Division III Weekly Recap: Emma Waddell, Ian Rainey Highlight Conference Championships

Rainey, Ian-3

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The first wave of conference championships for NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving has come and gone. As predicted, a lot of fast swimming occurred over the past weekend, giving a good preview of what it is going to take in each event to qualify for the 2017 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships. So far, it appears that many events will be much quicker this year, specifically the stroke events on both sides.

A strong group of veterans led the meets this weekend, as well as a few freshman breakout performers. Among the leaders were Williams junior Emma Waddell who claimed multiple national top times and NYU junior Ian Rainey who is in his first semester of competition since transferring from the University of Michigan.

College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin, Feb. 9-11

Wheaton College 2015 Swimming Invitational, Friday Prelims, December 4, 2015

Photo Courtesy: Michael Hudson

Participating Institutions:

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Carthage College, Wheaton College (IL), Augustana College, Illinois Wesleyan University, North Central College, Millikin University

Team Champions:

  • Men – Carthage College
  • Women – Wheaton College (IL)

Top Performances:

  • Meg Stanley (Illinois Wesleyan, 500/1,650 free) – For the fourth straight year, senior Meg Stanley won both the 500 and 1,650 freestyles at CCIWs. For the first time, she added a victory in the 200 freestyle with a 1:51.65. Her distance swims of 4:52.47 and 16:48.04 were not only good enough for the win, but also the CCIW meet and open records. Headed into last year’s NCAA Championships, Stanley ranked eleventh with a 16:59.48. This year, her time has her second only to reigning NCAA Champion Marysol Arce of Kenyon so she will have prime real estate in the A final at night. After finishing twentieth in 2015 and eleventh in 2016, Stanley will be looking to claim a spot on the podium at her last meet of her collegiate swim career.
  • Christopher Dingfield (Wheaton, 200 fly) – A junior, Dingfield will be taking his first trip to the NCAA Championships after winning and breaking the CCIW meet record in the 200 fly with a 1:49.70 and racing to a 1:48.84 in a time trial. While the men’s events are a little less secure since NESCACs have not competed yet, it took a 1:50.06 to get in last year and he currently holds the fifth rank. He also placed second in the 100 fly, (50.08) fifth in the 200 IM (1:53.91) and raced the second leg of the winning 800 freestyle relay.
  • Erin Bagley (Wheaton, 100 breast) – After racing between 1:03.98 and 1:03.13 for two years, Bagley finally broke the barrier and raced to a 1:02.79 breaking her own meet record in the process. While the 100 breast will arguably be one of the hardest events to make NCAAs in this year, Bagley’s race was a breakthrough swim at the right time. She currently ranks fifth, with only three real contenders to break 1:03 in this event swimming this upcoming weekend. She also earned a pair of victories and NCAA B cuts in the 50 free (23.33) and 100 fly (56.78). While her versatility will make her second and third events a question for now, you will undoubtedly find Bagley on the podium come March.

Live Results

Old Dominion Conference, Feb. 10-12

Michaela Nolte

Photo Courtesy: Emory & Henry

Participating Institutions:

Washington and Lee University, Emory & Henry College, Randolph-Macon College, Bridgewater College, Greensboro College, Hollins University, Sweet Briar College, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Ferrum College, Guilford College

Team Champions:

  • Men – Washington and Lee University
  • Women – Washington and Lee University

Top Performances:

  • Emily Rollo (Washington & Lee, 100 & 200 back, 200 IM) – While Rollo did not swim to any personal bests, she was clearly one of the most dominant swimmers of the meet. With top ten rankings in both the backstrokes, it is likely that she did not go into this meet fully rested, which could explain the slight increase in her times. She was still able to race to a 2:06.39 in the 200 IM, and 56.14 and 2:01.90 in the backstrokes. The 200 was less than three tenths off her swim from December while her 55.78 from earlier is still holding a fourth place ranking. While she was probably looking to dip under 56 at ODACs, she is on the right path for more All-American titles in March to add to her collection.
  • Michaela Nolte (Emory & Henry, 100/200 breast) – While Nolte’s 1:04.03 100 breast will not be enough to qualify for NCAAs, her 2:19.43 in the 200 does stand a solid chance. She currently ranks thirteenth; you can expect Springfield’s Emily Medeiros and MIT’s Jessica Chen to surpass this mark at NEWMACs this weekend, but otherwise she should hold her own. Regardless, Nolte won both events for the fourth straight year despite being the second seed in both events to freshmen Emily Hageboeck. The senior defended both her titles and will be looking for her first All-American swim after finishing seventeenth in the 200 breast last year.
  • Ali MacQueen (Washington & Lee, 100 fly/100 free) – MacQueen raced to a 55.09 in the 100 fly giving her the sixth rank in this event. This was a lifetime best for the freshman, who should earn her first All America title in this event in March. With a loaded senior class leading this event, even a 54-high would not be enough to win. But MacQueen could be the future of this event in years to come. She was also victorious in the 50 (23.88) and 100 (52.04) freestyles and raced on four out of the five winning relays for Washington & Lee.

