The NCAC Swimming & Diving Championships will return to the
Trumbull Aquatics Center on the campus of Denison University in
Granville, Ohio, for the second year in a row. The nation's top
Division III conference meet begins on Wednesday, February 11th,
and runs through Saturday, February 14th.
The Denison men’s and women’s squads are the six-time defending champions. The Denison men are the only team to defeat Kenyon at the NCAC meet, claiming titles in 1997, and from 2009-2014. The Denison women snapped the Ladies’ 19-year hold on the league crown in 2004, with KC regaining control of the title from 2005-08, leading to DU's current run of six-straight championships. Overall, Kenyon has won 23 of the 30 NCAC titles contested in both men’s and women’s competition.
Founded in 1983, the North Coast Athletic Conference consists of 10 academically selective 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.
WOMEN'S TEAM PREVIEWS
DENISON returns a wealth of talent from last year's squad that edged Kenyon for its sixth-straight league championship by a 1,839-1,805 margin. While the bulk of DU's squad is comprised of underclassmen, the senior duo of Michelle Howell (Albuquerque, NM/Albuquerque Acad.) and Molly Willingham (Simpsonville, SC/Woodmont) will be expected to provide key points for the Big Red this season. Howell, the defending NCAC champion in the 200 fly and 400 IM, will look to excel in the IM events this winter as she currently boasts the league's top time in both the 200 (2:04.58) and 400 (4:23.84). Willingham aims to defend her title in the 200 back as she owns the top seed time to date in the event at 2:01.83, to go along with top-five times in the 100 back (2nd - 55.82), 200 free (2nd - 1:52.43) and 100 free (5th - 51.89). Junior Taylor Johns (Bloomingdale, IL/Lake Park) is the defending champion in the 1,650 free and will again lead the Big Red in distance freestyle events as she owns the league's top time in the 1,650 (16:47.81) and second-best time in the 500 (4:54.06), while classmate Marissa Bednarek (Madison, WI/West) is the squad's top performer in breaststroke events with the NCAC's second-best time in the 200 (2:20.27) and third-best effort in the 100 (1:04.46). The sophomore duo of Campbell Costley (Glencoe, IL/New Trier) and Carolyn Kane (Deephaven, MN/Minnetonka) will both look to make big contributions for the Big Red, as the duo combine to own the best clocking in four of the five freestyle events. Kane tops the list in the 50 and 100 with times of 23.25 and 50.76, respectively, while Costley owns the top time to date in the 200 (1:51.02) and 500 (4:51.84).
KENYON returns a plethora of talent from last year's squad that captured league titles in 11 of the 20 events contested. Senior Celia Oberholzer (Wyoming, OH/Wyoming), the defending league champion in the 100 back, is again primed to play a factor in the backstroke events as she enters the meet with the conference's top time in the 100 (55.30) and fourth-best time in the 200 (2:04.23). Junior diver Maria Zarka (Kanoehe, HI/Kalaheo) will look to continue her reign as the league's top women's diver after sweeping both the one-meter and three-meter competitions a year ago. Junior Mariah Williamson (Bothell, WA/Bothell Sr.) provides a level of versatility for the Ladies in the pool as she owns top-five seeds in four different events, including the 500 free (4th - 4:54.87), 1,650 free (2nd - 16:48.07), 200 fly (3rd - 2:04.39) and 400 IM (3rd - 4:27.97). Katie Kaestner (Anacortes, WA/Anacortes) rounds out the list of standout juniors that return to the Kenyon lineup this year. Kaestner, who won the 100 breast in 2014, aims to sweep the breaststroke events this year as she currently owns the NCAC's top seed in both the 100 (1:03.00) and 200 (2:17.52). The Ladies appear to be in line to rack up key points in the butterfly events, as freshman Kanchi Desai (Mumbai, India/Lilavatibai Podar) owns the league's top time in the 200 (2:02.66) and senior Hannah Cooper (Houston, TX/Memorial) ranks second in the 100 (55.93). Sophomore Jenner McLeod (Madison, WI/Deerfield) will guide the Ladies in sprint freestyle events with the second-fastest showing in the league in both the 50 (23.42) and 100 (51.19).
