GRANVILLE — With a pair of record-setting swims, Kenyon College freshman Crile Hart stole the show at the Trumbull Aquatics Center on Thursday, the second day of the four-day North Coast Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championship.
In the morning preliminaries, Hart posted a time of 2:00.94 in the 200-yard individual medley. That time shattered the pool, Kenyon and NCAC records. When she came back for the finals session in the evening, she clipped even more time off that record, winning the event in 1:59.70—the fastest time in NCAA Division III this season. The previous pool and conference record in the event was 2:03.06. The previous Kenyon record was 2:02.18, set by Kenyon’s Julia Wilson one year ago.
Meanwhile, the Kenyon College men’s swimming and diving team came into Thursday’s finals with a slim lead over second-place Denison University. By the time the evening was over, the host Big Red clawed its way to the top of the standings with 651.5 points.
The Lords did collect one event win during the evening session and finished the night with 622.5 team points, settling into second place with two more days of competition remaining. DePauw University moved into third place with 412.5 points, Wabash College is fourth with 323 points and Ohio Wesleyan University rounded out the top-five with 282 points in the 10-team field.
The Lords’ lone win of the evening came from sophomore Connor Rumpit, who posted a time of 4:28.03 to win the 500-yard freestyle for the second straight season. Rumpit overcame Denison’s James Baker around the 350-yard mark and stayed in front the rest of the way. It was Rumpit’s third career NCAC event title and it kept Kenyon atop the leaderboard. Denison, however, placed the next five swimmers behind Rumpit to close the gap to 22 points.
Kenyon created a bit more breathing room in the next event, the 200-yard individual medley. Although Denison’s Ryan Stevenson won the event (1:50.58), the Lords got third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes from senior Gabriel Bellott-McGrath (1:51.77), sophomore Colin Reardon (1:52.00) and freshman Eamonn Keenan (1:52.78), respectively.
Denison then grabbed its first lead of the championship. By taking the top four spots and five of the top-seven spots in the 50-yard freestyle, the Big Red moved their team total to 581.5 points. Meanwhile, Kenyon finished the event with 560.5 team points. The Lords’ best showing in the sprint came from freshman David Fitch, who tied for fourth place with a time of 20.66.
The session concluded the same way it started for the Lords, with a second-place finish. Early in the evening, Kenyon grabbed the runner-up spot in the 200-yard freestyle relay with the team of Weston Carpenter, Reilly Shields, David Fitch and Matthew Cooper clocking in at 1:22.29. Fitch and Cooper later paired with Ben Baturka and Kieran Allsop to close out the evening with a second-place time of 3:19.84.
Rewinding to the start of Thursday’s finals session, the Ladies kicked things off by ending Denison’s 10-year win streak in the 200-yard freestyle relay and, of course, Hart was involved. She joined fellow freshman Celina German and Emmerson Mirus, as well as junior Abby Wilson to finish in 1:32.73, edging Denison’s relay team by about a half second. Kenyon’s last win in the conference event came at the 2007 championship meet.
In between those two races, Denison’s Hannah Rusinko won the 500-yard freestyle, overcoming Kenyon freshman Alexis Vetrano in the final 100. Vetrano’s runner-up finish (4:53.77), however, was followed by three more Kenyon swimmers. Hannah Orbach-Mandel placed third (4:57.50), Marysol Arce was fourth (5:00.21) and Maddie Westover (5:00.90) was fifth. The Kenyon surge pushed the Ladies’ team lead to 49 points over the Big Red.
Mirus then tacked on another Kenyon victory, this one taking place in the 50-yard freestyle. She turned in a winning time of 23.51 and got support from Abby Wilson, who took third place in 23.85. With the win, Mirus became the fourth different Kenyon swimmer to win the event in the past five years.
Despite those individual wins from Hart and Mirus, Kenyon’s lead over the Big Red diminished. Heading into the one-meter diving competition, the Ladies’ cushion was down to four points. After the diving results came in, the Ladies trailed Denison by 27 points. The Big Red took three of the top four spots, including the top two, in the event. Kenyon junior Madeline Carlson broke up the Big Red run by earning a third-place finish with a score of 408.45.
Denison then tacked on another win to close out the evening. The Big Red out-touched Kenyon to win the 400-yard medley relay in 3:44.03. Kenyon’s squad consisted of Hart, Makena Markert, Myanna Cook and Orbach-Mandel. The Ladies clocked in at 3:44.04 with Orbach-Mandel speeding to a freestyle split of 49.68 to nearly catch the Big Red at the wall.
That left Denison with 695 points and the top spot in the standings. Kenyon closed out the evening with 660 points, while DePauw University and The College of Wooster both occupied third place with identical team totals of 355.5 points. Allegheny College tallied 305 points and rounded out the top five in the nine-team field.