Division II Men’s Swimming and Diving

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Queens (N.C.) wins third straight men's title

Queens (North Carolina) rolled to its third straight team title Saturday during the final day of the Division II Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships.

The four-day meet was conducted as part of the 10th Division II National Championships Festival at the Birmingham Crossplex. Team champions also were crowned on Saturday in Division II women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s indoor track and field and wrestling.

The Royals compiled 563.5 points to distance themselves from second-place Drury in the team standings. Nova Southeastern was third, followed by Florida Southern and Grand Valley State.

The Royals won 12 of the meet’s 21 events, including four of the five relays. The Royals, in fact, garnered 184 of their points from the five relay events.

Marius Kusch and Paul Pijulet each won their third events of the meet on Saturday, Kusch in the 100-yard freestyle and Pijulet in the 200-yard backstroke.

Drury had won the team title for 10 straight years from 2005-2014 and for 12 of the 16 years from 1999-2014.

Joan Casanovas was a double winner this year for the Panthers, winning the 1,650-yard freestyle on Saturday after having claimed the 500 free on Friday. Casanovas outdueled junior Franco Lupoli of Nova Southeastern in the 1,650. The two battled neck and neck for most of the race until Casanovas pulled away in the final 50 yards.

Other notable accomplishments on Saturday included Anton Lobanov of Nova Southeastern winning his third straight 200-yard breaststroke. Lobanov, who won the 100-yard breaststroke on Friday, posted a time of 1:51.83, just shy of the record 1:51.71 he swam in 2015.

Team Standings (Top 5)

1. Queens (North Carolina), 563.5

2. Drury, 350

3. Nova Southeastern, 313

4. Florida Southern, 265

5. Grand Valley State, 255

Day Four Event Champions

1,650-yard freestyle: Joan Casanovas, Drury, 15:11.20.

100-yard freestyle: Marius Kusch, Queens (North Carolina), 43.03. 200-yard backstroke: Paul Pijulet, Queens (North Carolina), 1:42.08. 200-yard breaststroke: Anton Lobanov, Nova Southeastern, 1:51.83.

400-yard freestyle relay: Queens (North Carolina) (Marius Kusch, Dion Dreesens, Ben Mayes, Nick Arakelian), 2:53.00 [meet record; old record 2:53.89, Queens (North Carolina) (Dreesens, Kusch, Mayes, Arakelian), 3/11/2017 (preliminaries)]. 

Division II Women’s Swimming and Diving

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2017 DII Swimming & Diving Championship: Day Four Recap

Theresa Michalak of West Florida won her fourth event and set her third meet record to highlight the final day of the Division II Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex on Saturday.

The West Florida senior entered Saturday’s finals already having won the 50-yard freestyle and having set meet records in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard butterfly. She added the 100-yard freestyle to the list in record fashion, winning in 48.44 seconds.

Michalak becomes the 14th swimmer in Division II women’s swimming history to win four events at a single championships meet. One of those, Patricia Castro-Ortega of Queens (North Carolina), accomplished it twice (in 2015 and 2016). It was Castro- Ortega’s record in the 100 free in fact that Michalak topped on Saturday.

While Michalak was the meet’s individual star, Queens (North Carolina) held off Drury to win its third straight team title.

Queens compiled 467 points, comfortably ahead of Drury’s second-place total of 385. Wingate was third, followed by Nova Southeastern and Lindenwood.

Among the contributors for Queens on Saturday was Hannah Peiffer, who set a meet record of 1:54.48 in the 200-yard backstroke.

“I knew I had it in me to post a fast time but I wasn’t sure it was going to be that fast. I was not expecting that,” Peiffer said.

Peiffer has now won a different event in each of the last four Division II championships. She won the 100 fly in 2014, the 200 fly in 2015 and the 100 back in 2016.

Drury had won the team title in six of eight years until Queens took control of the throne in 2015. Freshman Bailee Nunn was a shining star this year for the Panthers, setting a meet record in the 200-yard breaststroke on Saturday after having won the 200-yard individual medley on Wednesday.

Other highlights from Saturday included West Chester’s Georgia Wright leading off the final session just as she did the first — by winning a distance freestyle. Her time of 16:22.92 in the 1,650 was well ahead of defending champion Leonie Van Noort’s 16:35.35.

Both Wright and Van Noort, a senior from Grand Valley State, had won previously this week — Wright in the 1,000-yard freestyle to lead off the meet on Wednesday, and Van Noort in the 500-yard freestyle on Friday. Van Noort also was second in the 1,000.

In diving, Monica Amaral of West Florida won the 3-meter competition to go with her title in the 1-meter she claimed on Thursday. It’s the second straight year she’s won both titles.

“I can’t say that I’m surprised because I worked so hard for this,” Amaral said. “But the other girls definitely didn’t make it easy for me. I wasn’t feeling good in the afternoon so I was really nervous. We were fighting dive after dive, so I think it was the best way possible to finish it.”

Team Standings (Top 5)

1. Queens (North Carolina), 467

2. Drury, 385

3. Wingate, 346

4. Nova Southeastern, 250

5. Lindenwood, 212

Day Four Event Champions

1,650-yard freestyle: Georgia Wright, West Chester, 16:22.92.

100-yard freestyle: Theresa Michalak, West Florida, 48.44 [meet record; old record 48.54, Patricia Castro-Ortega, Queens (North Carolina), 3/12/2016].

200-yard backstroke: Hannah Peiffer, Queens (North Carolina), 1:54.48 [meet record; old record 1:55.57, Caroline Arakelian, Queens (North Carolina), 3/15/2014].

200-yard breaststroke: Bailee Nunn, Drury, 2:09.12 [meet record; old record 2:10.72, Nunn, 3/11/2017 (preliminaries].

3-meter diving: Monica Amaral, West Florida, 505.20.

400-yard freestyle relay: Drury (Zuzanna Chwadeczko, Vera Johansson, Yekaterina Rudenko, Bailee Nunn), 3:20.03.