INDIANAPOLIS -- It was a night of firsts, and it was a night of feats for Denison. For the third consecutive year, Al Weik jump started the Big Red with a victory in the 500 freestyle, and junior Connor Dignan captured his first career national title in record-setting fashion in the 3-meter dive.
Through five events, Denison sits in first-place overall with 173 points. Kenyon trails in second-place with 104 points, while Emory sits third with 73 points.For Weik, the win in the 500 free was not only his third consecutive win in the event, it marked his eighth career national championship at Denison. In fact, subtract his 2011 national title as part of the 800 free relay, Weik's seven individual event titles are now tied with DU legend Aaron Cole for the most in program history.
Weik posted a winning time of 4:24.31, which was more than two seconds faster than his preliminary time of 4:26.73 which had him seeded first entering tonight's final. Weik's 2012 time of 4:21.79 set in this very pool remains the NCAA record.
Adding seven points to the Big Red's cause with a 10th place finish in the 500 freestyle was sophomore P.J. Fallon who touched in 4:29.60. He improved his preliminary time by slightly over one second.
After a stellar morning which resulted in DU swimmers taking up half of the eight lanes in tonight's championship final of the 200 IM, the Big Red would occupy places 3-6-7-8-15 to rack up 54 points in the event. Senior Carlos Maciel led the way with a career-best third-place finish after a time of 1:48.92. This marked Maciel's third All-American performance in the 200 IM and the 14th of his career.
Fellow Senior Spencer Fronk followed in sixth-place with a time of 1:49.96. After entering the meet seeded 24th, Fronk catapulted into the championship final with the second-fastest prelim time (1:49.31) on Wednesday morning.
After three swimming events, Denison held a 101-72 lead against Kenyon. It also allowed Denison's talented stable of divers to take center stage on the 3-meter board.
Dignan ripped through his 11 preliminary 3-meter dives and entered the six-dive final in first-place. First-year Max Levy and sophomore Ben Lewis also qualified for the 8-man final.
As the lights shined brighter, Denison's trio only seemed to get better as Dignan paced the group with a meet record score of 613.90. The win marked the second men's diving national championship in school history. The first was captured last year by Lewis, in the 1-meter board. Dignan's best dive of the night came on his sixth and final dive of the final where he popped off a score of 78.00 to distance himself from his teammate, Levy, who placed second with a score of 536.40.
In the final event of the night, Denison's 200 medley relay team rebounded from a disappointing preliminary time of 1:31.49 which landed them in tonight's consolation heat, rather than in the championship heat where Big Red relay teams have been a fixture over the last 25 years. The relay team of Fronk, Damon Rosenburg, Andrew Rich and Wuorinen made the best of the situation by winning the consolation heat in 1:29.63 to earn 18 points. Denison's primary completion, Kenyon, placed third in the championship heat, picking up 32 points in the process.