INDIANAPOLIS -- Powered by a title-winning swim from junior Harrison Curley and a strong push from a trio of breaststrokers, Kenyon surged to the top of the standings Saturday night and claimed the 2014 NCAA Division III Men's Swimming and Diving Championship. The trophy was Kenyon's second in a row and its NCAA-record 33rd in the last 35 seasons.
As the final count indicated, this was no runaway victory for the Lords. In fact, for most of the meet they were chasing the first-place Denison Big Red, who entered Saturday, the fourth and final day of the championship, with a 28-point cushion against Kenyon.
The Big Red first looked to Allen Weik to get things rolling and he responded with his fourth-consecutive win in the 1,650-yard freestyle. He clocked in at 15:05.60, but his result did not stop Kenyon from knocking on the door. Freshman Arthur Conover placed third in the event (15:19.33), senior Andrew Chevalier placed eighth (15:37.62), freshman Alex Seaver was 15th (15:53.46) and junior Joe Guilfoyle was 16th (15:53.96). In all, Kenyon's depth outscored Denison 30 to 25 in the 1,650 and the Lords trimmed their overall deficit to 23 points.
Kenyon inched five points closer in the next event, the 100 freestyle. A second-place swim from junior Austin Caldwell (44.46) paired with a 12th-place showing from sophomore Joey Duronio (45.01) kept momentum on the Lords' side.
Curley then rode the Kenyon wave right into a title-winning swim in the 200 backstroke. He captured gold by turning in a Kenyon record time of 1:45.11, which broke his previous mark of 1:45.80 set earlier this season. It was Kenyon's second event title of the 2014 championship and pulled the Lords within 11 points (431-420) of first-place Denison.
The event that changed everything was the 200 breaststroke, the championship's next-to-last race. Kenyon had three swimmers gain top-ten finishes, while Denison could muster no better than a 13th-place finish and watched its lead disappear. Freshman Trevor Manz set the pace for Kenyon as he tied for third place with a time of 1:59.62. Senior Alex Beckwith claimed seventh place in 2:01.15 and freshman Ian Reardon rounded out the trio with a tenth-place time of 2:01.63. Kenyon ended up outscoring Denison 37.5 to 7 in the event and took a 16-point lead (454-438) in the team standings.
That left only the 400 freestyle relay to be contested. Denison did everything it could to reclaim its spot atop the standings, but the Big Red's second-place finish in the relay meant Kenyon's sixth-place showing was more than enough. The quartet of Duronio, Percy Gates, Austin Pu, and Caldwell brought things home for the Lords with a time of 3:00.10.