Division III Recap: Mid-Season Invites Entirely Reshape NCAA Rankings

2018 Swimming and Diving Miscellaneous Images
Photo Courtesy: Larry Radloff

There were a huge number of invitationals, as well as some dual meets in Division III this weekend. A number of Division III’s top talents are already nearing or surpassing their times from NCAAs last spring. While NCAA A cuts are rarely earned in Division III, a number of swimmers across events locked up times that should be good for an Invite to Greensboro in 2019.

Here are some of the highlights, of the entirely reshaped National rankings.

A Jumbo Challenge for MIT

ailish-tufts-team-David DeCortin

Photo Courtesy: David De Cortin

While the Engineers won their Winter Invite on the men’s side, it was by a relatively narrow margin. They had some cross-town competition as Tufts came ready to race. Reliant on their impressive depth, the Tufts women won the meet, edging MIT by a mere 30 points. The Jumbo women look to be catching up to their men, moving into a position to challenge Williams for the NESCAC crown come February.

Tufts’ standout sprinter Roger Gu won the 100 free in 44.44. He outtouched MIT’s Sam Ubellacker 19.77 to 19.88 in the 50 free as the duo took the top two times in the country this fall.

Tufts freshman Joseph Kim touched in 1:48.28 in the 200 back. While that sits 10th at the moment, it would have been an A final swim at NCAAs in 2018.

MIT’s freshman Laura Rosado clocked a 2:00.42 200 back and a 56.80 100 back to win those events. Her teammate Jenny Yu swam a 56.70 in prelims of the 100 back to tie for the 10th best time in Division III.

The relays are where the Tufts women really put it together this weekend. They took down school records in the 800 freestyle relay (7:36.47), where they moved to sixth in DIII, and the 200 medley relay (1:44.72), where they now sit seventh.

Wheaton’s distance freestyler Lydia Dacorte knocked six seconds off her best 400 IM to win the event in 4:25.41, the fifth best time in the country this fall. Dacorte also won the 500 free in 4:56.54, also good for fifth.

Blue Jays Break Records at Bruno Invite

2018 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships

Photo Courtesy: Larry Radloff

The Johns Hopkins Blue Jays set a few program marks at the Bruno Invite.

Junior Brandon Fabian posted a 20.36 50 freestyle (seventh in NCAA), a 47.90 100 fly (second nationally), and a 44.63 100 free (second).

Fabian won the 200 freestyle at NCAAs last year. He’s swum less of that event this year though, and has been outshined by his underclass teammates. Hopkins freshmen Collin Hughes (1:38.15) and Noah Corbitt (1:38.79) sit third and seventh in the 200 free in the NCAA this fall. This weekend Fabian was just a 1:39.88 (13th ranked). It’s starting to look like he may consider trading the 200 free for the 100 fly come March.

Dylan Wachenfeld is another freshman shining for the Blue Jays. He sits at number three nationally in the 200 back with a 1:46.43. Freshman Max Chen leads the country in the 100 breaststroke at the moment, posting a 54.50 this weekend. His senior teammate Emile Kuyl is number two (48.47) in the 100 back.

Freshman Sydney Okubo sits second, fourth, and second, respectively, in the NCAA in what appears to be her likely NCAA lineup: 200 IM (2:03.30), 400 IM (4:26.04), and 200 back (1:59.92). Sophomore Emma McElrath improved in her top trio of events as well. She improved on her top ranked 500 free (4:53.72), moved to seventh in the 200 free (1:51.04), and second in the 1650 free (17:05.78).

Kenyon’s Depth Shines at Total Performance Invite

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Photo Courtesy: Aaron M. Sprecher; Kenyon Athletics

Kenyon sophomore Crile Hart tallied four individual victories for Kenyon this weekend. The Ladies’ freestyle group was deep and impressive, but NYU had an impressive showing in the mile, taking first through fifth, all in times under the 2018 NCAA Invited mark. NYU junior Honore Collins also put together a nice weekend of swimming, nearing her NCAA winning 200 IM time from 2017.

For the men, Kenyon was strong across the relays. Michael Bartholomew showcased his versatility while freshman Luis Weekes had a few statement swims as well.

Read more here.

Denison Outswims Emory by Significant Margin at Denison Invite

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Photo Courtesy: Linda Striggo

Denison’s men (and more notably their women) took the number one rankings in the latest CSCAA Dual Meet poll. The Big Red showed their dominance in the championship format this weekend, separating themselves from the Emory Eagles.

Denison’s KT Kustritz came within striking distance of her 100 breaststroke NCAA record.

Clio Hancock and Fiona Muir were leaders for the Eagles, with Muir coming in sight of her sprint free times from NCAAs last year.

Matthew Hedman and Bebe Wang were multiple event winners for the Big Red, posting times very near their lifetime bests.

Read more here.

Pomona-Pitzer Men, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Women Win Sixth Street Rivalry Meet

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Photo Courtesy: Stephen Carr

In their highly anticipated dual, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women won 195 to 158, while the Pomona-Pitzer men beat CMS 203.5 to 149.5 on Saturday afternoon in Axelrod pool.

Freshmen came up huge for the CMS women as Augusta LewisLeila El Masri, and Ava Sealander all won events.

Lukas Menkhoff of Pomona-Pitzer showcased his speed, winning the 50 and 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. His freshman teammate Paddy Baylis was a power on the other end of the event spectrum, picking up victories in the 500 and the 1650.

Read more here.

Other Swims of Note

  • St. Kate’s: Headed into this weekend we wondered what else this team could do. While they continued to excel individually (Maggie Menso– 4:56.43 500 free, 4:29.54 400 IM, 16:47.83 1650; Jordyn Wentzel– 1:01.79 100 breast, 2:03.56 200 IM, 2:17.92 200 breast), they proved they have the bodies to put some NCAA Invite worthy freestyle relays together. Friday night their 800 free relay moved into the top eight with a 7:35.30, with a 1:50.15 from Wentzel and a 1:51.66 from Menso. Their other two legs posted a 1:57.80 and a 1:55.69, but that was enough to get the Wildcats under the 2018 Invited time.
  • Sam Senczyszyn continues to excel in her return for her senior season at UW Eau Claire. She posted a 1:01.18 100 breaststroke this weekend. That’s back down within hundredths of her best ever mid-season time. While Kustritz keeps getting faster, Senczyszyn might be the closest thing she gets to 100 breast competition in March. She was also 50.31 in the 100 free and 23.11 in the 50.
  • Calvin’s senior Ben Holstege swam his three fastest 100 backstrokes ever this weekend at the Calvin Invite. The fastest of that trio, a 47.98, moves him to the number one spot in Division III.
  • Suhan Mestha, a Case Western senior, was just .08 shy of her 100 backstroke lifetime best at the College of Wooster Invite. Her 56.17 moves her to the number three spot.