DEPAUW sophomore Angela Newlon (O'Fallon, IL/O'Fallon Twp.) leads the Tigers into the championship meet this year after setting the NCAC record in the 500 free last winter with a winning time of 4:50.91. Newlon, who also earned All-NCAC accolades in the 200 fly and 400 IM a year ago, currently ranks in the top-five in three different events this year, including the 200 free (3rd - 1:51.89), 500 free (3rd - 4:54.62) and 400 IM (5th - 4:28.53). Senior Emily Weber (Cincinnati, OH/Princeton) will match up with the league's top freestyle swimmers with top-10 times in the 200 (6th - 1:53.73), 500 (10th - 5:04.03) and 1,650 (9th - 17:20.07). The Tigers also boast a pair of top backstroke specialists, as the sophomore duo of Kirsten Olson (Medina, MN/Wayzata) and Annie Graves (Parker, CO/Chaparral) rank sixth in the 200 (2:05.32) and 10th in the 100 (58.91), respectively. Junior Dana Zerbini (Cincinnati, OH/Princeton) owns DPU's top times this season in the breaststroke events, ranking 18th in the league in the 100 (1:09.55) and 16th in the 200 (2:30.47).
WOOSTER will fight to return to the top five in the league standings at this year's championship meet with a good mix of veteran and rookie talent. Freshman Jillian Saccogna (Hudson, OH/Hudson) owns a top-five time with the NCAC's fourth-best effort in the 50 free (23.93), while junior Alex Desotelle (Kalamazoo, MI/Portage Central) is among the league's top breaststroke specialist, ranking 11th in the 100 (1:07.68) and 10th in the 200 (2:29.41). Sophomore Anna McGlade (Pittsburgh, PA/Mt. Lebanon) hopes to return to the championship heat in the 200 free, following last year's eighth-place finish in the event (1:53.21). Senior Morgan Hughes (Chico, CA/Chico) also looks to earn an All-NCAC citation in her final championship meet, ranking 15th in the 50 free (24.46), 17th in the 100 free (53.24) and 13th in the 100 fly (58.61), while classmate Kaitlyn Fries (Grosse Pointe, MI/Cranbrook Kingswood) will complement Desotelle in the breaststroke events, currently ranking 16th in the 100 (1:08.69) and 15th in the 200 (2:30.33).
WITTENBERG enters the
championship meet with an extremely young team as the Tigers'
roster consists of four seniors, seven juniors, eight sophomores
and nine freshman. Junior standout Dani Lacy (Louisville,
KY/Louisville Collegiate School) again headlines the
Tigers roster this season as the squad's top freestyle specialist,
ranking eighth in the league in the 100 (52.71), 16th in the 50
(24.47) and 23rd in the 200 (1:56.55). The Tigers will also be
vying for podium spots in both breaststroke events, as freshman
Julia Valentine (Columbus, OH/Thomas Worthington)
ranks sixth in the league in the 100 (1:06.44) and junior
Madeline Kraft (Cape Elizabeth, ME/Cape Elizabeth)
ranks seventh in the 200 (2:26.72). In addition, sophomore
Amy Schulz (Waterloo, IL/Waterloo) will test her
skills in both backstroke events with the league's 17th-best seed
time in the 100 (1:00.78) and the 25th-fastest clocking in the 200
ALLEGHENY also enters the championship meet with an extremely young squad, as Erica Bryson (Pittsford, NY/Mendon) is the lone senior on the 2014-15 roster. Bryson will primarily compete in freestyle and butterfly events this winter, as she ranks 16th in the league in the 1,650 free (18:26.24), 29th in the 100 fly (1:01.45) and 22nd in the 200 fly (2:13.76). The Gators will also look for production from a pair of junior student-athletes, including diver Erica Salizzoni (McMurray, PA/Peters Twp.) and breaststroke specialist Kali Schneider (Janesville, WI/Craig). Salizzoni aims for her first-career All-NCAC certificate after competing at the NCAA Diving Regionals last year, while Schneider owns the conference's 19th-best seed time in the 100 breast (1:09.72) and 13th-fastest time in the 200 breast (2:30.24). A pair of underclassmen will also look to make an impact for the Gators in the pool: sophomore Megan Feeney (Phoenix, AZ/Xavier College Prep) provides versatility in distance freestyle, butterfly and backstroke events, while freshman Julianne Reed (Camas, WA/Camas) makes her debut at the conference meet with an eye on sprint freestyle and backstroke events.
