Drury Claims Team Title Sweep; Two More Records Fall

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By Richie Krzyzanowski

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama, March 9. THE final night of action at the NCAA Division II Championships came to a close on a long and strong high note, with plenty of fast swims throughout as Drury accomplished another team title sweep.

Women's 1650 free
Florida Southern freshman Allison Crenshaw earned the distance free title in 16:42.58, having already won the 1000-yard free on day one of the meet. West Chester's Kassandra McNichol (16:43.62), Incarnate Word's Mikayla Felchak (16:43.87), and UIW's Molly Freeman (16:50.38) placed second through fourth in the timed final event. Crenshaw saved up some energy as she did not lead until the final 200 yards of the race, having drafted off McNichol most of the way. Once Crenshaw kicked it into high gear down the stretch, McNichol could not hold on.

Men's 1650 free
Queens sophomore Alex Menke became a first-time NCAA champion with a swift time of 15:11.50. Menke led from the start and never looked back, holding an unbelievably quick tempo throughout as he averaged 16 strokes per length. UIW's Mark Rubin (15:25.25), West Chester's Bradley Strathmeyer (15:28.66), and St. Cloud's Alex Bryson (15:30.98) touched second through fourth. Menke and Rubin looked to put on a show early on, but Menke made his move at the 300 and kept adding to his lead.

Women's 100 free
Incarnate Word's Tamiris Nascimento won the event for the second time in three years with a victorious 49.46. She just missed the NCAA D2 record of 49.33 set by CSU Bakersfield's Loni Burton in 2005. Drury's Wai Ting “Janet” Yu (50.21), UC San Diego's Anjali Shkaya and Alaska's Bente Heller, who tied with a time of 50.58, followed Nascimento into the wall. Yu, who was in and out of the meet throughout the week following a torn ACL two weeks ago, mustered up some more guts to finish second in the finale, helping her team with plenty of points.

Men's 100 free
Drury senior Vladimir Sidorkin took home the first-place trophy with a time of 43.16. OBU's Marcus Schlesinger (43.56), Bridgeport University's Ruben Gimenez (43.71), and Florida Southern's Robert Swan (44.12) placed second through fourth behind Sidorkin. Schlesinger provided the most competition for Sidorkin as he began to close on the champion down the last 10 years, but came up short.

Women's 200 back
Queens' Caroline Arakelian became her team's first two-time NCAA champion, posting a time of 1:57.26 for the win. Wayne State's Ana Azambuja (1:57.34), LIU Post's Johanna Pettersson (1:57.65), and Wingate's Kathryn Pheil (1:57.93) placed second through fourth in the finale. The race proved to be close as any of the top four could have won it, until the last 50 yards when Arakelian had enough room to hold off a final charge by Azambuja. Azambuja had a tremendous final underwater, but ran out of gas in the home stretch.

Men's 200 back
Drury sophomore Daniel Swietlicki took over the NCAA title in the 200 back with a 1:44.12, ending a three-year reign by Florida Southern's Jeffrey Halfacre. Halfacre missed the career sweep with a third-place time of 1:45.09. UIW's Andrii Nikishenko finished second in 1:44.78. Halfacre began to creep up on Swietlicki in the final 50 yards, but the champion held him off while Nikishenko made a huge push down the final 10 yards.

Women's 200 breast
Simon Fraser clinched its first two-time NCAA champion as well with freshman Mariya Chekanovych posting a 2:13.35 for the win after taking the 100-yard breast last night. Drury's Agnieszka Ostrowska (2:13.84), Ashland's Hannah Mattar (2:17.61) and St. Cloud State's Kellyn Craig (2:17.63) claimed second through fourth. Chekanovych started the race off smooth with an even tempo, then picked up the pace down the stretch to power by Ostrowska with a 33.52 third 50.

Men's 200 breast
In the battle of the night, Grand Canyon's Eetu Karvonen held off UC San Diego's Nicholas Korth, 1;54.57 to 1:54.61, to finish the night with the NCAA D2 record and a breaststroke sweep. UIW's Thiago Parravicini (1:56.72) and Drury's Kacper Pelcynski (1:57.92) took third and fourth behind the top duo. Karvonen took the race out fast with 54.07 at the halfway point, then held on as Korth nearly tracked him down.

Women's 400 free relay
Drury's Tinsley Andrews (51.56), Leah Reed (51.35), Wai Ting “Janet” Yu (49.90), and anchor leg Tiffany Bell (50.50) put the exclamation point on the team victory with a 3:23.31 to win. Wayne State (3:24.42), UC San Diego (3:24.61), and University of Tampa (3:24.79) finished second through fourth. Coming into the relay, all Drury had to do was not disqualify to capture the team title after losing it to Wayne State last year.

Men's 400 free relay
Drury's Stanislav Kuzmin (44.81), Nicholas McCarthy (44.33), Olexandr Padlkin (44.21), and anchor leg Vladimir Sidorkin who split an unbelievable 41.91 after being out in the 50 at a blazing 19.58, turned in an NCAA D2 record of 2:55.26 for the win. That swim beat Bridgeport's prelims record of 2:56.39. Bridgeport's Ruben Gimenez (43.93), Krzysztof Wilk (43.82), Vladislav Paskas (44.42) and Oscar Pereiro (43.37) touched second in 2:55.54, also under the record. Florida Southern wound up third in 2:56.30.

Women's Top 10
Drury 432.5
Wayne State 388
UC San Diego 313
Incarnate Word 252
Wingate 242.5
Florida Southern 219
West Chester 209
LIU Post 186
Simon Fraser 175
Queens 174

Men's Top 10
Drury 546
Florida Southern 397
Incarnate Word 389
Grand Canyon 336
Wayne State 264
Wingate 262
UC San Diego 237
Bridgeport 227
Queens 201
Nova Southeastern 151

Women's Athlete of the Year went to Southern Connecticut State's Amanda Thomas who won the 200 I.M., 6th in the 200 back, 2nd in the 200 fly, and 3rd in the 400 I.M. Men's Athlete of the Year went to Wayne State's Piotr Jachowicz who won the 200 I.M. (New NCAA Record), 400 I.M. (New NCAA Record), 4th in the 100 breast, and 5th in the 200 breast. Men's and Women's Coach of the Year went to Drury's head coach Brian Reynolds.