Eight Men’s Swimmers to Watch at the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships

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Photo Courtesy: University of Indianapolis Athletics

The 2019 NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships will begin this week in Indianapolis, Indiana. Swimming World has compiled a list of eight of the 157 men’s swimmers at the meet to watch.

Queens is the favorite to win its fifth straight team title this season as the Royals are well in front of the rest of the nation. The big fight at the meet will be between the second place teams as a number of schools have a shot for the runner-up trophy. Delta State is the second ranked team on the psych sheet but anything can happen at NCAAs.

Scoring Projections (Psych Sheets)

  1. Queens, 559
  2. Delta State, 296
  3. Grand Valley, 246
  4. Wayne State, 223
  5. Missouri S&T, 220
  6. McKendree, 215
  7. Tampa, 197
  8. Indianapolis, 196
  9. Lindenwood, 193
  10. Florida Southern, 172
  11. UCSD, 172

1. Marius Kusch, Senior, Queens

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Photo Courtesy: Queens Athletics

Events: 200 IM, 1st; 100 Fly, 1st; 100 Back, 3rd; 100 Free, 1st

Queens senior Marius Kusch will end his college career in Indianapolis and he could go out with a bang as he already has broken the NCAA record in the 100 fly this season. He swam a 44.81 at the Bluegrass Mountain Conference Championships which is the fastest time in the entire NCAA, faster than anyone in Division I.

Kusch has a chance to really put that record out of reach as he enters his final NCAA meet. He also broke the 100 free record this season (42.29) and is the top seed in the 200 IM, an event he also holds the NCAA record in at 1:41.61 from last year.

2. Alex Kunert, Freshman, Queens

Events: 1000, 1st; 200 Free, 1st; 200 Fly, 1st; 100 Free, 10th

As Kusch enters the final curtain of his collegiate career, in comes his replacement in freshman Alex Kunert from Germany. Kunert is the top seed in three of his four events as he enters his first NCAA championship meet as a record setting threat in the 200 free, 200 fly and 1000 free. If he does not get any records this weekend, don’t assume they are safe for the next three years.

3. Giulio Brugnoni, Sophomore, Delta State

Events: 50 Free, 6th; 100 Fly, 8th; 100 Back, 1st; 200 Back, 8th

As Queens continues to dominate the top of the team standings, Brugnoni is leading a Delta State team that is searching for a top four finish. Last season, Delta State was only ninth at NCAAs and this year they come in as the second ranked team off the psych sheet.

Brugnoni, a native of Italy, was runner-up last year in the 100 back as a freshman as he only swam three individual events in 2018. This week, he will take on a full load of events as he is looking to propel Delta State to second place.

4. Matthew Holmes, Senior, Florida Southern

Events: 200 IM, 2nd; 400 IM, 1st; 100 Breast, 19th; 200 Breast, 10th

Holmes took everyone by surprise in 2018 when he ran down Nick Arakelian of Queens in pursuit of his fourth straight 400 IM NCAA title. This year, Holmes is the top seed on the psych sheet as he is looking to successfully defend that title. He will certainly have pressure from the Simon Fraser guys and fellow Sunshine State Conference member Brett Saunders of Tampa in the 400 IM.

Holmes is also the second seed in the 200 IM behind Kusch and has a chance to pick up some points in the breaststroke events as Florida Southern has a chance to finish in the top ten for the ninth time this decade.

5. Harry Shalamon, Junior, Grand Valley

Events: 200 IM, 6th; 100 Fly, 16th; 100 Back, 2nd; 200 Back, 1st

Grand Valley finished 11th at NCAAs in 2018 and have climbed up to third in the psych sheet scoring thanks in part to junior Harry Shalamon out of Jersey in the United Kingdom. He is the top seed in the 200 back and is second in the 100 as Grand Valley has had a historic year this season.

Shalamon was third in both backstrokes in 2018 as that was his first year in an A-Final at NCAAs. Could this be his first year as NCAA champion?

6. Sasha Palazzo, Junior, Wayne State

Events: 50 Free, 23rd; 100 Breast, 1st; 100 Free, 30th; 200 Breast, 5th

Wayne State finished 14th last year at NCAAs and had a great GLIAC meet to put themselves fourth on the psych sheet scoring. Junior Sasha Palazzo, an Italian native, is the top seed in the 100 breast this year after he was eighth last year and fifth his freshman year. Palazzo is a part of a Wayne State team that has not been in the top ten since 2015.

Wayne State was 18th in 2016, 16th in 2017 and 14th in 2018. But before that, they had been in the top eight ten straight years, and were in the top five seven of those ten years. Wayne State is looking to reclaim its place in the top ten, and should get big points from Palazzo if he is on.

7. Alexander Skinner, Sophomore, McKendree

Events: 50 Free, 3rd; 200 Free, 5th; 100 Free, 2nd

McKendree is only in its third year as a swimming and diving team but have quickly risen to be a top ten team. The Bearcats finished 15th at NCAAs in 2018 but are projected to finish in the top ten off the psych sheet. The meteoric rise for McKendree can be credited to the rise of Skinner, who is seeded in the top five in all three of his events.

He will be swimming the free relays for McKendree where they are ranked second in the 200 and 400 behind Queens. If McKendree is going to finish in the top ten, they are going to be relying heavily on a guy like Skinner to take them there.

8. Adam Rosipal, Sophomore, Indianapolis

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Photo Courtesy: University of Indianapolis Athletics

Events: 1000, 5th; 200 Free, 33rd; 500, 2nd; 1650, 1st

Indianapolis had been ranked number one in a couple of the CSCAA polls this season after upsetting Queens early in the fall. The Greyhounds underperformed at their conference championships and only rank eighth based on the psych sheet scoring. Last year Indianapolis finished in third, a program high, and if they are going to replicate that in 2019, they will need guys like Rosipal to step up.

He is the top seed in the 1650 and is also ranked second in the 500 and fifth in the 1000 as he could very well walk away with a couple national titles. The team race will be tight behind Queens and Indianapolis will be looking for a guy like Rosipal to step up if they want to finish second.

8 comments

  1. Terri Hixenbaugh

    Let’s go Tampa Spartans men’s team!!! #7. Go get ‘em.

  2. avatar
    Tonco Tonco

    Go Lakers especially Harry Shalamon

  3. Daniel Mizera

    Adam Rosipal letsss goooo!

  4. avatar

    Kunert was fun to watch at the TYR Pro Series in Des Moines last weekend. Look out!