National championship performances were the name of the game on Thursday night for North Coast swimmers and divers at the 2015 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships as league student-athletes opened the night with four-straight titles in the 200 free relays and 400 IM events, and later tacked on the fifth championship of the night in the men's one-meter diving competition. Through 20 total events at the 2015 national meet at the CISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas, NCAC student-athletes have combined for eight national titles, 44 All-American performances and 31 Honorable-Mention All-American efforts.
Following 10 women's events in Texas, Emory remains atop the team standings with 323.5 points, followed by Denison in second with 252, Kenyon in fourth with 195 and DePauw in 18th with 23 points.
With 10 men's events also completed, Kenyon holds a commanding lead in the team standings with 287 points, while Denison sits in second with 209, DePauw is 12th overall with 63 points and Wabash swimmers will be vying for their first points of the national meet over the final two days of competition.
The DU women opened the evening strong by claiming the program's first national championship in the women's 200 free relay since 2011 after outracing the competition in the event with a time of 1:31.82. Big Red team members included senior Rima Jurjus (Shaker Hts., OH/Shaker Hts.), sophomore Carolyn Kane (Deephaven, MN/Minnetonka), junior Ashley Yearwood (Hamilton Parish, Bermuda/Baylor School) and junior Mary Van Leuven (Madison, WI/Memorial). Kenyon also posted an All-American finish in the event in fourth-place with a time of 1:33.14, led by senior Jourdan Cline (Charlotte, NC/Country Day), junior Haley Townsend (Greenwood, IN/Center Grove), sophomore Laura Duncan (Freemont, OH/Ross) and sophomore Jenner McLeod (Madison, WI/Deerfield).
The Kenyon men extended their lead in the team standings following their second-straight relay title of the national meet, this time touching first in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:20.38. Lords swimmers included senior Austin Caldwell (Loveland, OH/Loveland), junior Joey Duronio (Chapel Hill, NC/Chapel Hill), junior Ryan Funk (Pace, FL/Pace) and senior Wes Manz (Eau Claire, WI/Memorial). In addition, the Denison squad of junior Ryan Fleming (Lincoln, MA/Sudbury Regional), junior Conrad Wuorinen (Gahanna, OH/Columbus Acad.), senior Damon Rosenburg (Leesburg, VA/Heritage) and sophomore Max Howes (Chapel Hill, NC/East) finished third in 1:20.65, and the DePauw foursome of sophomore Brandon Sholtis (Evansvill, IN/Francis J. Reitz), senior Casey Hooker (Rensselaer, IN/Central), senior Alex Alfonso (Grosse Pointe, MI/South) and junior Blake Lehmann (Champaign, IL/Central) finished seventh overall with a time of 1:21.22.
Denison inched closer to Emory in the women's team standings in the 400 IM after senior Michelle Howell (Albuquerque, NM/Albuquerque Acad.) completed the clean sweep of the 2015 individual medley events by reaching the wall first in a time of 4:17.88. Kenyon junior Mariah Williamson (Bothell, WA/Bothell Sr.) also earned All-American honors in the event in fourth-place with a time of 4:22.72.
The men's 400 IM All-American podium was loaded with NCAC swimmers, led by Kenyon senior Harrison Curley (Orlando, FL/Winter Park) capturing his second-career individual event national title with a meet-record time of 3:46.62. Curley also won the 200 back national title in 2014. Following Curley in the 400 IM championship standings was Denison sophomore Jack Lindell (Edina, MN/Edina) in third (3:50.02), Kenyon sophomore Ian Reardon (Upper Arlington, OH/Upper Arlington) in fourth (3:51.64), Kenyon sophomore Trevor Manz (Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) in sixth (3:53.35) and finally Kenyon sophomore Arthur Conover (Oakland, ME/Messalonskee) in seventh (3:53.75).
A pair of league swimmers posted All-American swims in the women's 100 fly, including Kenyon senior Hannah Cooper (Houston, TX/Memorial) in fifth (55.52) and Denison's Carolyn Kane in sixth (55.72).
DePauw's Blake Lehmann led a pair of NCAC swimmers in the men's 100 fly in fifth with a time of 48.36, while Kenyon junior Christian Josephson (Lebanon, OH/Archbishop Moeller) also medaled in the event in seventh-place with a time of 48.76.
While no women's swimmers represented the NCAC in the 200 free championship finals, the NCAC was well represented by three swimmers in the men's 'A' final race, led by two-time defending national champion Austin Caldwell of Kenyon finishing second overall with a time of 1:37.38, just one-hundredth of second behind the winning time of 1:37.37 set by Connor Sholtis of Amherst. Joining Caldwell on the All-American podium was Denison junior Joe Brunk (Raleigh, NC/Enloe) in sixth (1:38.47) and Kenyon's Joey Duronio in eighth (1:40.08).
Denison sophomore Max Levy (Sammamish, WA/Skyline) highlighted a trio of Big Red divers in the men's one-meter competition by become just the second diver in school history to capture a national title in the event with a score of 532.85. Senior Connor Dignan (Phoenix, AZ/Desert Vista) finished second (528.50), while junior Ben Lewis (Oak Park, IL/Oak Park-River Forest) was third overall with 526.85 points. Lewis is the only other DU diver in program history to earn a national title in the one-meter event after totaling 494.65 points at the 2013 national meet, also held in Shenandoah, Texas.
Women's action came to a close on night two with Kenyon and Denison both logging All-American efforts in the 400 medley relay. The Ladies reached the wall second (3:41.77) behind Emory (3:41.44) with the team of senior Celia Oberholzer (Wyoming, OH/Wyoming), junior Katie Kaestner (Anacortes, WA/Anacortes), Hannah Cooper and Jenner McLeod, while the DU team of senior Molly Willingham (Simpsonville, SC/Woodmont), junior Marissa Bednarek (Madison, WI/West), Carolyn Kane and Ashley Yearwood finished fourth with a time of 3:43.72.
And, in the final event on Thursday night, Kenyon finished third overall in the men's 400 medley relay in a time of 3:14.69 with the team of Harrison Curley, Trevor Manz, Christian Josephson and Austin Caldwell. The DU grouping of Jack Lindell, Damon Rosenburg, junior Andrew Rich (McMurray, PA/Peters Twp.) and Ryan Fleming finished in a tie for sixth with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in a time of 3:16.37.
The national meet continues through Saturday evening at the CISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas, with prelim sessions beginning each morning at 10:00 a.m. CT (11:00 a.m. ET), and final sessions starting nightly at 6:00 p.m. CT (7:00 p.m. ET).