March 17, 2010

By Judd Spicer
Special to NCAA.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Amidst the raucous celebration of multiple St. Patrick’s Day parades on both halves of the Twin Cities, the Division III Swimming and Diving Championships got underwater Wednesday at Minnesota’s University Aquatic Center. As athletes left the streets of green for the pools of blue at the event hosted by Beloit and Wooster Colleges, competitors hoped the northern waters would hold a little luck.

A shocking development on the women’s side came when freshman Caroline Wilson crushed the former championship record in the 500 freestyle with a time 4:45.47, cruising past the previous record of 4:47.04 set last year by Liz Horvat of Emory. Horvat was in the field to defend her title, but finished in fourth, nearly seven seconds behind Wilson.

“I just wanted to stay in the race with whoever was going to be among the top people,” a somewhat stunned Wilson said after her feat. “I was working so hard all season and I was just hoping it would pay off in the end – and it definitely did.”

To close out the first day, one more defense was in order as three of the four members (Olivia Zaleski, Ksenia Golovkina, and Kate Rich) of Denison’s 2008-09 record-setting 200 medley relay team returned to repeat. While their time Wednesday (1:42.92) did not break last year’s mark, the win solidified the Big Red’s standing for second place in overall women’s team standings. Emory led with 135 points to Denison’s 102. Williams College, which notched two event wins, is third with 81 points while three-time defending champion Kenyon is in fourth place with 70 points.