SHENANDOAH, Texas — Emory University continues to lead on both the men’s and women’s side as day two of the 2017 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships came to a conclusion Thursday evening at the Conroe ISD Natatorium.
On the women’s side, the seven-time defending champions are marching closer to another title. The Eagles extended their lead over Williams from 36 to 105 points and stand at 330 total points at the halfway point of the meet. Williams trails with 225 points while Kenyon (208) and Denison (175) round out the top four.
On the men’s side, Emory continues to hold off Kenyon, 244 to 214.5. Defending champion Denison is third with 193 points, and Johns Hopkins is fourth with 177.
Emory has swept all six relays over the course of the first two days of the championships and have set NCAA Division III records in four of them.
On Thursday, the 200-yard women’s freestyle relay team of Fiona Muir, Marcela Sanchez-Aizcorbe, Megan Taylor and Marissa Bergh started the evening off with a NCAA Division III record swim, touching the wall in a time of 1:30.52 and breaking the previous mark of 1:31.42 the team set a year ago. The victory was the fifth in the last seven years in the event for the Eagles. Williams finished second in a time of 1:32.90 and Denison was third with a 1:33.59 finish.
In the evening’s final event, the 400-meter medley relay team consisting of Cindy Cheng, Annelise Kowalsky, Sanchez-Aizcorbe and Muir set a new NCAA mark with a finishing time of 3:39.57. The victory marked Emory’s third straight win in the event and makes the Eagles the first women’s program to win three straight in the 400 medley relay since Kenyon won nine consecutive from 1985-1993. Williams came in second in a time of 3:40.57 and Kenyon was third with a finishing time of 3:43.47.
On the men’s side, the defending national champions in the 200-yard free relay backed up their title from a year ago as the team of Trey Kolleck, Aaron Schwartz, Alex Hardwick and Oliver Smith touched first in a time of 1:19.03. With the victory, the program became the first to win back-to-back championships in the event since Kenyon in 2012 and 2013. Johns Hopkins was second in a time of 1:21.07 and Wisconsin-Stevens Point placed third in a time of 1:21.25.
In the final event of the evening, the Emory men broke the 400-yard medley relay record they had set in the morning prelims, touching the wall in the evening session in a time of 3:10.51. The team of Sage Ono, Andrew Wilson, Christian Baker and Smith posted the program’s fifth national title of the 2017 championships. Williams finished in second place with a time of 3:15.72 and Johns Hopkins was third in a time of 3:16.04.
Cindy Cheng of Emory gave the Eagles another individual title when she took first in the 200 free with a finishing time of 1:46.82. It was her first national title after finishing sixth in the event the last two years. Her teammate, Fiona Muir, placed second in a time of 1:47.78 and Kenyon’s Hannah Orbach-Mandel was third with a finishing time of 1:48.83.
Andrew Wilson of @EmorySwimming ...absolutely legendary. Third fastest 100 breast split ever. Wow.— Mitch Stahara (@m1tch_please) March 17, 2017
In addition to the 200 free and 400 medley relay wins on Thursday evening, the Emory women picked up All-America swims by Julia Dermer and Ming-fen Ong in the 400 IM, Megan Campbell and Sanchez-Aizcorbe in the 100 fly and Cheng, Muir and Julia Wawer in the 200 free.
For the men, in addition to the sweep of the 200 free and 400 medley relays, the Eagles garnered All-America swims by Thomas Gordon and Christian Baker in the 200 free.
Three swimmers from Williams College also had big nights as Megan Pierce and Emma Waddell both picked up individual national titles for the women and Ben Lin earned a national title for the men.
Pierce defended her title in the 400 IM and became just the third swimmer in NCAA Division III history to post three career wins in the event. She touched in a winning time of 4:15.71. Julia Durmer of Emory finished second with a time of 4:18.13 and Bridgitte Kwong of Amherst was third in a time of 4:21.77.
Waddell made it back-to-back titles for the Ephs on the evening as she took first in the 100 fly with a time of 53.48. The championship was the second of her career in the event and her second of the championships following her win in the 50 free on Wednesday evening. Niamh O’Grady of Washington (Mo.) placed second with a time of 54.13 and Megan Campbell of Emory was third in a time of 54.80.
Lin took first place in the 100 fly with a time of 47.37 after finishing second in the event a year ago. Bouke Edskes of MIT was second in a time of 47.41 and Matt Williams of Claremont-Mudd Scripps placed third in a time of 47.80.
Lin also set a new NCAA record as the leadoff swimmer on the Ephs’ 400 medley relay team during the morning prelims. His 100 backstroke time of 46.93 set a new national standard.
Jackson Lindell of Denison posted the first national title swim of the 2017 meet for the defending men’s team champions, as he backed up his individual title from a year ago in the 400 IM with a winning time of 3:47.31. The championship is the fourth for Lindell as an individual and his fifth overall. Ian Rainey of NYU placed second with a time of 3:50.65 and Ian Reardon of Kenyon was third in a time of 3:52.34.
Max Levy of Denison earned his second career title on the 1-meter board, posting a score of 553.45 to give the Big Red their second individual gold of the evening. It was his third career diving title after having swept the 1- and 3-meter boards in 2015. Samuel Randall of SUNY-Geneseo, the defending national champion in the event, finished second with a score of 511.50 and Connor Brission of NYU placed third with a score of 502.60.
Evan Holder of Johns Hopkins took first place in the 200 free — breaking a 29-year old NCAA record in the process — when he touched in a time of 1:36.42. It was the senior’s third All-America swim of the meet. Thomas Gordon of Emory was second in a time of 1:37.08 and Ryan Boraski of Keene State finished third with a time of 1:37.10.
The championships continue Friday morning with prelims beginning at 10 a.m. CT, followed by finals at 6 p.m. This year’s championship event is being hosted by the City of Shenandoah and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.