Big Red Cap Off Night 3 With Title In 800 Free Relay

Denison freshman KT Kustritz
Denison freshman KT Kustritz

Denison’s national title in the men’s 800 free relay was the top performance for NCAC athletes on Friday night at the 2017 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships at the CISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas. Through 29 total events in Texas, NCAC student-athletes have collected four national titles, 44 All-American performances and 32 additional Honorable-Mention All-American efforts.

Through the first three nights of competition, Emory holds the lead in the men’s team standings with 325 points, followed by Kenyon (278.5), Johns Hopkins (250) and Denison (243), while Washington (MO) and Williams are tied for fifth with 179 points each. The DePauw men currently sit in a tie for 36th with Case with 11 points each. 

On the women’s side, Emory has built a commanding 471.5-327 edge over Williams after the first three days of competition, followed by Kenyon in third (270), Denison in fourth (234) and MIT in fifth (141). DePauw now sits in a four-way tie for 33rd with 13 total points. 

Women’s 200 Butterfly

Denison junior Halli Garza (Stockton, CA/Brookside Christian) opened Friday night’s action by winning the consolation finals of the women’s 200 fly with a time of 2:03.28. Williams senior Megan Pierce was the winner in the championship heat with a time of 1:59.76. 

Men’s 200 Buttferly

Kenyon sophomore Jon Zimdars (Whitewater, WI/Whitewater) match his finish from 2016 in the men’s 200 fly in seventh-place this year with a time of 1:48.67. In addition, Kenyon junior David Perez (Orlando, FL/Lake Highland Prep) finished sixth overall in the consolation finals in 1:50.26. Washington (Mo) sophomore Brandon Lum won the national title in the event with a meet-record time of 1:44.56. 

Women’s 100 Backstroke

Kenyon freshman Summer Otazu (Pasadena, CA/Maranatha) was the NCAC’s top finisher in the women’s 100 backstroke, winning the consolation finals heat in 55.51 seconds. Emory junior Cindy Cheng topped the field in the “A” finals with a time of 54.41. 

Men’s 100 Backstroke

While the NCAC was shutout of the “A” finals of the men’s 100 backstroke, Kenyon freshman Ben Baturka (Drexel Hill, PA/Episcopal Acad.) won the consolation finals with a time of 49.29, followed closely by Denison junior Jason Wesseling (Hudsonville, MI/Jenison) in second with a time of 49.33. Senior Ben Lin of Williams set the national record in the event in the “A” finals with a winning time of 46.62. 

Women’s 100 Breaststroke

NCAC women’s swimmers had a strong showing in the championship finals of the women’s 100 breast stroke, led by Denison freshman KT Kustritz (St. Paul, MN/Insight School of MN) finishing second in a time of 1:02.45 and Kenyon junior Julia Wilson (Bethesda, MD/Sidwell Friends) placing third in 1:02.59. Denison freshman Kate Mesaros (Ann Arbor, MI/Dexter) finished eighth in the “A” finals in 1:03.22, while sophomore Sam Senczyszyn of Wisconsin-Eau Claire won the national title in the event with a time of 1:01.64.

Men’s 100 Breaststroke

DePauw junior Sam McManus (Terrace Park, OH/Mariemont) was the lone NCAC swimmer in the championship heat of the men’s 100 breast stroke, finishing eighth overall with a time of 54.94. Two NCAC swimmers placed in the top-eight in the consolation finals, including Kenyon senior Trevor Manz (Eau Claire, WI/Eau Claire) in second (54.78) and Denison sophomore Jake Ball (Stafford, VA/Colonial Forge) in sixth (55.67). Emory senior standout Andrew Wilson set yet another meet record in the “A” finals with a winning time of 50.94 seconds. Wilson is now the first men’s swimmer to go sub-51-seconds in the 100 breast at the NCAA Div. III Championships, and his time also bested the winning time from the  2016 NCAA Div. I championships of 51.29 from Fabian Schwingenschlogl of the University of Missouri. 

Women’s  One-Meter Diving

For the second time in three nights, Denison freshman Allison Fitzgerald (Grand Rapids, MI/Forest Hills Central) collected All-American honors in the diving well, this time finishing seventh in the one-meter competition with a score of 424.20. Wellesely junior Maura Sticco-Ivans completed the sweep of the diving events at the 2017 championships with a winning score of 475.40. Sticco-Ivans is the first women’s diver to sweep the diving events at the national meet since TCNJ’s Danica Roskos accomplished the feat in 2011.

Women’s 800 Free Relay

Both Emory and Kenyon topped the previous national record in the women’s 800 freestyle relay; however the Eagles posted the winning time this year at 7:14.98. The Ladies team that hit the wall in 7:15. 08 included freshman Julia Green (Winnetka, IL/New Trier), sophomore Delaney Ambrosen (Excelsior, MN/Minnetonka), sophomore Hannah Orbach-Mandel (Tucson, AZ/Catalina Foothills) and sophomore Abby Wilson (Westerville, OH/Columbus Acad.). Denison also finished 12th overall in event with a time of 7:31.66 with the team of senior Campbell Costley (Glencoe, IL/New Trier), freshman Hannah Rusinko (Pittsburgh, PA/Norwin), freshman Erica Hsu (Iowa City, IA/West) and senior Alex Elizeus (Ardara, PA.Oakland Catholic).

Men’s 800 Free Relay

The NCAC wouldn’t go without a champion on night three as the Denison men’s 800 free relay for the second year in a row with the team of sophomore Walt Dauksher (Ft. Collins, CO/Fossil Ridge), senior Jack Lindell (Edina, MN/Edina), junior Stuart Hohm (Springfield, IL/Glenwood) and sophomore Ryan Stevenson (Madeira, OH/Madeira) reached the wall first in 6:30.72. DU has now won the event at the national meet eight times since 2006. Kenyon finished third overall in the event in 6:33.64 with the team of senior Arthur Conover (Oakland, ME/Messalonskee), sophomore Robert Williams (Gambier, OH/Mt. Vernon), junior Gabriel Bellot-McGrath (Marietta, GA/Westminster) and senior Ambert Sawaya (Chula Vista, CA/Bishops’s).

The 2017 national meet continues through Saturday evening at the CISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas, with prelim sessions beginning each morning at 11:00 a.m. (EST) and final sessions starting nightly at 7:00 p.m. (EST).