INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Kenyon College Lords had a couple of strong individual-event performances during Thursday’s session of the 2018 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championship. Those results, however, weren’t enough to move the needle for the Lords, who remained in third place at the halfway point of the four-day national meet.
Denison University claimed two event wins and remained in first place, improving its point total to 325.5. Emory University won both relay events Thursday night and also stayed ahead of Kenyon, finishing the evening in second place with 200 points. Kenyon holds third place with 186 points, while Johns Hopkins University sits fourth with 166 points.
Despite a huge push late in the session, the Ladies fell from second to third place. Eight-time defending champion Emory University remains in first place with 318 points at the meet’s halfway point. Williams College got three event wins and powered past Kenyon, taking over second place with 254 points. Kenyon is now third with 243 points, while Denison crept into the race and holds fourth place with 203 points.
Freshman David Fitch turned in the Lords’ top showing of the night. He placed fourth in the 100-yard butterfly with a personal-best time of 48.34, edging his previous best of 48.49. In the same event, junior Jon Zimdars won the consolation finals, placing ninth overall with a time of 48.66. At the time, those Kenyon finishes were enough to boost the Lords into second place in the overall team standings.
One event before the 100-yard butterfly, Kenyon sophomore Colin Reardon claimed a seventh-place finish in the 400-yard individual medley. After placing 10th in the event at last year’s championship, Reardon clocked in at 3:58.84 Thursday and claimed his second career All-America award. Mick Bartholomew, also a sophomore, took 10th place in the consolation heat and junior Brooks McCoy placed 14th. Bartholomew stopped the clock at 3:55.99 and McCoy finished in 3:58.74.
Kenyon got another chunk of points in the 200-yard freestyle race and maintained its second-place position in the standings. All of Lords’ points in that race were collected in the consolation heat, where senior Matt Leenhouts led the way by taking 10th place with a time of 1:38.59. Junior Robert Williams claimed 11th place (1:38.89), freshman Tim Hagemeister locked up 12th (1:39.17) and sophomore Reilly Shields finished in 16th place (1:40.62).
The Lords, traditionally strong in relays, found them to be a bit of a struggle Thursday. They opened the meet with a fifth-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay and closed the meet with a ninth-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay. The team’s inability to get that 400 medley relay team into the championship final made way for Emory to regain second place, relegating Kenyon back to third.
Kenyon’s fifth-place 200 free relay team, which clocked in at 1:20.94 consisted of Shields, Tommy Weiss, Matthew Cooper and Fitch. The 400 medley relay team, which finished in 3:16.41, was made up of Ben Baturka, Alexander Law, Fitch and Cooper.
The Ladies capped off Thursday’s session with a title-winning swim in the 400-yard medley relay. It was the Ladies’ second event title in the first two days of the four-day meet.
During that title swim, the Ladies found themselves trailing Denison University by nearly two seconds after the first two legs. Kenyon freshman Crile Hart then took over the butterfly leg, as well as the race. She covered her 100 yards in 52.94, erased the deficit and put the Ladies ahead by a half of a second going into the final leg. Junior Hannah Orbach-Mandel anchored the team and closed out the win by completing her freestyle duties in 49.51.
The team’s final time of 3:39.95 was a Kenyon record, topping the previous College mark of 3:40.13 set at the 2013 national meet.
The NCAA event title was a first for Orbach-Mandel, who previously had 11 top-five finishes in national events. It also was a first for junior Caitlin Foley, who swam the backstroke leg, and for Julia Wilson, now a 14-time All-American, who swam the breaststroke leg. The title was the second for Hart, who won the 200-yard individual medley Wednesday night.
Kenyon held on to its second-place position after the night’s first event, the 200-yard freestyle relay. In that race, the Ladies team placed runner-up with a time of 1:32.77. Zoe Toscos, Abby Wilson, Princess Vilan Ferguson-Nguyen and Emmerson Mirus were responsible for that Kenyon finish. Williams got a 21.95 split from its anchor and won the event with a time of 1:32.48. The win temporarily put the Ephs in first place, just two points ahead of the Ladies.
The standings were shuffled again at the conclusion of the 400-yard individual medley. Emory and Denison swimmers claimed five of the top six spots, while Kenyon’s best finish was a 14th-place showing from junior Marysol Arce, who finished in 4:26.65. Those results thrust Emory back into the lead with 191 points. Williams dropped to second with 174 points and Kenyon slid to third place with 155 points.
Without a qualifier in the 100-yard butterfly, the idle Ladies could only watch as Emory and Williams tacked on more points. Additionally, Denison, scored 29 points in the event and pulled within one point of Kenyon, which remained in third with 155 points.
The only other event of the night for the women was the 200-yard freestyle. The Ladies had great success in the event, but Emory, once again, stole the show with the top-two finishes and four of the top-nine finishes. Kenyon was led by Orbach-Mandel, who captured third with a time of 1:48.45. Sophomore Kendall Vanderhoof was fifth with a personal record of 1:49.19. Abby Wilson placed eighth in 1:50.57 and Delaney Ambrosen was 10th, hitting the wall in 1:50.24.