OBERLIN junior Samma Regan (Montclair, NJ/Montclair), the NCAC Athlete of the Week selection on January 12th, leads an experienced Yeowomen roster at the 2015 NCAC Championships. Regan has found her groove this year in numerous 200-meter events, ranking ninth in the league in the 200 breast (2:27.91) and 15th overall in the 200 IM (2:11.73). Sophomore Nora Cooper (Rochester, NY/Joseph C. Wilson Magnet) enters the meet as the Yeowomen's top threat in sprint freestyle events, owning seed times of 25.27 in the 50, 54.12 in the 100 and 1:55.87 in the 200. Oberlin will also look for scoring opportunities in the backstroke and butterfly events, with junior Lauren Wong (San Jose, CA/Pioneer) owning the league's 18th-fastest time in both the 100 back (1:00.85) and 200 back (2:11.83), and sophomore Vera Hutchison (Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove) ranking 21st in the 100 fly (1:00.10) and 20th in the 200 fly (2:12.03).
OHIO WESLEYAN enters the 2015 NCAC Championships with a junior-heavy roster, led by the duo of Rhiannon Herbert (Mentor, OH/Mentor) and Emmalee Nerantzis (Rockville, MD/Home). Herbert has separated herself from the pack as the Bishops' top breaststroke specialist this season, owning the league's 30th-fastest time in the 100 (1:12.29) and the 24th-best time in the 200 (2:37.08), while Nerantzis will provide scoring opportunities for OWU in distance freestyle events, ranking 31st in the NCAC in the 500 (5:22.83) and 21st overall in the 1,650 (18:43.88). Maggie Helfrich (Marysville, OH/Marysville) is the lone senior on the Bishops' 2014-15 roster and she will close out her career at the championship meet by competing in distance freestyle and backstroke events. Sophomore Anne Edwards (Golf, IL/Glenbrook South) will also contribute for the Bishops in distance freestyle events as she owns the team's top time in the 200 (2:03.55) and 1,650 (18:28.37).
HIRAM senior Rebecca Wright (New Carlisle, OH/Northwestern Local) will provide veteran leadership both in competition and on the deck for the Terriers at this year's championship meet as she has established herself as the top butterfly specialist on the team with seed times of 1:08.44 in the 100 and 2:43.66 in the 200. Juniors Marian Bade (Macungie, PA/The Perkiomen School) and Rachel Patten (Castalia, OH/Margaretta) will be the Terriers' top threats in distance freestyle events, while freshman Jenni Heid (Stow, OH/Stow-Munroe Falls) is the squad's top sprint freestyle specialist heading into her first conference meet.
MEN'S TEAM PREVIEWS
DENISON will use a mix of veterans and underclassmen in its push to capture the NCAC men's swimming & diving title for the seventh year in a row. The veteran presence will be lead by the duo of Connor Dignan (Phoenix, AZ/Desert Vista) and Damon Rosenburg (Leesburg, VA/Heritage). Dignan dominated the diving competitions a year ago with an NCAC-record score of 645.70 on the three-meter board and a winning score of 578.70 on the one-meter board, while Rosenburg is vying to become the second swimmer in league history to win four-straight league title in the 100 breast. He enters the meet with the NCAC's second-fastest time in the event at 55.81. Wittenberg's Julien Lazarus last accomplished the feat from 1996-99. The Big Red also enter the meet with an eye on topping the podium in several freestyle events, led by junior sprint specialist Ryan Fleming (Lincoln, MA/Sudbury Regional) and freshman distance specialist Stuart Hohm (Springfield, IL/Glenwood). Fleming currently owns the NCAC's fastest time in the 100 free at 44.66 and the fourth-best clocking in the 50 free at 20.56, while Hohm enters the meet with the second-best time in the 500 (4:27.82) and the seventh-fastest time in the 1,650 free (15:56.40). DU will also get production in several different events from sophomore Jack Lindell (Edina, MN/Edina) as he owns top-10 seeds in four different events, including the 100 back (9th - 51.21), 200 back (2nd - 1:47.61), 200 IM (2nd - 1:49.48) and 400 IM (2nd - 3:52.81). In addition, sophomore Gus Evans (Bellingham, WA/Squalicum) owns the NCAC's top time to date in the 200 breast (1:59.86), while junior diver Ben Lewis (Oak Park, IL/Oak Park-River Forest) will again be a threat in the diving competitions after finishing second on the one-meter board (538.25) and third on the one-meter board (533.25) in 2014.
