Three national titles and a meet record highlighted the efforts of North Coast Athletic Conference student-athletes on the opening night of the 2019 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships on Wednesday, March 20, at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, N.C.
Kenyon, 23-time national champions, lead the women’s standings after night one with 103 points in five total events, followed by Emory in second (101), Denison in third (99), Williams in fourth (73) and NYU in fifth with 64 total points.
Denison, the defending national champions, stormed out to an early lead in the team standings with 136 points after four total events, followed in the top-five by Emory in second (105), Kenyon in third (97), Johns Hopkins in fourth (67) and MIT in fifth (53).
Women's 500 Freestyle
NCAC student-athletes opened Wednesday evening with two swimmers earning a spot on the All-American podium in the women’s 500 free, as Kenyon junior Kendall Vanderhoof (Glenwood Springs, CO/Glenwood Springs) finished third overall in 4:51.10 7 and senior teammate Hannah Orbach-Mandel (Tucson, AZ/Catalina Foothills) claimed seventh in a time of 4:59.27. Williams sophomore Laura Westphal won the national title in the event in 4:48.15.
Men's 500 Freestyle
Kenyon racked up key team points in the first event on Wednesday night as three Lords combined to score 41 points in the championship finals of the men’s 500 freestyle, led by freshman Bryan Fitzgerald (West Bend, WI/West Bend East) finishing third overall in a time of 4:25.61. Denison senior Matthew Hedman (Anoka, MN/Anoka) took fourth in 4:25.93, while Kenyon senior Robert Williams (Gambier, OH/Mount Vernon) placed fifth in 4:26.29 and junior teammate Connor Rumpit (Brookfield, WI/Brookfield Central) rounded out the championship finals heat in eighth with a time of 4:29.26. Emory senior Thomas Gordon took home gold in the event with a winning time of 4:24.19
Women's 200 IM
NCAC swimmers claimed three spots in the top-eight of the 200 IM as Denison junior KT Kustritz (St. Paul, MN/St. Paul College) took second in a time of 2:00.07, Kenyon sophomore Crile Hart (Pepper Pike, OH/Hawken School) placed third in 2:00.53 and Big Red junior Natalie Zaravella (Victor, NY/Victor) reached the wall in 2:02.66 for sixth place. NYU's Honore Collins claimed the 2019 national title in a new NCAA record time of 1:58.18.
Men's 200 IM
After finishing third a season ago, Denison junior Bebe Wang (Naperville, IL/Metea Valley) outpaced the field in the “A” finals with a time of 1:47.02 to earn the Big Red their first national championship of the meet. Three NCAC swimmers placed sixth through eighth, as Denison junior Mitch Williams (Columbus, OH/Loyola Blakefield) took sixth 1:49.11, Kenyon freshman Luis Weekes (St. Thomas, Barbados/Baylor School) placed seventh in 1:49.44 and Big Red senior Ryan Stevenson (Madeira, OH/Madeira) touched the wall in 1:49.71 for eighth.
Women's 50 Freestyle
The NCAC earned two more top-8 finishes as Denison sophomore Maddie Hopkins (Chico, CA/Chico) placed second in 22.98 and Kenyon sophomore Emmerson Mirus (Madison, WI/West) took fourth in 23.04. Emory senior Fiona Muir repeated as the national champion in the event with a time of 22.75.
Men's 50 Freestyle
Tufts junior Roger Gu won the national title in the men’s 50 free with a time of 19.49, while Denison junior Kymani Senior (White Plains, NY/Woodlands) placed fourth in 20.00 seconds and Kenyon sophomore David Fitch (Conway, MA/Williston Northampton) touched the wall in 20.08 for fifth. Wooster senior Cameron Gelwicks (Zionsville, IN/Zionsville Community) recorded a personal-best time in the 50 free preliminaries, finishing in 21.43 for 49th place after shaving almost one second off of his seed time.
Women's Three-Meter Diving
Amherst sophomore Lindsey Ruderman claimed the three-meter title with 498.45 points in the championship finals, while the NCAC was represented by two divers in the consolation finals. Denison junior Allison Fitzgerald (Grand Rapids, MI/Forest Hills Central) earned ninth place with 442.35 points, while Kenyon senior Madeline Carlson (Wayzata, MN/Blake School) finished in 15th place with 409.40 points. Carlson earned two crucial points in the team standings for the Ladies which put Kenyon in a first-place tie with Emory after both teams posted 69 points apiece after four events.
Women's 200 Medley Relay
In the final event on Wednesday night, the Denison squad of junior Angela Le (Eagan, MN/Burnsville), junior KT Kustritz (St. Paul, MN/St. Paul College), sophomore Maddie Hopkins (Chico, CA/Chico) and junior Gabriella Nutter (Johannesburg, South Africa/St. Mary's School) broke the NCAA record to claim the national championship in the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:40.11. The Kenyon sophomore quartet of Crile Hart (Pepper Pike, OH/Hawken School), Makena Markert (Greensboro, NC/Southwest Guilford), Caylee Hamilton (Wadsworth, IL/Woodlands Academy Sacred Heart) and Emmerson Mirus (Madison, WI/West) took second in 1:40.79 earning the Ladies 34 points to take over sole possession of first-place in the team standings after night one.
Men's 200 Medley Relay
The Denison men followed their women's squad to sweep the event and claim the first 200 medley relay national championship title in men's program history. The Big Red team of senior Carson Clear (Fort Collins, CO/Fossil Ridge), senior Tiernan Foster-Smith (Edina, MN/The Blake School), freshman Colin MacMillan (Bay Village, OH/Bay) and junior Kymani Senior (White Plains, NY/Woodlands) finished in a time of 1:27.83, while Kenyon junior Ben Baturka (Drexel Hill, PA/Episcopal Academy), senior Humphrey Pruett (Minneapolis, MN/Blake School), sophomore David Fitch (Conway, MA/Williston Northampton) and junior Tommy Weiss (St. Paul, MN/St. Thomas Academy) touched in 1:28.48 for fourth place.
The 2019 national meet continues through Saturday evening at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, N.C., with prelim sessions beginning each morning at 10:00 a.m. (EST) and final sessions starting nightly at 6:00 p.m. (EST).