Division III Preview: The NESCAC is Back; Round One of Mid-Season Invites

Photo Courtesy: Cathleen Pruden

The majority of Division III powers are waiting until after Thanksgiving to attend mid-season invites, but a few are racing invites this weekend. There’s also a significant number of dual meets this weekend, including the return to competition for the NESCAC.

The NESCAC’s Back

The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) starts their meet schedule this weekend. This will be the first look at the freshman class in one of Division III’s stronger conferences.

Tufts (#15 women/#8 men) will travel to Middlebury on Sunday. Two years ago that meet came down to the final relay for the women. Last year was very close again, with the Jumbos beating the Panthers by 18, up from 12 points the year before. With a talented freshman class, Tufts is likely to win this one by a more sizable margin this year. Middlebury will be coming off a meet at Connecticut College on Saturday.

Bowdoin (#19 women) will welcome a pair of NEWMAC teams- MIT (#6 women/#4 men) and WPI- to Brunswick on Saturday. Their cross-state rivals Bates (#24 women) will head to Wesleyan to race the Cardinals and the Trinity Bantams.

The Amherst Mammoths (#9 women/#15 men) open their season at Colby on Saturday and follow that up with another meet at Wesleyan on Monday.

Williams (#4 women/#14 men) will head to Union College on Saturday. The Eph women look to fill the hole left by the graduation of Emma Wadell, while the men look to return to championship winning form after Tufts pulled off a conference championship upset last February.

Blue Jays and Violets

Last fall Johns Hopkins swam NYU in a double dual with TCNJ, where the NYU men won 181 to 111, but the Blue Jay women beat NYU 146 to 116. This weekend the two teams will simply go head to head.

Hopkins has been impressive all fall, with a strong freshman class, especially on the men’s side. They are the higher ranked team with number five women and number four men, while the Violets come in at numbers eight and six for the women and men.

Hopkins’ Brandon Fabian and NYU’s Nianzhong Liu each own one of the top six 50 and 100 freestyle times so far this year. Hopkins also has Noah Corbitt and NYU has Ariel Okhtenberg joining in on top ten 100 freestyle action. Freshmen Graham Chatoor (NYU) and Collin Hughes (JHU) are second and third nationally in the 500 freestyle.

For the men, the Blue Jays have the upper hand in the backstroke events and the 200 IM. Hopkins freshman Max Chen leads the nation in the 100 breaststroke, but NYU’s freshman Justin Lum sits at number two in the 200 breaststroke. JHU freshman Jeffrey Vitek leads both teams in both butterfly events.

The Hopkins women are stronger than the Violets across the board. Against the Blue Jays, NYU’s strongest events are the 200 and 1000 free, 200 IM, 200 back.

In the 200 free NYU sophomore Syndey Catron has the country’s 10th best time, while Hopkins swimmers sit fifth, 11th, and 12th. Hopkins (Emma McElrath– 10:24.22) and NYU (Rachel Reistroffer– 10:26.01) hold the top two times in the 1000.

NYU junior Honore Collins has the country’s fifth best 200 IM time, while Blue Jay freshman standout Sydney Okubo sits third nationally. Catron (seventh) sits between Okubo (second) and McElrath (ninth) in the 200 back national rankings.

The First Few Invites

On the Invite front, Franklin and Marshall will host their invite. Washington and Lee is racing there. The Generals will also race again at their own invite after Thanksgiving.

The University of Chicago will be at the Phoenix Fall Classic. Kenyon will send a squad to the Ohio State Invite. WashU will race at the Illinois Wesleyan Invite.

All rankings are as of November 12th, 2018 (the CSCAA Pre-Season Poll). Poll #1 is expected to be released November 14th.