College Swimming Roundup: D2 NCAA's in Review, CSCAA NIC

Indy and Nova Win Their First National Titles

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This week featured the D2 National Championships and the CSCAA National Invitational Championships.

Division II National Championships

Legendary IUPUI Natatorium hosted the D2 National Championships, where two new team champions were guaranteed to be crowed as multi-time defending champs Queens headed off to D1.

Day One featured the 800 free relays, and the Nova Southeastern women took control from the get-go. Emilia Ronningdal led off over a second ahead of any other first leg (1:47.06) and while Drury made it a race through three legs, Emily Trieschmann anchored in 1:47.21 to seal the win. The Sharks didn't quite hit their division record, but did get a new meet record of 7:13.65.

On the men's side, McKendree provided a foreshadowing of their relay excellence. Gregg Lichinsky, hands-down the best relay performer in the meet, led off in a race-leading 1:34.76 that would have placed second in the individual event. Tampa and Wingate's mighty middle distance squads pulled ahead in the middle of the race (Hayden Curley 1:36.38/Caleb Brandon 1:36.00 for Tampa, Viacheslav Ohnov 1:36.71/Gabriel Costa 1:35.75 for Wingate), then McKendree's Alireza Yavari dove in on the anchor. He passed up Wingate by the 100, then reeled in a tightening up Santiago Aguilera to win at the touch, 6:22.46 to 6:22.52. Yavari's 1:33.94 split was the fastest in the field, and he knew right away he did something special.

Day Two featured the first overall national record on the week. Emily Trieschmann nipped her record from Sunshine State Conference Champs with a 9:43.25 1000, leading 4 NSU scorers to start stretching the Shark lead. In the men's 1000, sub-9 is a rare occurance in D2, but we saw 3 guys break that mark, led by Indy's Cedric Buessing in 8:55.88. He made a move at the 850 to overtake Tampa's Hayden Curley (8:58.22), while Oklahoma Christian's Victor Rosado (8:56.94) cranked the tempo on the last 50 to also pass up Curley.

The splash-and-dash 50 free featured the second national record of the evening and week, as Indy's Johanna Buys popped a 22.10 for the win. Of note, runner-up Bryn Greenwaldt is a freshman and two-sport competitor (track and field) for Augustana. Henderson State swept the top two spots in the men's edition - Lamar Taylor won to kick-start his notable week with a 19.04, with teammate Jack Armstrong coming in at 19.30. The rest of the race finished within .22 of him for an exciting podium battle. This was the first national championship for HSU since Zack Interrante's 100 fly in 2010.

A great race for the men's 400 IM title was a highlight of Day Three. Tampa's Santiago Corredor took the race out fast, hitting the 200 at 1:48.54 with a half a second lead on Colorado Mesa's Ben Sampson. Sampson, Indy's Cedric Buessing, and NSU's Jarryd Baxter moved past Corredor in the breaststroke, but Corredor blasted a tremendous 49.88 free leg to eke out the win in 3:45.30. Buessing and Sampson finished just behind, 3:45.41 and 3:45.98, while Baxter faded to 6th.

NSU's Emilia Ronningdal took her third win of the meet (the aforementioned 800 free relay champ leadoff also won the 200 IM) with a 1:47.11 200 free win. NSU also had the women's 400 IM champ in May Lowy, who led wire to wire for a 4:13.80. The Sharks built up their team lead - now up by 73 points - even further by the end of the day, moving to 3/3 on relays with a solid 400 medley relay win.

Meanwhile, McKendree staged another come-from-behind relay victory. Gregg Lichinsky (who also won the 100 fly in 45.85 on the day) dove in for his anchor .7 behind Drury and a touch behind Findlay. He unleashed a 41.74 free leg, one of the fastest in D2 history, to pass up both teams for the win in 3:08.08. At the halfway point in the team race, however, Indy's depth resulted in a 57 point lead over the Bearcats.

Day Four was highlighted by second individual event wins for the two biggest champions of the meet. First, NSU's distance ace Emily Treischmann took the 500 by four and a half seconds in 4:45.56. NSU's distance strength (they scored 4 in this event) pushed their team lead over Indy to over 100 points at this point. A few events later, HSU's Lamar Taylor took his second win with a 45.95 in the 100 back. He held off underwater ace Tim Stollings from Findlay and a hard charging Nathan Bighetti from Drury.

Down in the B final of the race was Noah Clancy of Missouri S&T, who had one of the more notable daily doubles I've seen - he took 13th in the 100 back, nominally his best event, and then a few minutes later dove in for the 100 breast, using the fastest back half in the entire event to win the B final in 52.84, a big school record and a time that would have placed third in the big final.

