Denison gets third NCAC title in a row
The Big Red set a new conference record with 19 victories en route to the program's third consecutive win at the North Coast Athletic Conference Championship from C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, Ohio. Not only did Denison walk away with their fourth overall conference title, they did it in style. DU piled up six meet records while defeating second-place Kenyon by 347 points. That's the largest margin of victory at a conference championship since 1987-88 and it's the fifth-largest margin in the 27-year history of the conference.
Denison senior Ksenia Golovkina was named the women's Swimmer of the Year after an eye-popping swim in tonight's 200 breaststroke. Golovkina totaled five conference titles over the weekend and set new conference marks in both breaststroke events. Tonight, Golovkina shattered the school record, and meet record by three seconds. The previous DU record belonged to Lauren Smith (2:19.59) and had stood since 1999.
Denison's consecutive win streak came to an end in the 200 butterfly when Kenyon's Hannah Saiz broke the NCAC record with a time of 2:01.80. Coming in second was Laurel Brabson in 2:05.35. In prelims, Brabson posted a strong 'B' cut time of 2:03.35.
Despite the loss, Denison recovered quickly and won the 400 free relay for the third consecutive year and the sixth time overall. Tully Bradford started things off and Alyssa Swanson followed with a 50.19 split to hold the Big Red's lead. The relay was closed out by Victoria Masney and Marit Wangstad as DU ended with an 'A' cut time of 3:25.40.
Swanson, who won six championships this year to run her career title to 12, led a group of eight DU swimmers in the 100 freestyle. Swanson defended her crown in the event with a season-best and 'A' cut time of 51.10. Denison's seven other swimmers in the event all placed in the top-10. Earning 'B' cuts from that group were Wangstad, Masney, Morgan Nuess and Maddie Armitage.
Three-peats seemed to be the theme of the evening for the Big Red and two swimmers that didn't break the trend were Hilary Callen and Emily Schroeder. Both won their respective events for the third consecutive year and both posted season-best swims in the events. For Callen, it came in the 1650 freestyle where she pulled away from Kenyon's Caitlin Meirs over the final 200 yards for an 'A' cut time of 16:59.25. This was also Callen's third win of the championship and her ninth NCAC title, overall.
For Schroeder, the 200 backstroke crown was hers for the third time. She touched in 2:00.99, just missing her own NCAC record of 2:00.88 set last year. Second-place was taken by Lindsay Zeberlein who picked up another 'A' cut with a swim of 2:02.54. Sarah Yu and Cari Martin posted provisional times in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
In addition to Golovkina's Swimmer of the Year award, DU took two other awards in the post-meet ceremony. Second-year diving coach Jason Glorius won his second consecutive Coach of the Year award and senior Lizzie Litwak earned her first NCAC Diver of the Year plaque after her victory in Friday's three-meter dive.