KENYON looks to regain its hold on the NCAC championship this winter as the Lords enter the conference meet with the league's top seed time in nine of the 13 swimming events. Senior Austin Caldwell (Loveland, OH/Loveland), the 2013 NCAC champion in the 200 free, is in line to grab a podium position in all three sprint freestyle events as he enters the meet with the league's top time in both the 50 (20.46) and 200 (1:37.11), to go along with the second-fastest time in the 100 (44.81). Fellow senior Harrison Curley (Orlando, FL/Winter Park) has put himself in position to repeat as league champion in both backstroke events, owning the NCAC's top seed time in both the 100 (48.66) and 200 (1:46.36). Sophomore Arthur Conover (Oakland, ME/Messalonskee) will take the baton from Caldwell for the distance freestyle events as he enters the conference meet with the top time in both the 500 (4:26.11) and 1,650 (15:09.48), while classmate Trevor Manz (Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) currently owns the league's top seed in three different events, including the 100 breast (55.14), 200 IM (1:48.81) and 400 IM (3:52.72). Junior Christian Josephson (Lebanon, OH/Archbishop Moeller), the 2014 NCAC champion in the 100 fly, rounds out an extremely deep Lords lineup as he will enter the championship meet with the league's second-fastest time this year in both the 100 fly (49.02) and 200 fly (1:49.21).
DEPAUW brings its most potent lineup to the NCAC championship meet since joining the league three years ago. The Tigers currently hold top-five seeds in seven different events. Senior Casey Hooker (Rensselaer, IN/Rensselaer), who captured DPU's first-ever NCAC individual event championship last winter in the 200 fly, is again primed to climb to the top of the podium in the event this season as he enters the meet with the fastest time in the league at 1:48.87. He will also look to make a splash in freestyle events with the fourth-fastest time in the 100 (44.98), the second-best time in the 200 (1:38.37) and the eighth-best clocking in the 500 (4:32.92). Junior Blake Lehmann (Champaign, IL/Central) has his eyes set on his first All-NCAC certificate in an individual event this year as he currently owns the NCAC's top time to date in the 100 fly (48.88), to go along with top-five seed times in the 50 free (3rd - 20.51) and 100 back (5th - 50.39). Senior Alex Alfonso (New Albany, OH/New Albany), who is expected to play a role on numerous DPU relay squads, also enters the meet with top-10 seeds in the 100 free (6th - 45.38), 100 fly (8th - 49.62) and 200 IM (5th - 1:52.04).
WABASH senior Jake Childress (Pendleton, IN/Pendleton Hts.) headlines a strong veteran presence for the Little Giants at the championship meet. Childress will offer scoring opportunities for Wabash in both backstroke events as he enters the meet with the 12th-best time in the 100 (51.59) and the 13th-fastest time in the 200 (1:54.44), while classmate Carter Adams (Fairfield, OH/Fairfield) will man the butterfly events with the 14th-best time in the 100 (50.51) and the 12th-quickest time in the 200 (1:53.30). Junior Elliot Johns (Carmel, IN/Carmel) will be the Little Giants' top threat in the sprint freestyle events with the eighth-best time in the 50 (20.72), the seventh-fastest time in the 100 (45.51) and the 11th-best seed time in the 200 (1:40.39), while classmate Jack Belford (Carmel, IN/Carmel) will take over in the distance freestyle events with the fourth-fastest time in the league in the 500 (4:29.61) and the 17th-best effort to date in the 1,650 (16:45.91). Zechariah Banks (Carmel, IN/Carmel) joins the list of standout juniors as the team's top breaststroke specialist, ranking 11th in the 100 (57.23) and seventh in the 200 (2:05.08).
OBERLIN has a trio of student-athletes who will be competing at the conference meet for the final time this winter, including Chris Ayoub (Cypress, TX/Cypress Woods), Chris McLauchlan (East Lansing, MI/Haslett) and Jack Redell (Brooklyn, NY/Polytech Country Day). Ayoub owns the Yeomen's top times to date in several different events, including the 500 free (4:59.37), 1,650 free (17:35.44), 100 back (58.60), 200 back (2:05.98), 200 IM (2:07.01) and 400 IM (4:24.70), while Redell has established himself as the team's top breaststroke specialist with seed times of 1:03.12 in the 100 and 2:26.43 in the 200. Finally, McLauchlan will look to collect the fifth and sixth All-NCAC certificates of his career after finishing third on both boards in 2012, before placing second on the one-meter board and third on the one-meter board in 2013.
