GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Kenyon College Ladies and Emory University Eagles staged a back-and-forth battle Thursday, the second day of the four-day NCAA Division III Women's Swimming and Diving Championship, which is being held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Kenyon, a 23-time national champion, and Emory, winners of the last six national championships, exchanged the lead four times Thursday. Emory entered the evening with an eight-point lead over Kenyon, but by the time the evening session ended that lead was down to two points. The Eagles will head into the third day of competition with 270 team points. Kenyon has 268 points. Denison University and Williams College are tied for third place with 182 points and Johns Hopkins has 102 points for fifth place.
Emory's 200 freestyle relay team of Fiona Muir, Marcela Sanchez-Aizcorbe, Meg Taylor and Marissa Bergh kicked things off in a big way, setting a new Division III record with a time of 1:31.42. Kenyon's team finished third.
The Ladies then pulled ahead of Emory by three points after the results of the 400-yard individual medley were calculated. In that event, the Ladies were paced by a second-place finish from Marysol Arce and a fourth-place finish from Mariah Williamson. Arce clocked in at 4:21.96 and Williamson finished in 4:22.56. That gave Kenyon a 183-180 lead on Emory.
MORE: Complete results from Day 2 of the DIII Swimming and Diving Championship
The Kenyon momentum didn't last long, however, because the Ladies had no qualifiers in the next event, the 100-yard butterfly. Meanwhile, Emory had three swimmers in the race and they combined to score 16 points, putting the Eagles back on top of the standings with 196 points, 13 more than Kenyon.
Next up was the 200-yard freestyle and four Kenyon freshmen combined to gain three points on Emory, which had Julia Wawer win the race in 1:48.88. Wawer's title is the 28th individual women's championship in school history. Abby Wilson was the Ladies' leader with a third-place finish and a time of 1:49.92.
The battle then turned to the diving well, where Kenyon's Maria Zarka successfully defended her 2015 title on the one-meter board. Zarka scored 50.0 or better in four of her last five dives and ran away with the 2016 title, scoring 484.50 points. Zarka is now a two-time NCAA champion on both the one-meter and three-meter boards.
MORE: Watch the replay of the Day 2 finals of the DIII Swimming and Diving Championship
In addition to grabbing another title, Zarka also pushed her Kenyon team back to the top of the leaderboard. She gained 20 points for her win and put the Ladies ahead of Emory 240-230.
That lead changed hands again at the conclusion of Thursday's final event, the 400-yard medley relay. Emory's team of Sanchez-Aizcorbe, Bergh, Annelise Kowalsky and Cindy Cheng took the title and collected 40 team points in a time of 3:42.76. Kenyon ended up fifth with 28 points and a time of 3:46.48. Emory has now won the national championship in all three relay events this year and the two on Thursday mark the 16th and 17th time a relay team has won the national championship in school history.