Feb. 17, 2009

Courtesy of Kenyon

CANTON, Ohio (February 14, 2009) Junior Kegan Borland (Vandergrift, PA/Saint Joseph) and a handful of other Kenyon College distance swimmers got the Lords off to a great start Saturday, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Denison University Big Red, who forged ahead to rack up 1,794.5 points and win the 2009 North Coast Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championship. Kenyon finished runner-up with 1,419 points.

The title was the second for the Big Red, who won their other conference championship in the 1996-'97 season. The other 23 titles, dating back to the NCAC's inception in 1984-'85, were won by Kenyon. The Big Red's win halted the Lords' title streak at 11.

Going into Saturday's third and final day of the championship at C.T. Branin Natatorium, Kenyon trailed Denison by 200 points. Borland tried to eliminate a huge portion of that deficit in the very first event of the night-the 1,650-yard freestyle. He successfully defended his 2008 title by winning the event with an NCAA 'A' cut time of 15:37.26. Behind Borland, three more Lords finished within the top five. Dustin Schneider (Janesville, WI/Craig) was second (15:49.36), Nathan Smith (Knoxville, TN/Central) was third (15:54.45), and Will Misslin (Redding, CA/Bishop Quinn) was fifth (16:17.52). The Kenyon surge resulted in a 62-point gain on the Big Red.

The momentum ended there for the Lords. Denison rattled off wins in six of the final seven events. For good measure, the Big Red set four more NCAC records, swept the top three spots in the 100-yard freestyle and took three of the top four spots in the one-meter diving competition.

Battling to keep pace, the best the Lords could do was to keep churning out second-place finishes. Sophomore Michael Mpitsos (Newport, OR/Newport) was a runner-up in the 200-yard backstroke and freshman Luke Sullivan (Carrollton, TX/Creekview) took second place in the 200-yard butterfly (1:53.44). The Lords added one more second-place finish in the meet-ending 400-yard freestyle relay. That group clocked in at 3:02.44.