Division III Preview: Emory Takes on Defending DII NCAA Champions, Queens

Photo Courtesy: Emory Athletics

Action in Division III is heating up, with a few eager teams getting things rolling already, and the rest coming in the next few weeks. This weekend Emory and Johns Hopkins take on significant competition while Kenyon will get back to racing in a relay meet.

Divisional Duel

The biggest meet of the weekend will face the defending Division III champion women, Emory, against Division II’s best, Queens. The Queens men are also defending National title holders, while the Eagle men were runner ups last year. At last year’s cross-division dual, Queens came out on top.

This will be the first significant test for Emory, after getting their season warmed up against Birmingham Southern last weekend. Defending distance double National champ Thomas Gordon has already been quick this fall, posting a 9:29.93 and 4:37.73 at the team’s Intrasquad meet. He’s unlikely to fill the hole left by sprinter Oliver Smith, however.

The Eagle women are in search of replacements for the host of talent they graduated last year, from backstroker Cindy Cheng to distance ace Rebecca Upton to the versatile Ming-Fen Ong.

Hopping In With Division I Competition

Without a conference championship, Johns Hopkins was able to get their season rolling a little earlier than most. After splitting with UMBC and Delaware, the Blue Jays have another huge weekend ahead. In just mid-October they’re taking on more Division I talent: racing William and Mary, Navy, and Towson Friday night, before diving in against Bucknell on Saturday.

So far freshman are making an impact for the Blue Jays, with Noah Corbitt (1:40.91) and Collin Hughes (1:41.99) among the top three nationally in the 200 free, while defending National Champion, junior Brandon Fabian has gone a 1:44.74. Freshman Sydney Okubo has already been 2:09.48 in the 200 IM, followed closely by junior teammate Michelle Wang (2:10.54). Okubo also has a nation leading 2:05.25 200 backstroke.

Kenyon Relays

The Kenyon Ladies look strong again this year, featuring three of the nation’s top eight returning National scorers. This weekend will be our first look at the new talent in Gambier. Will it be enough to help the likes of Hannah Orbach-Mandel, Crile Hart, Kendall Vanderhoof, and Delaney Ambrosen chase down Emory in March?

The Lords lacked the top end talent last year, and relied on depth to lift them to a third place finish at NCAAs. This weekend we’ll see which new swimmers are ready to step in to fill the gaps, and which returners may be ready to step up this year.

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