SHENANDOAH, Texas -- After needing to come from behind a year ago to earn its second consecutive team title, Kenyon needed no late heroics this year. The Lords led from wire to wire and cruised to the 2015 NCAA Division III Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship -- the program’s NCAA-record 34th championship in 36 years.
The 34th team national championship for Kenyon ties the Lords with the Oklahoma State men’s wrestling program for the most team championships in any division.
With the Conroe ISD serving as the championship backdrop for the second time in three years, Kenyon received record-breaking performances from sophomore Arthur Conover and senior Harrison Curley to put this year’s title on ice. All told, the Kenyon men won three individual titles and two relays but made their mark with 16 individual All-American and 12 honorable mention performances. All five of the Lords’ relay teams earned All-American status.
The meet in general generated electric times as 11 men's Division III records were broken over the course of the four-day event.
Conover opened the evening by earning his first national title with a NCAA Division III record-breaking swim of 15:01.34 in the 1,650 freestyle. It was the second-year swimmer’s seventh career All-American swim and the fourth this week as he took top honors in the 1,650 free.
Curley not only defended his crown in the 200 backstroke, but destroyed the Division III record he had set in the morning prelims, touching the wall in a blazing 1:43.49 to earn his second individual title of the meet and third overall. His back-to-back titles in the 200 back marks the eighth time an individual has defended his title at the national meet.
Emory's Andrew Wilson was named Male Swimmer of the Year and continued his dominant weekend by obliterating the Division III record he had just destroyed in the morning session. After lopping three full seconds off the former mark in the prelim session (1:54.68 from 1:57.79), Wilson knocked almost two more seconds off his newly minted mark, finishing with a winning time of 1:52.97 to earn his third individual title of the championships. His performance Saturday night produced the 11th fastest swim by an American in short course yards in the history of the event and is the 13th fastest all-time. Wilson currently owns three NCAA Division III records (the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke and the 200 individual medley). The national championship is the 19th overall in the history of the Emory men's swimming and diving program, and the 16th in an individual event.
Rowan's Jesse Novak earned his second national title of the weekend with a winning time of 43.68 in the 100 freestyle. He won the 50 free on Wednesday. The win marks the first national title in the even for the Rowan program and just the fourth individual national championship in the sport of men’s swimming. Novak is the seventh different swimmer in Division III history to sweep the 50 and 100 free at the national meet.
Denison's Max Levy completed his sweep of the boards, nailing his last attempt to overtake teammate Connor Dignan and win the 3-meter board with a score of 580.85. Levy was selected the Male Diver of the Year. Dignan, the defending champion in the event, finished second with a score of 570.60 and Ithaca's Matthew Morrison of Ithaca was third with a score of 561.00.
Although it had little to do with determining the national team champion, the final race was exciting nonetheless as TCNJ and Chicago touched at the exact same time (2:57.85) to share top honors in the men’s 400 meter relay. Joe Dunn, Brian Perez, Scott Vitabile and Brett Pedersen led the TCNJ effort while Mantim Lee, Thomas Meek, Jeremy Estes and Matthew Veldman swam for Chicago. Gettysburg finished third in a time of 2:57.93.
In additional voting that took place following the championship meet, Kenyon head coach Jess Book was selected as Men’s Coach of the Year and Denison head diving coach Russ Bertram was named Men’s Diving Coach of the Year.