NCAA Division III Championships Awards Overview

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By Griffin Scott

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 23. THE final night of the Men’s and Women’s Division III National Championships had more going on than just some fast swimming to close out the meet. During the awards ceremony of the Women’s 400 Free Relay, the fire alarm in the IU Natatorium went off inadvertently. Following protocol, the entire building had to be evacuated right before the team and individual awards were about to be announced. After a 15 minute delay, we were given permission to go back into the building and give out the trophies everyone was waiting for.

Men’s Team Championship
After a four day battle between Denison University and Kenyon College, the Lords from Kenyon College were victorious by a score of 480-472. The Lords had chipped away at Denison’s lead each day of the meet and after beginning the final night with a 28 point deficit, they battled back and just edged out Denison. Head coach, Jess Book, said that his team was “very resilient throughout this whole meet” and in the end, that’s why they were the team to hoist the Championship Trophy.

Women’s Team Championship
On the Women’s side, it was more of the same. The Golden Eagles from Emory University had another dominate performance bringing home their 5th consecutive NCAA Division III title. Although they did not win a relay the whole meet, the overall depth of their roster was too much for the rest of the field to handle. A great example of that depth was in the 200 Breaststroke, where the Golden Eagles went 1-2-3. Elizabeth Aronoff took the top spot with a 2:14.37, Megan Beach was right behind her with a 2:14.73, and Annelise Kowalsky snuck in to the 3rd spot all the way from lane 8 with a 2:16.12. A very emotional moment ensued when Aronoff, Beach, and Kowalsky went to celebrate with their teammates. It was obvious to everyone witnessing the moment that one of the big reasons they are so successful as a team, is the connection they have with one another.

Men’s Diver of the Meet
Johann Schmidt, a senior from Tufts University, took home the hardware for Men’s Diver of the Meet. Schmidt posted a 520.10 to earn himself the 4th spot in the 3 meter competition but really found his niche in the 1 meter competition. Schmidt was relaxed throughout all 6 rounds and was able to edge out Ben Lewis from Denison by a score of 522.95-521.75. This was Schmidt’s 2nd National Title in the event, the first coming in 2012.

Men’s Diving Coach of the Year
Coach Russ Bertram of Denison University was selected as the Men’s Diving Coach of the Year. Denison boasted 3 men in the finals of both the 1 meter & 3 meter competitions. In the 3 meter Connor Dignan took 1st (613.90, a new NCAA Record), Max Levy took 2nd, and Ben Lewis 8th. In the 1 meter competition Lewis placed 2nd, Levy 4th, and Dignan 8th. No other school had more than 2 divers in the top 16 for both events.

Women’s Diver of the Meet
Maria Zarka of Kenyon College was selected as the Women’s Diver of the meet after she defended her title in the 3 meter competition and placed 2nd in the 1 meter. The Sophomore had the final dive of the 3 meter competition and did not let it go to waste. She nailed her dive and it boosted her into 1st place over Kaitlyn Linsmayer of Amherst.

Women’s Diving Coach of the Year
Coach Andy Scott, was Women’s Diving Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. He helped his sophomore diver, Maria Zarka to her second title in the 3 meter competition on the final night of the meet.

Men’s Swimmer of the Meet
Hugh Anderson of Mary Washington was selected as the Men’s Swimmer of the Meet. On the first night of the meet, Anderson was just touched out in the 200 IM by Redland’s Jeffrey Depew on the final lap, Depew was 1:47.44 to Anderson’s 1:47.75. After that though, Anderson would be perfect for the rest of the meet. He would go on to win the 400 IM in record fashion, actually bettering his own National Record he set in 2013 with a 3:49.25. The 200 Butterfly was a race for the ages though. Anderson, Depew, and Karl Mering of Whitman (100 Butterfly champion) were in lanes 3,4,5 for this race, all of them already having a National Title under their belt. Mering took it out fast the first 100 and started to fade, that’s when Anderson made his move. By the 150 mark, Anderson had about a half-body length lead over Mering and Depew so all he needed to do was hold on for that final 50. Jeffrey Depew made a valiant effort on his last 50, putting up a 26.7 but Anderson held him off out-touching Depew by 2 one-hundredths, with a 1:45.36.

Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year
Coach Brian Bishop of the College of New Jersey was selected as the Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year. Coach Bishop led his team to a Conference Championship last month at the Metropolitan Conference Championships, a 6th place overall finish in the team standings at Nationals (tying the best finish in school history), and captured National Titles in the 400 & 200 Free Relays. Senior Stephen Tarnowski earned 5 All-American honors during the course of this meet and was a part of the 400 Free Relay.

Women’s Swimmer of the Meet
There was little debate over who should be crowned the Women’s Swimmer of the Meet, Anastasia Bogdanovski from Johns Hopkins was dynamite throughout the meet. Overall, she would go on to win 6 National Titles (2 Individual, 4 Relays) and one second place. Her first title came in the 50 Freestyle on the first night of the meet when she swam a 22.80. Thursday night started out with a victory in the 200 Free Relay where Bogdanovski swam the 3rd leg in 22.63. Then she competed in the 200 Freestyle and beat out defending champion Sarah Thompson from Williams with a 1:47.74. Bogdanovski ended her night with a come from behind victory in the 400 Medley Relay. She went in as the anchor leg almost a full 2 seconds behind Hillary Yarosh from Kenyon and threw down an amazing 48.48 split to win the relay in 3:42.90. Her only event on Friday night was the 800 Free Relay and she definitely made the most of it. When Bogdanovski dove in for the anchor leg, she was 2 seconds behind Nancy Larson of Emory. With a 50 to go, she closed the gap to just over a second and had an unbelievable turn to give herself momentum going into the final lap. With a final charge at the end, she gave Johns Hopkins the victory in 7:21.49 with a 1:47.29 split to close it out. Bogdanovski’s only hiccup of the meet came in her final individual event of the meet, the 100 Freestyle. Senior Kellie Pennington of Springfield edged out Bogdanovski by a time of 49.41 to 49.66. Bogdanovski, however, would end her night with a bang in the 400 Free Relay. Once again, Bogdanovski went into the water as the anchor leg behind in the race. Using her mid-distance training, she came home on the last 50 in 25.54 to win the National Title with a 48.79 split.

Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year
Coach George Kennedy of Johns Hopkins was selected as the Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year. Johns Hopkins did something at these Nationals that had not been done in 10 years when Kenyon completed this amazing feat in 2004. Coach Kennedy’s Women’s Team swept all 5 relays throughout the 4 day meet, 3 of them in comeback fashion. Overall Johns Hopkins had 7 National Titles and broke 9 school records. In the end, Johns Hopkins finished in 3rd place behind Emory University and Kenyon College.

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