Division II Meet Preview: Last Weekend Of Conference Championships

Photo Courtesy: Justin Casterline

This is the final week of conference championships before teams will buckle down for the last stretch before NCAA’s. Check out our summaries of some of the swimmers to watch for in each of the conferences that are left in the

Sunshine State Conference

2016 Champions: Florida Southern (M), Florida Southern (W)

Teams: Nova Southeastern, Florida Southern, Tampa, Florida Tech, Saint Leo, Rollins

Swimmers to Watch:

Alex Lobanov – This junior from Nova Southeastern has totally changed the landscape of breaststroke in Division II swimming. Similar to what Emory senior Andrew Wilson has done at the Division III level, Lobanov’s Division II NCAA breaststroke records in the 100 (51.63) and 200 (1:51.71) put him in the conversation with the top breaststrokers in the country, not just within Division II. While the junior was a bit off of those times at NCAA’s last year, he had a great mid-season meet where he hit two A cuts in the 100 (52.40) and 200 (1:55.88). Those times are the fastest Lobanov has been in either of those events in the fall semester, and where he is at conference may indicate whether he is ready to take his NCAA records even further.

Emma Wahlstrom This senior from Nova Southeastern is putting together an impressive year, posting some huge best times at the 2016 Spartan Invite in her best events. The senior, who was third in the 200 free at 2016 NCAA’s, dropped about a second off her lifetime best this fall to win the event in 1:46.43. More impressive, however, were her swims in the 500 free and 200 back, where she dropped 7 and 4 seconds respectively to go 4:47.05 and 1:57.60. With huge drops already this season expect this senior to have the momentum to finish her final conference meet with a bang before heading to NCAA’s.

Victor Furtado – Furtado has burst onto the scene during his sophomore year at Florida Institute of Technology, crushing his career bests at the Panther Invitational to announce himself as a major contender on the conference and NCAA stage. Furtado has already been 20.34 and 43.87 this season in the sprint freestyle events, leading the 100 free in the conference and sitting fifth nationally. As a freshman he only had one top 8 appearance in the 100 fly, but could challenge for top three in at least three individual events this year.

Meet Website

New South Conference Championships

2016 Champions: Delta State University (M), University of West Florida (W)

Teams: Lindenwood, Delta State, Henderson State, Saint Cloud, Texas-Permian Basin, Ouachita Baptist

Swimmers to Watch:

Theresa Michalak This versatile West Florida junior is a threat in multiple individual events at the conference level. Last year she won four individual events, including the 200 IM (1:59.82), 100 fly (53.72), 200 fly (2:02.05), and 100 IM (54.80). That line-up didn’t include the event she won at NCAA’s, the 100 breaststroke, and she could also challenge for individual titles in the 50 free, 100 free, or 100 backstroke. The junior has already been faster than her 2016 winning time in the 100 breaststroke this year (1:00.62) and has the potential to be a part of one of the fastest 100 breaststroke finals in Division II NCAA history if she chooses to repeat her title.

Mattia Schirru This Delta State University sophomore won three individual conference titles last year in the 50 (20.34), 200 (1:37.87), and 100 (43.73) freestyles and looks ready to defend those titles this week. The sophomore was a full second faster in his 100 freestyle at at mid-season, posting a 43.35 that was just off his 43.11 lifetime best from NCAA’s last year. That currently puts him second in the country, and last year he recorded lifetime bests at the conference meet last year.

Alexander Peach The one challenger to Nova’s Anton Lobanov at the end of the year could be this senior from Delta State University. Peach recorded a lifetime best 1:54.09 in the 200 breast last year at 2016 NCAA’s to finish second behind Lobanov, and has already been 1:55.30 this season to hold the fastest time in the country heading into championships. Peach didn’t swim the 200 breast at the conference meet last year and was only third in the 100 breast at 54.99, and the senior typically doesn’t put up big swims outside of shave and taper meets. If Peach is anywhere near his season-bests at the conference meet, expect him to be able to challenge for individual titles at NCAA’s in March.

Meet Website

Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships

2016 Champions: West Chester (M), West Chester (W)

Teams: West Chester, Bloomsburg, Clarion, Indiana (PA), Gannon, Shippensburg, Edinboro, California (PA), Lock Haven, Kutztown, Mansfield, Millersville, East Stroudsburg

Swimmers to Watch:

Victor Polyakov West Chester senior Victor Polyakov will be one to watch this week. The senior took home four individual wins at the conference meet last year, including the 200 IM (1:46.48), the 200 free (1:37.61), the 500 free (4:26.89), and the 1650 free (15:52.22). His freshman year, Polyakov swept the freestyle events at NCAA’s, winning the 200, 500, 1,000, and 1,650 free at the 2014 national meet. Polyakov has been unable to repeat any of those NCAA titles since that year, but has been faster in his freestyle events this year and could be a challenger in any of those events. The senior was the 200 IM champion (1:44.95) at NCAA’s last year, giving him a lot of opportunities to challenge for the top of the podium in multiple events.

Meet Website

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. avatar
    NE10

    I guess the NE-10 conference isn’t good enough to make the list.

Author: James Sica

avatar
James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an assistant coach at CMU in Pittsburgh, PA (2015-2017), a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program (2014-2015) and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program (2012-2014).

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