Drury finishes with 546 points, a record ninth consecutive national crown
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Drury put the finishing touches on its record-setting ninth consecutive NCAA Division II title Saturday at the CrossPlex Natatorium.
The Panthers compiled 546 points on the week, finishing with a healthy margin ahead of second-place Florida Southern. The Mocs had its best finish in school history as they were the runner-ups with 397 points.
Incarnate Word was third with 389 points, while Grand Canyon wrapped up the fourth-place trophy with 336 points.
In the night’s first event, the 1,650 yard freestyle, Queens' Alex Menke won the first men’s swimming national championship in school history, finishing in 15:11.50. Incarnate Word’s Mark Rubin was second in 15:25.25, while West Chester’s Bradley Strathmeyer rounded out the top three in 15:28.66.
Drury’s Vladimir Sidorkin added his second individual national title of the meet as he added the 100 yard freestyle title to his 200 yard freestyle from two night’s ago. Sidorkin won the championship in 43.16 seconds, beating Ouachita Baptist’s Marcus Schlesinger, who was second in 43.56 and Bridgeport’s Ruben Gimenez, who placed third in 43.71.
In the 200 yard backstroke, Jeffrey Halfacre was looking to become the first person in DII history to sweep the event four years in a row, but it was not to be. Drury’s Daniel Swietlicki pulled off the victory in a time of 1:44.12, while Andrii Nikishenko of Incarnate Word was second in 1:44.78 and Halfacre was third in 1:45.09.
The 200 yard breaststroke proved to be the most exciting event of the night as Grand Canyon’s Eetu Karvonen and UC San Diego’s Nicholas Korth -- the last two national champions in the event -- battled the entire race. Karvonen touched the wall just ahead of Korth to win the race in record time. Karvonen broke his own meet record of 1:56.11, which he set last year, by posting a 1:54.57, while Korth was also under the previous record time with a time of 1:54.61. Incarnate Word’s Thiago Parravicini placed third in 1:56.72.
The meet wrapped up with the 400 yard freestyle relay, which saw Drury’s relay team rally behind the anchor leg of Sidorkin, who won five events on the week. The Panthers finished in a meet record time of 2:55.26, breaking the record of 2:56.39, which was set by Bridgeport earlier in the day in the preliminaries. Bridgeport finished second in 2:55.54, while Florida Southern was third in 2:56.80.
“We just seemed to swim better and better as the week went on,” Drury head coach Brian Reynolds said. “The relay just shows how much our guys want to get to the wall first. I can’t say enough about Vladimir. He stepped up when we needed him with a 41.9 split on the anchor leg which is just phenomenal. He has been that way his whole career.”