Division II Men’s Swimming and Diving: Day One

Two-time defending champion Queens (North Carolina) began its quest for a three-peat by compiling 142 points during the first day of the Division II Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships.

The Royals’ point total nearly doubled rival Drury’s 74 to lead the team standings. Grand Valley State is second in the team standings with 77 points.

The four-day meet is being conducted as part of the 2017 Division II National Championships Festival at the Birmingham CrossPlex.

LIVE: Updates, scores and video from the DII Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championship​

Forty of the Royals’ points came from the 200-yard medley relay quartet of Zach Bunner, Rostyslav Fedyna, Paul Pijulet and Ben Mayes, which set a meet record of 1:25.89. The record they beat was their own set in the preliminaries earlier in the day.

Queens also benefited from sophomore Marius Kusch, who added 20 points by winning the 200-yard individual medley. Kusch left little doubt at the start of the race after posting a 21.28 split in the lead-off butterfly portion.

“I wanted to take off fast at the beginning,” Kusch said. “I wanted to perform a very good 100 so that I had enough space.”

Bunner and Inigo Alarcia finished seventh and sixth, respectively, in that race to contribute another 25 points to Queens’ total.

Also for Queens, Dion Dreesens and Nick Arakelian placed fourth and seventh, respectively, in the 1,000-yard freestyle to add 27 more points.

Nova Southeastern junior Franco Lupoli had his way in that race, beating second-place Joan Casanovsa of Drury by about three seconds.

“I usually start very controlled, then build up and progress through the race,” Lupoli said. “That’s the way I have always done it, and it worked out.”

Serghei Golban, a junior from Lindenwood, won his second consecutive 50-yard freestyle during a race in which seven of the eight sprinters finished in under 20 seconds. Golban’s 19.53 was tops, though just shy of the 19.35 he swam last year.

“Last year was awesome and I had to defend it,” Golban said. “I wanted to go under 19, but the dream didn’t come true. A win is a win.”

Team Standings (Top 10)

1. Queens (North Carolina), 142

2. Grand Valley State, 77

3. Drury, 74

4. Nova Southeastern, 61

5. Florida Southern, 52

6. Lindenwood, 44

7. Colorado Mesa 42

8. California Baptist, 40

9. Delta State, 38

10. Wingate, 37

Day One Event Champions
1,000-yard freestyle: Franco Lupoli, Nova Southeastern, 9:01.02.

200-yard individual medley: Marius Kusch, Queens (North Carolina) 1:44.36.

50-yard freestyle: Serghei Golban, Lindenwood, 19.53.

3-meter diving: Brad Dalrymple, Grand Valley State, 513.70.

Men’s 200-yard medley relay: Queens (North Carolina) (Zach Bunner, Rostyslav Fedyna, Paul Pijulet, Ben Mayes), 1:25.89 [meet record, old record 1:25.95, Queens (North Carolina) (Bunner, Fedyna, Pijulet, Mayes), 3/8/2017 (preliminaries)]. 

Division II Women’s Swimming and Diving

Perennial powers Drury and Queens (North Carolina) are neck and neck in the team standings after day one of the Division II Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex.

Queens, which is gunning for a three-peat, trails the rival Panthers by just one point. Wingate is a distant third.

Forty of Drury’s points came from the 200-yard individual medley relay quartet of Yekaterina Rudenko, Zuzanna Chwadeczko, Vera Johansson and Bailee Nunn, which set a meet record of 1:38.78.

Nunn, a freshman, added 20 points by dominating the 200-yard individual medley. She took the lead during the backstroke and widened the margin during the breaststroke. Nunn beat runner-up Alexis Divelbiss of Wingate by more than two seconds.

Asked afterward how Nunn felt about the win, she said, “Relieved, I guess. I was kind of worried going into it, as I didn’t feel good this morning [for the prelims]. I wasn’t sure how tonight was going to end up.”

Obviously, it ended up pretty well not only for Nunn, but for Drury too.

Freshman Georgia Wright of West Chester got the meet off to a record-breaking start as she erased the longest-standing Division II mark in the women’s 1,000-yard freestyle. Wright’s time of 9:48.87 was almost two seconds better than what Southern Connecticut State’s Kristen Frost swam in 2008.

Wright took the lead from early front-runner Caroline Jouisse of Delta State at about the 800-yard mark and then held off runner-up Leonie Van Noort of Grand Valley State, whose second-place time of 9:49.18 also bested Frost’s previous record. Jouisse finished third in 9:52.73.

Wright said afterward she was “overwhelmed with everything” during her first DII championships meet. “I feel really proud, and I’m happy that my hard work paid off,” Wright said.

West Florida senior Theresa Michalak won the 50-yard freestyle — a race she doesn’t consider her primary event — in 22.79 seconds. Michalak is the defending champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, and she placed third in last year’s 100-yard butterfly.

“I was super excited,” she said. “I’ve never really swam the 50 free as a main event, and now I got to race it.”

Team Standings (Top 10)

1. Drury, 104

2. Queens (North Carolina), 103

3. Wingate, 60

4. Fresno Pacific, 57

5. West Chester, 51

6. Minnesota State Mankato, 43

7. Nova Southeastern, 40

8. Wayne State (Michigan), 37

9. Lindenwood, 35

10. Delta State, 30

Day One Event Champions
1,000-yard freestyle: Georgia Wright, West Chester, 9:48.87 (meet record; old record 9:50.49, Kristen Frost, Southern Connecticut State, 3/12/2008).

200-yard individual medley: Bailee Nunn, Drury, 1:56.51.

50-yard freestyle: Theresa Michalak, West Florida, 22.79.

200-yard medley relay: Drury (Yekaterina Rudenko, Zuzanna Chwadeczko, Vera Johansson, Bailee Nunn), 1:38.78 [meet record, old record 1:39.40, Drury (Yekaterina Rudenko, Zuzanna Chwadeczko, Abigail Lunzmann, Bailee Nunn)), 3/8/2017 (preliminaries)].