Division II Weekly Recap: Queens Answer Drury and UIndy’s Call

Photo Courtesy: Queens Athletics

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The busiest weekend in swimming saw plenty of fast swimming across Division II. Reigning national champions Queens hosted its Bluegrass Mountain Conference and came away victorious over in-state rival Wingate. Queens, UC San Diego and California Baptist all swept their conference meets and Wayne State women and Grand Valley State men won the GLIAC championships over the weekend.

Queens put together quite the meet as they put up times that ranked them at number one in the nation in a lot of events. The biggest swim came Friday night with Paul Pijulet breaking the NCAA record in the 100 back at 46.15. Pijulet also won the 100 fly (45.95) and the 200 back (1:43.62) on the weekend. Pijulet was also a member of the winning 800 free relay (6:29.98), 400 medley relay (3:09.41), 200 free relay (1:18.84) and 400 free relay (2:53.46).

Pijulet and Marius Kusch have been spectacular all season for the Royals and were on their game this weekend. Kusch won the 200 IM (1:46.48), 200 free (1:34.58) and was second in the 200 fly (1:45.98) behind teammate Zach Bunner (1:45.25). Queens also got wins on the weekend from Nick Arakelian in the 400 IM (3:49.72), 100 breast (53.33) and the 200 breast (1:56.18).

The aforementioned three swimmers for Queens have been huge all season but freshman Hendrik Faber has also emerged as a major threat for the team as he swam the fastest time in Division II on the weekend in the 500 (4:25.07) and the 1000 (9:14.13). Faber also won the 1650 (15:36.25) but was beat by Oklahoma Baptist’s Marti Penedes (15:31.97), who won the RMAC title in Texas.

The RMAC meet was won by California Baptist as them and Oklahoma Baptist were the class of the championships. Oklahoma’s star senior David Lambert put together a solid meet with a 19.58 in the 50 and anchored the winning 200 free (19.19) and medley (19.43) relays that were 1:18.31 and 1:27.83 respectively. Lambert was beat though in the 100 free by teammate JP Goyeche (43.81) to Lambert’s 44.04. Oklahoma Baptist won the 400 medley relay (3:14.44) and was second in the 400 free relay (2:58.09) to California Baptist (2:57.66).

California Baptist got wins on the weekend from Robert Griffith in the 1000 (9:15.87), Justin Quiroga in the 200 IM (1:47.97) and 200 fly (1:47.65), Brandon Schuster in the 400 IM (3:51.86), Jerome Heidrich in the 200 free (1:37.77), Jacob Leahy in the 100 (48.27) and 200 back (1:46.46) and Eric Tolman in the 200 breast (1:56.56).

California Baptist also won the 800 free relay (6:33.23) over the weekend as their depth got them past Oklahoma Baptist in the championships.

There were two other major Division II conference meets on the weekend with UC San Diego winning the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference Championships and Grand Valley State winning the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Meet.

UC San Diego was highlighted by Zack Reuter in the 400 IM (3:56.59) and 1650 (15:56.93), Kevin Fink in the 500 (4:30.29), Edgar Chin in the 100 breast (54.49), Kevin Wylder in the 200 fly (1:47.43), Tenny Chong in the 200 back (1:47.31) and Garrett Tse in the 200 breast (2:00.82). They used their depth to win on the last day as it was a tight team race between them and Fresno Pacific.

Grand Valley also used their depth to win the GLIAC meet as they only got wins from Marius Mikalauskas in the 100 breast (53.97) and the 200 breast (1:56.63). They won the meet also with two relay wins with the 200 (1:20.31) and the 400 free relays (2:58.32).

The Queens women put together a pretty strong performance at the Bluegrass Conference meet with McKenzie Stevens and Kyrie Dobson providing a boat load of points. Stevens won the 200 IM (2:00.49), 200 free (1:47.65) and the 200 fly (1:57.62) as she posted the fastest time in conference meets so far in all three events.

The Royals got good swims out of Dobson in the 50 (22.87) as well as the four relays she was on. She anchored the 200 medley relay (22.13) that won in a 1:38.49, as well as the 400 medley (49.62) (3:39.49). She swam a 22.27 relay split in the 200 free relay and split 49.87 in the 400 free relay that won in 1:30.72 and 3:20.45. The 200 free relay of Lara Marshall (23.31), Dobson (22.27), Wanda Dollmayer (22.31) and Shelly Prayson (22.83) just narrowly missed the NCAA record of 1:30.57 that Drury holds.

Queens also had good swims out of Francesca Bains in the 1650 (16:34.28) and Georgia Da Cruz in the 100 fly (53.27) that each were the fastest time on the weekend.

The California schools California Baptist and Fresno Pacific compete in separate conferences, but still put up really good swims on the women’s side. UC San Diego won the PCSC meet over Fresno Pacific, but the Sunbirds put on a good show with Laura Fornshell winning the 1000 (9:54.39), the 1650 (16:34.31) and the 500 (4:49.27) as she is a national title favorite in all three events as she has the fastest time in the 500 and 1000 so far in the Division II conference meets.

The Sunbirds also got wins from Olga Tovstogan in the 100 breast (1:01.50) and Bavi Basra in the 400 IM (4:21.52) and the 200 fly (2:03.37). But in the end, UC San Diego won with its impressive depth to win the conference title on the last day in a close meet.

Alexandra Rodman won the 200 back (2:00.68) and 100 back (56.09) and Ciara Franke won the 200 free (1:49.99) for the only wins at the meet for the team. Their relays though came up big with their 200 medley (1:41.60), 200 free relay (1:33.85) and 800 free relays (7:23.28) winning conference titles for the team.

Moving to Texas, the California Baptist women won the RMAC title led by Sofia Petrenko and Buse Topcu. Petrenko won the 400 IM (4:20.45) and the 200 fly (2:00.44) while Topcu won the 1000 (9:59.67), 500 (4:51.00) and the 1650 (16:34.92). The team also won the 800 free relay at 7:27.22 with Christie Halverson (1:52.56), Topcu (1:52.22), Alex Wolf (1:51.64) and Petrenko (1:50.80).

At the same RMAC meet, Western State junior Miranda Yarnell had a successful meet with wins in the 50 (22.88), 200 free (1:49.28) and 100 (49.20) as she put herself in national title talks with those swims this weekend.

Oklahoma Baptist’s Celina Marquez also put up the nation’s fastest 100 back (53.70) on the weekend with her swim there. She also collected wins in the 200 back (1:58.14) and the 100 fly (53.95) for Oklahoma Baptist.

Other solid swims on the weekend came from Northern Michigan’s Rachel Helm in the 200 back (1:56.38), Cal State East Bay’s Claire Beaty in the 200 breast (2:13.57) and 200 IM (2:01.41), Carson Newman’s Maggie Melhorn in the 200 breast (2:13.52), Wingate’s Alex Divelbiss in the 100 free (49.93) and Biola’s Lisa Tixier in the 50 (22.98).