Live Results

University Athletic Association, Feb. 8-11

Photo Courtesy: Kristin Karkoska

Photo Courtesy: Kristin Karkoska

Participating Institutions:

Brandeis University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Emory University, New York University, University of Chicago, University of Rochester, Washington University in Saint Louis

Team Champions:

  • Men – Emory University
  • Women – Emory University

Top Performances:

  • Fiona Muir (Emory, sprint free) – While it is always a challenge to be the standout swimmer for a deep Emory Eagles squad, Muir dominantly stole the show this time around. While her times were just off what she swam in December, she was able to win the 50 (23.12), 100 (50.21) and 200 (1:49.70) freestyles. The longer of the three was actually a lifetime best for Muir and was the first time she swam under 1:51.1. She currently ranks third in the 50, second in the 100 and fourth in the 200. After finishing as the runner up in both the 50 and 100 at last year’s NCAAs, Muir will have her work cut out for her if she wants to win an event this year. It is definitely possible, but she will need to out-race defending national champions Emma Paulson of St. Thomas and Williams’ junior Emma Waddell.
  • Honore Collins (NYU, 200 IM) – Collins burst onto the NCAA scene at her first UAAs by racing to a 2:02.96 in the prelims of the 200 IM. While she ultimately finished fourth with a 2:05.00, her morning swim may predict what is to come in March. Everyone knows the importance of swimming fast in the morning at NCAAs, and Collins proved that she can do so. If she can use her UAA experience to her advantage, she has a good chance at finishing in the top three at her first NCAAs. It took a 2:01.59 to win the event last year, and a 2:03.09 to get third. While there are some experienced veterans in this event as well, keep an eye out for Collins over the next four years. For reference, Collins’ best time from high school in this event was a 2:06.39.
  • Andrew Wilson (Emory, 100 & 200 breast, 200 IM) – As predicted, Wilson won the 200 IM and both breaststrokes at UAAs. He clocked a 1:46.69 in the IM and a 52.70 and 1:54.11 in the breaststrokes. These were all solid swims for Wilson who has an obvious focus on NCAAs in March. The real Andrew Wilson excitement will come later on, where he will be chasing his own NCAA records in the breaststrokes and battling Johns Hopkins’ senior Evan Holder for the win in the 200 IM.
  • Ian Rainey (NYU, 500/1,650 free & 400 IM) – While it is hard to outshine Andrew Wilson, the storyline to watch in the upcoming month is that of Ian Rainey, the junior transfer from the University of Michigan. After taking a semester off, Rainey competed in a tri-meet with Johns Hopkins and MIT and the UAA Championships where he won the 1,650 and 400 IM, the latter the event that qualified him for the 2016 Division I Men’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. He placed third in the event at last year’s Big Ten Championships. While Rainey still has a way to go if he wants to reach his best times from last season, (4:35.61/15:09.78) he will make an immediate impact in March. While Kenyon’s Arthur Conover should win the mile, look out for Rainey to take the 400 IM. His best is under the Division III record, but he could win the event if he even gets close to that time. He will battle Denison’s Jackson Lindell, who is the only swimmer so far this season to swim faster than Rainey. This will certainly be one of the races to watch in Shenandoah.