OHIO WESLEYAN will enter the 2015 NCAC Championships with a senior-laden squad, led by butterfly specialist Marcus Ramirez (Ukiah, CA/Ukiah), who owns the Bishops' top times to date in both the 100 (53.60) and 200 (2:04.17). Senior Kaneat Nimcharoenwan (Bangkok, Thailand/Buckeye Valley) will spreadout his talents over the three-day meet with OWU's top time this season in the 100 breast (1:02.07) and 100 back (56.80), while classmate Nate Planisek (Delaware, OH/Hayes) leads the Bishops in the 200 breast (2:23.09) and 400 IM (4:33.93). Junior Greyson Goodwin (Littleton, CO/Heritage) will bolster the OWU lineup in freestyle events with seed times of 22.33 in the 50, 48.38 in the 100, 1:47.74 in the 200 and 4:49.26 in the 500.
WITTENBERG has high hopes at this year's conference meet for the senior duo of A.J. Burt (Wyoming, OH/Wyoming) and James Dumstorf (Louisville, KY/St. Xavier). Burt enters the meet with the league's eighth-best time in the 200 breast (2:05.66) and the 13th-fastest time in the 400 IM (4:05.83), while Dumstorf currently ranks 15th in the league in the 100 breast (57.25), 12th in the 200 breast (2:06.75) and 18th in the 200 fly (1:56.35). In addition, junior Stephen Stuthers (Pittsburgh, PA/Central Catholic) will contribute for the Tigers in the backstroke and individual medley events.
WOOSTER will rely on seniors Evan Hagedorn (Skokie, IL/Niles North) and Brian Maddock (Elyria, OH/Elyria) to lead a squad comprised of eight juniors, six sophomores and four freshman. Hagedorn will lead the Fighting Scots in both breaststroke events, ranking 19th in the league in the 100 (58.64) and 20th in the 200 (2:08.52), while Maddock currently holds the NCAC's 19th-best effort in the 200 IM (1:56.02), the 17th-fastest time in the 400 IM (4:15.08) and the 19th-quickest time in both the 100 back (52.70) and 200 back (1:57.12). Sophomore Conner Gelwicks (Zionsville, IN/Community) will also provide a high level of production for Wooster as he ranks 23rd in the league in the 200 free (1:42.66), 31st in the 500 free (4:47.94), 15th in the 100 back (52.15) and ninth in the 200 back (1:51.81). Sophomore Aaron Salzman (Rochester, NY/Brighton) should be a factor in the diving events as well for the Scots.
ALLEGHENY senior Kevin Crooks (Washington, PA/Trinity) leads one of the youngest rosters into this year's championship meet as the Gators' lone senior. Crooks own's Allegheny's top time this season in the 400 IM (4:44.45) and 200 fly (2:00.31), while also ranking second on the team in the 100 back (55.55), 200 back (2:01.91) and 200 IM (2:03.05). The Gators will also look for production from the sophomore duo of Jack Bailey (Grove City, OH/Grove City) and Danny Litwin (Bethel Park, PA/Bethel Park). Bailey leads the team in freestyle events with seed times of 21.31 in the 50, 47.39 in the 100 and 1:46.13 in the 200, Litwin is the top breaststroke specialist on the squad with qualifying times of 59.82 in the 100 and 2:10.40 in the 200. Junior Garrett Devenney (Eighty Four, PA/Ringgold) enters the meet as the Gators' top distance freestyle swimmer, while freshman Frank Chen (Sayre, PA/Athens Area) will make his debut at the conference meet as the Gators' top backstroke specialist
HIRAM easily enters the 2015 championship meet with the youngest men's roster in the league as the Terriers' roster consists of zero seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and eight freshman. Junior Danny Essel (Euclid, OH/Euclid) will take on a leadership role for the Terriers both on the deck and in the pool as he has posted the fastest times to date on the team in both breaststroke events, clocking a 1:07.28 in the 100 and a 2:36.96 in the 200. The freshman trio of John Kost (Chantilly, VA/Westfield), Jonathan Ruiz (Freeport, NY/Freeport) and Kyle Sarver (Parma, OH/Parma Sr.) will also be expected to provide production for the Terriers in several different events. Sarver will test his skills in mid-distance freestyle events, Kost is the squads to performer in the individual medley and distance freestyle events and Ruiz will play a factor in both freestyle and butterfly events.