Conover Paces NCAC On Night 1 Of Nationals

Kenyon senior Arthur Conover after winning the M's 500 Free
Kenyon senior Arthur Conover after winning the M's 500 Free

One national title and a meet record highlighted the performances by North Coast Athletic Conference student-athletes on the opening night of the 2017 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships, held at the CISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas. 

After five total women’s events, seven-time defending national champion Emory leads the way with 137 points, followed in the top-five by Williams (101), Kenyon (88), Denison (73) and Ithaca (48). DePauw currently sits in a tie for 22nd in the women’s standings with Wis.-Lacrosse with 13 points each. 

Emory also leads the teams standings on the men’s side following four total events with 135 points, with Kenyon sitting in second with 103 points. Johns Hopkins checks in at third with 65 points, while Denison (63) and Washington (MO) (59) round out the top-five. 

Women's 500 Freestyle

NCAC women’s swimmers got off to a fast start in the finals session on Wednesday night by finishing 2-3-4-6 in the 500 free, led by Denison senior Campbell Costley (Glencoe, IL/New Trier) in second-place with a time of 4:50.81, which was just five-tenths of a second behind the winning time of 4:50.76 from Illinois Wesleyan’s Meg Stanley. It marked Costley’s fourth-straight top-eight showing in the event at the national meet and her top placement overall, surpassing her third-place finish from a year ago. Kenyon sophomore Marysol Arce (Chicago, IL/St. Ignatius), last year’s national champion in the 500 free, finished third overall in 4:51.79, followed by Kenyon sophomore Hannah Orbach-Mandel (Tucson, AZ/Catalina Foothills) in fourth (4:52.04) and DePauw senior Angela Newlon (O’Fallon, IL/O’Fallon Twp.) in sixth (4:55.41). 

Men's 500 Freestyle

The Kenyon Lords racked up 53 total team points in the men’s 500 free, led by senior Arthur Conover (Oakland, ME/Messalonskee) becoming the first Lords swimmer to win gold in the event since 2007 with a meet-record time of 4:18.35. Eric Dunn was the last KC men’s swimmer to win the national title in the 500 free at the 2007 championship meet. In addition, Kenyon sophomore Robert Williams (Gambier, OH/Mount Vernon) earned his first-career All-American award in the event by finishing fifth overall in 4:28.73, while KC junior David Perez (Orlando, FL/Lake Highland Prep) also cracked the top-8 at the national meet in an individual event for the first time in his career in seventh-place with a time of 4:30.41.

Women's 200 IM

Kenyon junior Julia Wilson (Bethesda, MD/Sidwell Friends) was the lone NCAC swimmer in the finals of the women’s 200 IM, but she didn’t disappoint as she touched the wall fourth overall with a time of 2:02.18, improving upon her eighth-place finish in the event from 2016. NYU freshman Honore Collins reached the wall first in the 200 IM in 2:00.97.

Men's 200 IM

While Denison senior Jack Lindell (Edina, MN/Edina) was unable to defend his national title in the men’s 200 IM, he still found himself high on the awards podium in third-place with a time of 1:46.28. He was joined in the top-eight by a pair of Kenyon seniors as Trevor Manz (Eau Claire, WI/Eau Claire) finished fourth in 1:46.95 and Ian Reardon (Upper Arlington, OH/Upper Arlington) placed seventh overall with a time of 1:48.83. Manz and Reardon are now both three-time top-eight All-Americans in the event. Emory senior Andrew Wilson, the 2015 national champion in the event, returned to the national meet this year and again won the 200 IM with a time of 1:44.18, which topped Lindell’s meet-record time of 1:46.00 from a year ago.

Women's 50 Freestyle

For the fourth year in a row, Denison senior Carolyn Kane (Deephaven, MN/Minnetonka) notched a top-eight finish in the women’s 50 free, this time reaching the wall in sixth with a time of 23.34. Her top finish in the event was a second-place effort in 2015, to go along with a pair of third-place showings in 2014 and 2016. Williams junior Emma Waddell took home the title in the event with a meet-record time of 22.69.

Men's 50 Freestyle 

Denison junior Zach Wagner (Seattle, WA/Lakeside) was the league’s lone participant in the men’s 50 free, finishing fifth overall in the “B” finals with a time of 20.59 and 13th overall for his first-career honorable-mention All-American finish. Emory junior Oliver Smith successfully defended his national title in the event with a time of 19.55, which ironically was identical to his winning time from 2016.

Women's Three-Meter Diving 

After finishing 11th overall in the morning prelim session on the three-meter board with 409.85 points, Denison freshman Allison Fitzgerald (Grand Rapids, MI/Forest Hills Central) posted the best score in the “B” finals with 450.10 points to finish ninth overall in the event. Wellesley junior Maura Sticco-Ivins was the national champion in the three-meter competition with a score of 504.00.

Women's 200 Medley Relay 

While Emory won the national title in the women’s 200 medley relay for the second year in a row with a time of 1:40.83, Denison and Kenyon both cracked the top-four in the championship heat. DU finished second in 1:41.33 with the team of Kane and the freshmen trio of Casey Kirby (Long Grove, IL/Stevenson), KT Kustritz (St. Paul, MN/Insight School of MN) and Angela Le (Eagan, MN/Burnsville). Kenyon checked in at fourth with a time of 1:41.98 with the squad of freshman Summer Otazu (Pasadena, CA/Marantha), Julia Wilson, freshman Hollie Hopf (Bridgewater, NJ/The Pingry School) and sophomore Abby Wilson (Westerville, OH/Columbus Acad.).

Men's 200 Medley Relay 

In the final event of the night, DU’s Wagner was joined by the sophomore trio of Carson Clear (Fort Collins, CO/Fossil Ridge), Tiernan Foster-Smith (Edina, MN/The Blake School) and Kenny Fox (Juneau, AK/Thunder Mountain) for a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:28.89. Emory topped the meet record in the event with a winning time of 1:26.14, while Kenyon finished first in the consolation finals and ninth overall with a time of 1:29.26 with the team of freshman Ben Baturka (Drexel Hill, PA/Episcopal Acad.), sophomore Jon Zimdars (Whitewater, WI/Whitewater), sophomore Weston Carpenter (Lafayette, CA/Acalanes) and Trevor Manz

The 2017 national meet continues through Saturday evening at the CISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas, with prelim sessions beginning each morning at 11:00 a.m. (EST) and final sessions starting nightly at 7:00 p.m. (EST).