian university its first NCAA championship in its first season in Division II. Eetu Karvonen of Grand Canyon barely held off a fast-charging Nick Korth from UC-San Diego to win the 200 breast, just getting under the division record of 1:54.67 with a 1:54.57. And after Bridgeport broke the NCAA record in the men's 400 free relay in prelims with a 2:56.39, Drury took that record away in finals with a 2:55.26, beating Bridgeport by .26.
Probably the performer of the meet should be Drury's Wai Ting Yu, who swam with a torn ACL, yet managed to place second in the 100 free and fifth in the 50 free. She also helped Drury win the 400 free relay to close the meet.
Grand Canyon and Incarnate Word closed out their brief but impressive Division II stints with team trophies. Grand Canyon placed fourth in the men's division, while Incarnate Word was third in the men's race and fourth in the women's race. Both schools will begin their four-year transition to Division I starting in the fall.
You can read our recaps of the meet on swimmingworld.com, and watch video interviews with some of the meet's top swimmers on swimmingworld.tv.
Indian River, as expected, won the national junior college championships last week, with Bradley Tandy ending his junior college career with a 19.51 win in the 50 free and 43.46 in the 100 free, slower than he swam last year, but still impressive. He'll attend the University of Arizona starting in the fall. But the bigger news was the final competition for Dayton State College, as their swimming program was cut earlier this year. Ginny Grams gave Dayton State a great sendoff with a win and meet record in the 1650 freestyle with a 16:45.43. That time broke a 27-year-old record.
Over in Leeds, England, Ranomi Kromowidjojo kept up her dominance in the sprint freestyles with a win in the 50 free on Sunday with a 24.56 over an impressive field that included Olympians Fran Halsall, Jeanette Ottesen, Femke Heemskerk and Natalie Coughlin. Anthony Ervin is getting faster in the 100 freestyle, winning that event with a 49.21 after going 49.8 at the Orlando Grand prix last month. Though the British International had separated the competition into open and junior categories, 16-year-old Ruta Meilutyte was the only one able to swim in the open competition and win, taking the 50 and 100 breaststrokes. We've got a full recap of all the races from Leeds on swimmingworld.com.
Saline High School is celebrating a national high school record, as the Hornets swam a 1:30.01 in the 200 medley relay finals at the Michigan high school championships on Saturday. The team of David Boland, Josh Ehrman, Adam Whitener and Michael Bundas broke it first in Friday's prelims with a 1:30.26, taking down the tough public school record of 1:30.27 set by Hershey High School in 2010, a team that included David Nolan in his amazing record-setting weekend. The overall national high school record of 1:28.02 by the Bolles School is still very much intact.
The Laureus Awards will be announced later today in Rio de Janeiro, and Michael Phelps will be there to see if he wins World Sportsman of the Year. Phelps has never won a Laureus Award, even after his eight gold medal performance at the Beijing Olympics. While he's down there, he put on a clinic for some young swimmers, accompanied by Chad le Clos, the man who took him down in London in the 200 fly. Le Clos isn't nominated for anything, but could find himself on the shortlist in a year or two. Missy Franklin is nominated for World Sportswoman of the Year, but will not be attending tonight's ceremony. Ye Shiwen and Yannick Agnel are other swimmers nominated for Laureus Awards. Both are up for Breakthrough of the Year. And Daniel Dias could get the biggest cheers if he wins Disabled Athlete of the Year. He's from Brazil, one of two nominees from the host country. We'll let you know who wins what on swimmingworld.com.