Denison's Olivia Zaleski and Kenyon's Josh Mitchell head a list of stellar student-athletes named to the North Coast Athletic Conference's 30th Anniversary men's and women's swimming & diving teams.
Zaleski, a 2010 graduate of Denison, was voted to the 30th Anniversary team in two events - the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke. She is a three-time NCAC Female Swimmer of the Year, earning the honor from 2008-10. She is still listed in the conference record book in four different events, owning individual event records in the 50 freestyle (23.19 - 2009) and 100 backstroke (54.91 - 2010) and relay records in the 200 medley (1:41.17 - 2009) and 400 free (3:24.80 - 2009). In her four year career with the Big Red, Zaleski won seven individual event conference titles and was a member of 12 conference winning relay teams.
Mitchell is the only male swimmer selected to the 30th Anniversary All-Decade team to earn multiple Swimmer of the Year awards in the last decade as he was bestowed the honor in both 2007 and 2008. The 2008 Kenyon graduate was voted to the third decade team in the 50 freestyle after winning back-to-back conference titles in the event in 2007 (20.79) and 2008 (20.61). Mitchell also won consecutive league titles in the 100 freestyle in 2007 and 2008, in fact, his winning time of 45.31 in 2008 stood as the conference record for one year. His record was topped in 2009 by Denison graduate John Geissinger (43.96), who was also named to the third decade team in the 100 freestyle. Geissinger's record-setting time in the event still stands as the conference record today.
Denison, which has captured the last five NCAC men's swimming & diving championships, had seven different individuals voted to the squad in nine different events. Geissinger and 2012 DU graduate Gabe Dixson were each chosen in two different events. Geissinger, the 2009 Male Swimmer of the Year, added his second selection in the 200 freestyle, while Dixson was selected in both the one-meter and three-meter diving events. Dixson won the NCAC Male Diver of the Year award in 2011 and 2012 and still holds the league benchmark in the three-meter competition with a score of 568.80.
In addition to Dixson and Geissinger, 2006 Kenyon graduate Andrejs Duda was also selected to the third decade team in two different events - 200 IM and 200 butterfly. Duda also earned NCAC Male Swimmer of the Year accolades in 2006 after winning the 200 IM, 200 butterfly and 100 backstroke at the conference championships. His winning time of 1:51.36 in the 200 fly stood as the conference record until 2010.
The Big Red also dominated the list of selections on the women's side as they had seven different individuals voted to the team in 11 different events. Joining Zaleski as individuals named to the team in two different events were Hillary Callen (2009-12), Emily Schroeder (2009-12) and Samantha Salas (2008-10). Callen, the NCAC record holder in the 500 freestyle (4:51.18), had one of the most impressive runs in recent history as she won four-straight league titles in both the 500 freestyle and 1,650 freestyle events from 2009-12. Schroeder earned the honor in both the 400 IM and 200 backstroke, while Salas, a two-time NCAC Female Diver of the Year recipient (2008-10), was named to the third decade team in both diving events.
Hannah Saiz, a 2013 graduate of Kenyon, was also named to the all-decade team in multiple events as she was selected in both the 100 and 200 butterfly. The 2013 NCAC Female Swimmer of the Year selection closed out her career in 2013 by winning both butterfly events in conference record setting times as she reached the wall in 54.73 in the 100 and 1:57.32 in the 200.
The North Coast Athletic Conference is celebrating its 30th playing season by selecting All-Decade teams in nearly every championship sport. Players from the first 10 years of play were selected in 1993-94, while players who competed from 1993-2002 were named to the 20th Anniversary All-Decade team. All current head coaches were asked to vote, as were some former coaches and administrators.
The Kenyon men opened last decade by extending their NCAC championship streak to 11 straight with titles from 2004-2008; however, Denison snapped the streak in 2009 and has not relinquished its spot at the top of the conference since. In women's action, Denison earned the first title of the decade in 2004, followed by a string of four consecutive Kenyon crowns from 2005-08, while the Big Red closed out the 10-year stretch with five straight titles from 2009-13.
Founded in 1983, the North Coast Athletic Conference currently consists of 10 academically selective NCAA Division III colleges and universities - Allegheny College, Denison University, DePauw University, Hiram College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, Wittenberg University and the College of Wooster along with affiliate member Earlham College (field hockey). The NCAC sponsors 23 championship sports, 11 for men and 12 for women.
NCAC All-Decade Swimming & Diving Teams