2019 NCAA Division III Preview: Top Individual Men’s Scorers

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Based on seeds in the psych sheet, the Denison men, like their women, have two of the top five projected individual scorers for the 2019 NCAA Division III Championships. While none of these men will singlehandedly win a team title, their impact will likely be significant on their team’s efforts.

Men’s Psych Sheet

1. Matt Hedman- Denison, Senior

500 Free- 1st (4:26.22), 400 IM- 2nd (3:53.56), 1650 Free- 1st (15:18.98)

Matt Hedman opened the season in mid-October leading the country in the mile (15:33.95 on October 13) and hasn’t looked back since. At the Denison Invite in December he touched in 15:18.98, his current NCAA seed, and at the time still 15 seconds faster than the next best miler in the nation.

Conference meets closed the gap behind Hedman to six seconds, but Hedman still has to be the favorite. He’s just a second slower than he went at NCAAs last year, and is only three seconds slower than Tom Gordon‘s winning time. Gordon has been a bit off all year, leaving room for Hedman to win in his senior year.

In the 500 free Hedman is a full second faster than the second seed, though eight men have a time in the 4:27s, leaving Hedman a bit more vulnerable.

In a 400 IM that is far deeper than last year (where Hedman touched fourth), he’s the second seed (and one of four Denison men in the top six).

2. Collin Miller- University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Junior

200 IM- 4th (1:48.76), 100 Breast- 1st (53.62), 100 Free- 3rd (43.95)

Collin Miller is a man who has flown under the radar in season. As of January 1st he had only the 43rd fastest 100 breaststroke time in Division III (56.99). He emerged from Conference Championships with the time to beat.

His prospects did not look much brighter in any other event as of mid-season. In January he sat 68th in the 100 free and a more promising 28th in the 200 IM.

Miller’s high seeds do not come as a total surprise though, after last year when he finished fourth in the 200 IM (1:48.43), 14th in the 100 free (44.96), and was DQed in the 100 breast Championship final with what would have been the third best time.

That built on a freshman year where Miller touched 10th in the 200 IM (1:49.28), ninth in the 100 breast (54.56), and 15th in the 100 free (45.27).

His seeds and entry times suggest Miller is getting faster with each passing year and could be a high scorer in his junior campaign.

2. Bebe Wang- Denison, Junior

200 IM- 1st (1:47.85), 400 IM- 4th (3:54.79), 200 Back- 3rd (1:45.47)

Last year Bebe Wang finished second in the 400 IM, a whole five seconds faster than his current seed. If he was holding back in season, that would be good news for the Big Red.

The 200 backstroke defending National Champion could have his work cut out for him this year. Last year Wang won the event in 1:45.37, just one tenth faster than his current third seed. This year’s top qualifier is Chicago’s Albert Litschgi, who has taken over a second off his best time this year to take the top seed in 1:45.07.

Based on the psych sheet the 200 IM could have the most potential for Wang, where he’s seeded first, with a time slower than he went for bronze last year. If he can get the meet rolling with a win on night one (in the event immediately following Hedman’s 500 free), that could be huge for Denison’s momentum for the week.

4. Bouke Edskes- MIT, Junior

200 IM- 5th (1:48.94), 100 Fly- 3rd (48.08), 200 Fly- 6th (1:48.26)

Bouke Edskes had a stellar freshman year in 2017, with three Championship finals appearances, and a key role on relays for the Engineers. He was second in the 200 fly in 1:45.69, nearly four seconds faster than he entered the meet. That capped a week where Edskes was also runner up in the 100 fly (47.41) and fifth in the 200 IM (1:47.15).

Last year Edskes scored in the 200 IM with a 10th place 1:49.30 and added a 10th place 200 fly (1:48.80). He traded out the 100 fly for the 400 IM, where he was third in 3:52.03. This year Edskes is returning to his freshman year lineup, with seed times faster than what he posted last year, and three events with Championship final potential. Given that the 400 IM is a very strong event this year, Edskes likely has more scoring potential in the 100 fly.

4. David Fitch- Kenyon, Sophomore

50 Free- 9th (20.30), 100 Fly- 1st (47.74), 100 Back- 2nd (47.89)

The only underclassmen in the top five, David Fitch is a threat for a National Title in two events. Last year he finished fourth in the 100 fly, and now arrives at his second National meet with a time six tenths faster than he went in 2018. Seeded immediately behind Fitch is Johns Hopkins’ Brandon Fabian, who has chosen the 100 free, in place of trying to defend his 200 free national title. Fabian could have room to drop as he continues racing into uncharted waters.

Fitch has the potential to really outscore his freshman year self, after he touched 18th in the 50 free, out of scoring last year, but this year he is almost three tenths faster. His bigger chance to move is in the 100 back, where a solid legal swim should put him in scoring territory. Last year he was disqualified in prelims with what would have been the eighth seeded time for finals (49.01).

Who else?

In October Swimming World took a look at the top 10 returning point scorers. Based on their NCAA entry times, they’re not in the mix yet, but their best swims could still be in front of them…

Emory’s Tom Gordon is the number one returning scorer this year. While he may not have matched his in-season times from years past (He did not swim at the Denison Invite mid-season), this is his finale, back in his home state, so he’s likely ready to empty the tank and put it all on the line here. Even if he can’t outrace Hedman, Gordon should still put up some big points for the Eagles.

Johns Hopkins will hope for big swims from upperclassmen Emilie Kuyl and Fabian. Kuyl is 21st in the 200 IM, sixth in the 100 back and 11th in the 200 back. The 200 back is a faster event than last year, as Kuyl is already seeded faster than the time that brought him back in the Championship final in 2018. In the 200 IM and 100 back he’ll need some decent drops to move back into Championship scoring spots.

Fabian may not score as much in the 100 fly as he did winning the 200 free last year, but he is 15th seed in the 50 and fifth in the 100 free. He’ll need a big 50 drop to match his seventh place 500 free points from last year, but his 100 free seed time puts him well ahead of his 10th place finish last year.

Emory’s Zachary Lorson is the freshman most likely to make his way onto the list of top scorers. All three of his individual events are seeded in scoring range, including a top seeded 400 IM.