The biggest swim of the day, and perhaps the week, was still to come. McKendree's Jack Lustig has dominated the 200 fly all season and capped his campaign with a new national record 1:40.75. He swam a balanced race, splitting 22.39/25.35/26.29/26.72, winning by four and a half seconds. That swim is the 7th fastest through all divisions thus far this season.

The 200 free relays were notable for an Indy sweep. The Indy women all split sub-23s, a rarity in D2, to take the win in 1:30.58 - over a second and a half ahead of the runners-up Colorado Mesa, while the men took advantage of an 18.63 split (the only sub-19 in the field) from Diego Mas to take a big half-second win of their own (1:17.17).

Day Five started with NSU's Trieschmann's third individual win - sweeping the distance frees with a 16:30.11 mile.

The men's mile was a heck of a race - Indy's Cedric Buessing led by three seconds at the 1000 but GVSU's Eric Hieber made his move from there, drawing even with Buessing by the 1450 and bringing the race home in a 24.14 final split for a 15:03.48-15:03.85 win.

HSU's Taylor also took his third win of the week in the 100 free. The only man out under 20, he held off McKendree's relay hero Lichinsky for a 42.30-42.37 thriller, while nobody else was within a second.

Indy's women started making a move at the beginning of this session - they scored 2 in the mile, went 2 up/1 down in the 100 free and 200 back, and won the 400 free relay to pull to within 50 points of NSU, but the Sharks held on. Besides Trieschmann, their best performace of the day was Savanna Best's comeback from a second down to touch out CMU's Lily Borgenheimer in the 200 breast 2:11.79-2:11.823. That gave Best the breaststroke double as she had also won the 100 in 1:01.13.

The meet ended with yet another McKendree relay comeback. This time anchor extraordinaire Lichinsky dove in .4 behind Indy and tied with Tampa and split a 41.88 to take the win.

All told, two teams won their first ever NCAA titles. The Nova Southeastern women used 2 individual event wins a day and 3 overall relay wins to head up the podium, followed by trophy winners Indy, Drury, and Colorado Mesa.

The Indy men only won 1 individual event, but their depth - 15 scorers between swimmers and divers for an 18 man roster! - carried them past Drury, McKendree, and Tampa for their first title.

CSCAA National Invitational Championship

The NIC is fast becoming a great alternative for swimmers and teams that didn't make NCAAs to have another chance to race before the end of the season.

The Queens men, in their first year of D1 competition, didn't lose their stride in championship meets - they took 12 wins, 7 more than runner-up Tennessee, to win the meet. Alex Bauch and Alex Kunert led the way for the Royals. The former Alex took the 50 and 100 back with 21.34/45.67 times (he split 20.85 leading off their winning 200 medley relay), and added a 21.33 50 fly and 49.04 100 IM. Kunert, the former D2 record-holder in the 200 fly before Jack Lustig came along, won that event in 1:43.31 and added wins in the 200 free (1:34.59) and 200 IM (1:45.77). Queens also swept the relays - their most impressive perhaps a 1:24.85 200 medley relay (20.85/24.25/21.09/18.66).

You don't typically see a lot of all-time best times at this meet, so UCSD's Andrija Petkovic had a notable meet with 20.16/43.28/1:35.49 free and 21.96 back PRs.

As an interesting note on the men's side, IUPUI breaststroker Logan Kelly swam at the meet. As this meet typically specifies that competitors not be selected for NCAAs, it'll be interesting to see if he scratches out of the national championships, or if he was eligible for the meet because he chose not to swim the event he was selected in (200 breast).

On the women's side, the University of Tennessee took only two individual event wins (Abby Samansky, 49.37 100 free; Olivia Harper, 24.70 50 back), but every single on of their 13-person roster scored points, carrying them to a big win over the likes of Akron, Ohio State, and Indiana. The mile was a great race, seeing UCSD's Juli Arzave make up three seconds on Queens's Sophie Lange for the win, 16:14.97-16:15.40. Those are both PRs (Arzave dropped over 12 seconds!) and both very close to what it took to make NCAAs this year.

Next Week Preview:

NCAA Women's DI Champs - Will Virginia continue their dominance? Can Texas's small but mighty squad and diving talent or Stanford's Olympians keep it close?

We interviewed Cal Head Coach Dave Durden yesterday. Check it out here to preview Women's NCAA's:

And check out our predictions:

NCAA DIII Champs - A close women's meet with Denison, Emory, and Kenyon. Another potential Emory men's runaway win - but I don't think Kenyon is backing down!

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