One national title and a meet record highlighted the efforts of North Coast Athletic Conference student-athletes on the opening night of the 2018 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships on Wednesday, March 21st at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana. VIDEO RECAP - PHOTOS
After five total men’s events, Denison stormed out to an early lead in the team standings with 138.5 points, followed in the top-five by Emory (99), Kenyon (75), Johns Hopkins (65) and a tie for fifth between NYU and Wis.-Stevens-Point with 55 points each.
Emory, the eight-time defending women’s national champions, leads in the women’s standings after night one with 146 points in four total events, followed by Kenyon in second (118), Williams in third (114), Johns Hopkins in fourth (86) and Denison in fifth with 56 total points.
Men's 500 Freestyle
NCAC student-athletes had a strong showing in the opening event on Wednesday evening as five swimmers earned a spot on the Top-8 All-American podium in the men’s 500 free, led by Denison junior Matt Hedman (Anoka, MN/Anoka) finishing second overall in the championship heat with a time of 4:25.16. From there, places four through six were all occupied by NCAC swimmers, including Kenyon freshman Tim Hagemeister (Mason, OH/Seven Hills) in fourth (4:26.05), Denison senior Stuart Hohm (Springfield, IL/Glenwood) in fifth (4:27.07) and Denison freshman Drake Horton (Madison, WI/James Madison Memorial) in sixth (4:27.24), while Kenyon junior Robert Williams (Gambier, OH/Mt. Vernon) rounded out the championship finals heat in eighth with a time of 4:30.39. Emory junior Thomas Gordon took home gold in the event with a winning time of 4:23.70.
Women's 500 Freestyle
Kenyon racked up key team points in the first event on Wednesday night as five total Ladies combined to score 47 points in the consolation and championship finals of the women’s 500 freestyle, led by junior Hannah Orbach-Mandel (Tucson, AZ/Catalina Foothills) finishing second overall in the “A” finals in 4:48.67. KC sophomore Kendall Vanderhoof (Glenwood Springs, CO/Glenwood Springs) also competed in the “A” finals, finishing fourth overall in 4:52.54, while Williams freshman Laura Westphal won the national title in the event in 4:47.85.
Men's 200 IM
Three NCAC men’s swimmers climbed the All-American podium in the men’s 200 IM, led by Denison sophomore Bebe Wang (Naperville, IL/Metea Valley) finishing third overall in 1:47.50. Kenyon senior Matt Leenhouts (Blandon, PA/Fleetwood Area) reached the wall in fifth in the “A” finals in 1:48.87, while Denison sophomore Mitch Williams (Columbus, OH/Loyola Blakefield) finished seventh in 1:50.15. NYU senior Ian Rainey topped the championship field in the event with a time of 1:46.94.
Women's 200 IM
After setting the Div. III national record in the morning prelims of the 200 IM with an eye-popping time of 1:58.29, Kenyon freshman Crile Hart (Pepper Pike, OH/Hawken) once again outpaced the field in the “A” finals with a time of 1:58.86 to become just the second women’s swimmer in Div. III history to post a sub two-minute time in the championship heat at the national meet. Caroline Wilson of Williams last accomplished the feat in 2013 with a time of 1:59.43. Joining Hart on the All-American podium from the NCAC was Denison sophomore KT Kustritz (St. Paul, MN/Insight School) in second with a time of 2:00.55 and Kenyon senior Julia Wilson (Bethesda, MD/Sidwell Friends) in eighth after she reached the wall in 2:03.37.
Men's 50 Freestyle
While Emory senior Oliver Smith won the national title in the men’s 50 free with a time of 19.39, Denison nearly doubled its lead over the Eagles in the team standings following the event with a pair of swimmers earning top-8 All-American awards. DU sophomore Kymani Senior (White Plains, NY/Woodlands) clocked in sixth overall at 20.20, while senior Zach Wagner (Seattle, WA/Lakeside) tied for seventh with W&L’s Thomas Thetford with identical times of 20.37 seconds.
Women's 50 Freestyle
Kenyon freshman Emmerson Mirus (Madison, WI/West) picked up the league’s lone top-8 finish in the women’s 50 free after hitting the wall in seventh with a time of 23.26, while Emory junior Fiona Muir picked up the national title in the event with a time of 22.72.
Men's 200 Medley Relay
The Denison men closed out night one with the lead in the team standings after finishing second overall in the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:28.08 with the team of junior Carson Clear (Ft. Collins, CO/Fossil Ridge), junior Tiernan Foster-Smith (Edina, MN/Blake School), junior Kenny Fox (Juneau, AK/Thunder Mountain) and Kymani Senior. The Kenyon Lords also competed in the “A” finals, finishing seventh overall in 1:29.17 with the squad of sophomore Ben Baturka (Drexel Hill, PA/Episcopal Acad.), junior AJ Reid (North Bay Village, FL/Design & Architecture), senior Matthew Cooper (Charlotte, NC/South Mecklenberg) and freshman David Fitch (Conway, MA/Williston Northampton). Emory won the national title in the 200 medley relay for the second year in a row, this time touching first in 1:27.63.
Women's 200 Medley Relay
In the final event on Wednesday night, Denison placed second in the women’s 200 medley relay with a time of 1:40.76, while Kenyon finished fifth overall in 1:41.98. Denison’s squad included sophomore Angela Le (Eagan, MN/Burnsville), KT Kustritz, freshman Madison Hopkins (Chico, CA/Chico) and sophomore Casey Kirby (Long Grove, IL/Stevenson), while the Ladies’ team included Crile Hart, Julia Wilson, Emmerson Mirus and Hannah Orbach-Mandel. Emory closed out night one with the lead in the women’s standings after setting the national record in the 200 medley relay with a winning time of 1:40.12.
The 2018 national meet continues through Saturday evening at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana, with prelim sessions beginning each morning at 10:00 a.m. (EST) and final sessions starting nightly at 6:00 p.m. (EST).