Marius Kusch of Queens (North Carolina) won his second event of the meet in record fashion to help keep the Royals comfortably atop the team standings after day three of the Division II Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships.
The meet is being conducted as part of the Division II National Championships Festival at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
Kusch led throughout the 200-yard butterfly on his way to a record time of 1:42.04. Kusch also won the 200-yard individual medley on Wednesday.
“I could already tell after my 100 fly that my stroke was going for the 200 fly,” Kusch said. “So it was already pretty easy in the morning and knew I had more in the tank.”
Kusch wasn’t the only Royals swimmer to win an event. In the 100-yard backstroke, Paul Pijulet outdueled Lindenwood’s Serghei Golban to win his second individual title of the meet. Pijulet won the 100-yard butterfly on Thursday and placed third in the 50-yard freestyle on Wednesday.
Golban successfully defended his title in the 50-yard freestyle on Wednesday but couldn’t overtake Pijulet in the 100 back. He’ll have another chance to defend a crown in the 100-yard freestyle on Saturday.
Pijulet and Kusch also joined with Dion Dreesens and Nick Arakelian to set another meet record in the 800-yard freestyle relay to wrap up the evening. The Royals’ time of 6:18.46 shattered the previous time of 6:23.62 Queens posted last year.
Those wins helped boost Queens’ point total to 450.5, well ahead of second-place Drury. Nova Southeastern is in third, followed by Grand Valley State and Florida Southern.
In the lead-off event of Friday’s finals, Drury’s Joan Casanovas stopped Dreesens’ attempt to win his second consecutive 500-yard freestyle. Dreesens, who won his second straight 200-yard freestyle on Thursday, made a late bid to repeat in the 500, but Casanovas broke free from Dreesens and Arakelian (who won the 500 in 2015) at about the halfway mark and held off Dreesens at the end.
Casanovas, who is competing in his first nationals in the U.S., said he didn’t expect such an outcome. “I don’t know if there are words to explain how I am feeling right now,” he said. “I am so happy and I did my best time. I’m looking for a win tomorrow in the mile, so we will see what happens.”
In diving, Clarion’s Colin Vest unseated defending champion Brad Dalrymple of Grand Valley State in the 1-meter competition. Vest was runner-up to Dalrymple in this event last year. It was a turn-about after Dalrymple dethroned Vest in the 3-meter on Wednesday.
Team Standings (Top 5)
- 1. Queens (North Carolina), 450.5
- 2. Drury, 276
- 3. Nova Southeastern, 214
- 4. Grand Valley State, 207
- 5. Florida Southern, 197
Day Three Event Champions
500-yard freestyle: Joan Casanovas, Drury, 4:18.64.
100-yard backstroke: Paul Pijulet, Queens (North Carolina), 46.58.
100-yard breaststroke: Anton Lobanov, Nova Southeastern, 51.76.
200-yard butterfly: Marius Kusch, Queens (North Carolina), 1:42.04 [meet record; old record 1:42.96, Matthew Josa, Queens (North Carolina), 3/13/2015].
1-meter diving: Collin Vest, Clarion, 534.55.
800-yard freestyle relay: Queens (North Carolina) (Dion Dreesens, Paul Pijulet, Marius Kusch, Nick Arakelian), 6:18.46 [meet record; old record 6:23.62, Queens (North Carolina) (Dion Dreesens, Ben Taylor, Nick Arakelian, Parker Cook-Weeks), 3/11/2016].