Live Results

New England Small College Athletic Conference (Women Only), Feb. 10-12

megan-pierce-williams-college-butterfly

Photo Courtesy: Sports Information/Williams College

Participating Institutions:

Amherst College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Connecticut College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, Wesleyan University, Williams College

Team Champions:

  • Williams College

Top Performances:

  • Emma Waddell (Williams, 200 IM) – Waddell made it clear that she will be looking to add to her collection of seven All-America titles come March. Not only did she break :23 (22.96) and :50 (49.87) for the first time in the sprint freestyles, she also swam a lifetime best in the 200 IM with a top-ranked 2:01.90— and these aren’t even Waddell’s best events. After winning the 100 fly as a freshman at NCAAs, she will be looking to re-claim her crown in this event this year. Her 54.14 from this weekend will give her the top seed headed into the meet. She should dip back under the :54 mark at NCAAs as she will be facing off against Denison’s Carolyn Kane who has three years of NCAA and All-American experience.
  • Allison McNamara (Williams, distance free) – After winning the 1,000 at last year’s NESCAC Championships, McNamara repeated that finish by taking the event in 10:06.15. While it is not an NCAA event, this time is good enough for the fastest swim in the nation so far this season. She was able to backup this swim the next day in the 1,650 by racing to a second place finish in 16:56.41. This is just off her 16:55.68, seventh-place finish from NCAAs last year. In a conference (and on a team) where all of the top racers are high-quality NCAA racers, McNamara really made a name for herself at the 2017 NESCAC Championships. She will certainly carry on the distance tradition of Williams College in the upcoming years.
  • Olivia Jackson (Williams, 100/200 back) – Similarly to Waddell, Jackson won her signature event, the 200 backstroke two years ago at NCAAs. Now a senior, Jackson will be looking to take back her title. She raced to a 1:58.44 in the event this past weekend, as well as a 55.56 in the 100 back. She ranks second in both events behind Emory’s Cindy Cheng. The 200 is a second and half faster than what she swam at NESCACs last year, which could foreshadow how Jackson is planning on attacking this race in March. While Cheng has been dominant in the event this year, she has not swam a time outside of Jackson’s ability. Expect to see Jackson fight for this event in Shenandoah.
  • Caroline White (Williams, 200 breast) – White swam a solid 100 breaststroke finishing in 1:02.62, about a second off her lifetime best of 1:01.68 from high school. She then followed up with a huge 2:14.53 in the 200 distance, giving her second place in the national rankings. This was a full two-second drop from her lifetime best, indicating that she will be the one to watch in this event. With three years to go, White will quickly take over the NESCAC breaststroke legacy recently left behind by Amherst’s Emily Hyde, who won the event at last year’s NCAAs in 2:12.30.

Live Results

North Coast Athletic Conference, Feb. 8-11

denison-cheer

Photo Courtesy: Allen Rich

Participating Institutions:

Allegheny College, Denison University, DePauw University, Hiram College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, Wittenberg University, College of Wooster

Team Champions:

  • Men – Denison
  • Women – Denison

Top Performances:

  • Marysol Arce (Kenyon, distance) – After finishing first in the 500 and 1,650 and second in the 400 IM at NCAAs last year, Arce has had a relatively quiet sophomore season−until now anyway. Arce was victorious in all three events this weekend with the following times: 4:51.47, 16:45.37 and 4:24.84. Her freestyle times give her the top rank in each event. And while she is still a ways off her 2016 NCAA times, she swam exactly how she did last year at NCACs where she raced to a 4:51.74 in the 500 and a 4:23.76 in the IM. Arce should be back to claim some more gold this year, even after swimming under the radar all season.
  • Halli Garza (Denison, 200 butterfly) – Garza is an all-around versatile swimmer for the Big Red. This weekend she earned the 200 butterfly title for the third year in a row, this time earning the top national ranking in the process. Her 2:01.81 is the fastest she has been since her 2:01.09 at the 2015 NCAA Championships. She has finished sixth and seventh in the event in March. This event has been a toss up over the last few years at NCAAs. Her biggest competitor is likely to be RPI’s Shanny Lin who will race this weekend and give her third attempt at becoming an NCAA Champion this year.
  • Connor Rumpit (Kenyon, distance) – Just a freshman, Rumpit won the 500 free and 200 fly this weekend at NCACs. While some of Kenyon’s top swimmers (such as Conover) swam exhibition, young Lords and Ladies were making their way up the national rankings. Rumpit’s 4:28.45 puts him sixth in this event, adding some depth for the Lords here. He won the 200 fly with a 1:50.24 and also placed seventh in the 200 free in 1:40.55.

Live Results