The Denison men won their fourth national title in program history after the Big Red accumulated 596.5 points over the course of the four days of action at the 2018 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships, held at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana. PHOTOS - VIDEO RECAP
In the final women’s standings, Emory captured its ninth-straight national crown with 603 points, while Kenyon led the NCAC by finishing second overall in the standings with exactly 500 points.
Kenyon, which has won an NCAA-record 34 national titles, finished third overall in the team standings with 322 points, while DePauw cracked the top-15 in 15th-place with 47 total points. Emory, the 2017 national champions, finished second overall in the final standings with 369.5 points.
The Denison women’s team posted its 28th top-five finish at the national meet in program history in fourth-place with 385 total points.
Following the four days of competition in downtown Indy, NCAC student-athletes won 10 national titles, logged 83 Top-8 All-American performances and posted 52 additional Honorable-Mention All-American efforts.
In addition, Kenyon freshman Crile Hart (Pepper Pike, OH/Hawken) was named the 2018 Div. III Women’s National Swimmer of the Year after winning three individual event titles, swimming a leg on one winning relay and setting two individual national records in the 200 IM (1:58.86) and 200 back (1:55.67) over the course of the four-day meet. Denison head coach Gregg Parini was also named the national Men’s Coach of the Year after guiding the Big Red to to their fourth national title since 2011.
Men’s 1,650 Free
Denison opened the final night of action by having a pair of men’s swimmers finish two-three in the men’s 1,650 freestyle timed final as junior Matt Hedman (Anoka, MN/Anoka) placed second in 15:17.29 and sophomore James Baker (Honeoye Falls, NY/Lima) clocked the third-fastest time at 15:31.35. After winning the 500 free on Wednesday night, Emory junior Thomas Gordon completed the sweep of the distance events on Saturday with a winning time of 15:15.60 in the 1,650.
Women’s 1,650 Free
Four NCAC student-athletes posted Top-8 All-American times in the women’s 1,650 free, led by sophomore Kendall Vanderhoof (Glenwood Springs, CO/Glenwood Springs) finishing third overall in 16:57.28. Kenyon junior Marysol Arce (Chicago, IL/St. Ignatius) finished fourth in 16:57.33, followed by Denison sophomore Natalie Zaravella (Victor, NY/Victor) in sixth (16:58.91) and Kenyon freshman Alexis Vetrano (Raleigh, NC/Leesville) in seventh with a time of 17:01.14. Williams College freshman Laura Westphal made it two-for-two in the distance freestyle events with a winning time of 16:35.20 in the 1,650.
Men’s 100 Free
Denison senior Zach Wagner (Seattle, WA/Lakeside) was the NCAC’s lone representative in the men’s 100 free “A” finals, finishing eighth overall in the championship heat with a time of 45.26. Emory senior Oliver Smith took home gold in the event with a winning time of 43.32.
Women’s 100 Free
Despite no NCAC swimmers representing the league in the “A” finals of the women’s 100 free, Kenyon junior Hannah Orbach-Mandel (Tucson, AZ/Catalina Foothills) won the consolation heat with a time of 50.90. Emory junior Fiona Muir reached the wall first in the championship heat in 49.29 seconds.
Men’s 200 Back
Denison sophomore Bebe Wang (Naperville, IL/Metea Valley) added to the Big Red’s historic night by winning the national title in the men’s 200 back with a time of 1:45.37, making him the fifth different swimmer in program history to take home gold in the event at the national meet. Kenyon sophomore Mick Bartholomew (Boulder, CO/Boulder) finished fourth in the championship heat with a time of 1:46.86, while DU senior Jason Wesseling (Hudsonville, MI/Jenison) finished in the top-eight for the third year in a row, this time hitting wall fifth overall in 1:48.03.
Women’s 200 Back
Kenyon’s Crile Hart continued her onslaught on the Div. III record book in the women’s 200 back as she outpaced the field in the championship heat in a Div. III national record time of 1:55.67. She is the first Kenyon women’s swimmer to win the national title in the event since Carolyn Barer won the event back in 2009. Hart was joined on the All-American podium by junior teammate Delaney Ambrosen (Excelsior, MN/ Minnetonka) in third (1:59.11) and Denison sophomore Jacquelyn Kurkjian (Aurora, IL/Metea Valley) in fourth with a time of 2:00.64.
Men’s 200 Breast
History was made yet again by an NCAC athlete in the men’s 200 breast as DePauw senior Sam McManus (Terrace Park, OH/Mariemont) became the first individual event national champion in program history as he topped the field in the championship heat with a winning time of 1:58.57. Denison junior Jacob Ball (Stafford, VA/Colonial Forge) finished just behind McManus in second with a time of 1:58.68, while DU junior Ryan Stevenson (Madeira, OH/Madeira) checked in at seventh in the finals with a time of 2:01.65.
Women’s 200 Breast
Denison sophomore KT Kustritz (St. Paul, MN/Insight School) completed the clean sweep of the breaststroke events at the 2018 national meet with a meet record time of 2:12.27 in the 200 on Saturday night. She is DU’s first swimmer to win gold in the 200 breast since Alison Begg won back-to-back titles in the event in 1994 and ’95. Kenyon senior Julia Wilson (Bethesda, MD/Sidwell Friends) also finished third overall in the championship heat with a time of 2:15.75.
Women’s Three-Meter Diving
In the final individual event of the 2018 national meet, Denison sophomore Allison Fitzgerald (Grand Rapids, MI/Forest Hills Central) finished eighth overall in the finals of the women’s three-meter diving competition with an 11-dive score of 450.05. Ithaca’s Nickie Griesemer swept the diving events after posting a score of 516.30 on the three-meter board on Saturday night.
Men’s 400 Free Relay
Denison put a bow on its team title in the final event of the night by tying for third overall in the championship heat of the men’s 400 free relay with Pomona-Pitzer in a time of 2:59.08 with the team of freshman Drake Horton (Madison, WI/James Madison Memorial), senior Stuart Hohm (Springfield, IL/Glenwood), sophomore Matt McHugh (Charlottesville, VA/St. Anne’s Belfield) and senior Zach Wagner. The Kenyon quartet of freshman David Fitch (Conway, MA/Williston Northampton), sophomore Tommy Weiss (St. Paul, MN/St. Thomas Acad.), junior Robert Williams (Gambier, OH/Mt. Vernon) and senior Matthew Cooper (Charlotte, NC/South Mecklenberg) finished sixth overall in the championship heat in 2:59.34, while Emory took home the national title in the event with a time of 2:56.72.
Women’s 400 Free Relay
The 2018 national meet came to a close with the Emory Eagles securing the team title by winning the women’s 400 free relay with a meet record time of 3:18.46. Following a DQ in the championship heat, Kenyon and Denison were finished two-three in the “A” finals with times of 3:22.16 and 3:24.32, respectively. The Kenyon team included Crile Hart, sophomore Princess Vilan Ferguson-Nguyen (Newport Beach, CA/University), freshman Emmerson Mirus (Madison, WI/West) and Hannah Orbach-Mandel, while the DU quartet included freshman Mia Chiappe (Hinsdale, IL/Central), sophomore Gabbie Nutter (Johannesburg, South Africa/St. Mary’s School), freshman Maddie Hopkins (Chico, CA/Chico) and KT Kustritz.