SHENANDOAH, Texas — The Kenyon dynasty and the legacy of former head coach Jim Steen is well documented, and the 2013 Lords — a group armed with swimmers like seniors Curtis Ramsey and Ian Stewart-Bates — are on the verge of continuing that dynasty.
Heading into the final day of the championships, the Lords are still in the lead with 355.5 combined points. Defending national champion and conference rival Denison is not far behind with 308 points after the conclusion of Friday’s finals.
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|Feature: Kenyon relies on chemistry|
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Most notably, however, the Lords made a major statement Thursday evening with two national championship finishes in the 200 freestyle and medley relays. Already in the lead beforehand, Kenyon made it known they would once again be a force to be reckoned with in the 2013 NCAA Championships.
Still, with Denison and other teams biting at their heels, Kenyon has no room for complacency heading into Saturday. Even in victory, the Lords’ relay teams have noticed an increase in the overall level of competition.
Stewart-Bates, a participant in both the freestyle and medley relays, said the 2013 NCAAs have been most competitive they’ve yet seen.
“As we’ve seen the first few days, it’s been the fastest we’ve seen it, so we knew all the relays would be pretty competitive going in,” Stewart-Bates said. “We had our eyes on MIT being the biggest challenger. I saw them halfway through the relay and was happy we executed in the end to get the win.”
Ramsey, named the 2013 New Jersey Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Year, set a high bar for himself heading into the week’s championships. His impact would soon be felt as a member of the 200 freestyle relay.
Ramsey said, due to the relationship between teammates, victory came as no shock.
“We’ve had the same order the whole year, so nothing new there,” Ramsey said. “A lot of these guys are pretty familiar with this relay so it wasn’t a surprise [to win]. I think we have good chemistry.”
The chemistry and competitiveness of the Lords is even evident in their individual events. Sophomore Austin Caldwell, a member of the 200 freestyle relay, also won an individual national championship in the men’s 200 freestyle that same day. The force of momentum is hard to miss.
Kenyon head coach Jess Book said he was especially appreciative for his seniors and the leadership they’ve provided.
“We want to take pride in our performances — this is a team that’s got some really exciting seniors that have done tremendous things over the course of their careers,” Book said. “They continue to get better and better. Watching these guys go out with the kind of leadership they have and have the opportunity to have those celebratory performances on this stage is what we look for.”