By Alex Caprara and Laura Carr
Assistant Photo Editor and Editor-in-Chief
The Denison Big Red men’s and women’s swim teams have reputations for turning heads, and this past weekend at the Miami University Invitational was no exception.
Highlights included 86 combined NCAA “B” cuts, 13 event champions, two school records and one meet and one pool record.
The men’s team won the meet, defeating Division III rival Emory University, Division I Miami and Division II Urbana. The women’s team placed fourth place, falling to Miami, Emory and Division I Toledo, whilst eclipsing Division I Ball State and Urbana. It is important to note that while the women placed fourth overall, they were second among Division III competition.
The meet kicked off on Thursday. Carolyn Kane ’17, Ashley Yearwood ’16, Kate Wright ’16 and Mary Van Leuven ’16 claimed third in the women’s 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:32.93. On the men’s side, Ryan Fleming ’16, Conrad Wuorinen ’16, Max Howes ’17 and Jason Wesseling ’18 claimed second (1:22.11).
Campbell Costley ’17 won the 500 free with a time of 4:50.51, less than a second shy of her school record time of 4:49.85. Taylor Johns ’16 followed close behind, taking fourth place (4:53.81). In the men’s 500, six out of the top nine swimmers represented the Big Red. Aaron Saccurato ’18 finished second, followed by Stuart Hohm ’18, who grabbed third.
Marissa Bednarek ’16 and Halli Garza ’18 captured third and eighth, respectively in the women’s 200 IM. For the men, Jack Lindell ’17 started out his meet with blistering speed, capturing the men’s 200 IM title with a school record time of 1:47.93. Joe Brunk ’16 finished fourth with a time of 1:52.21.
The women’s 50 freestyle showed the depth of the Big Red’s sprint roster, with a second place finish from Kane (23.19), seventh from Van Leuven (23.75) and eighth from Yearwood (23.85). The men’s sprinters were also hot, as Ryan Fleming finished second (20.64) and Wuorinen finished third (20.69).
Yearwood, Bednarek, Kane and Van Leuven claimed third place in the 400 medley relay (3:45.27). The men finished in first place, courtesy of Wesseling, Brendan Howley ’18, Andrew Rich ’16 and Fleming (3:17.73).
The second day of competition brought more excitement.
Kane, Bednarek, Yearwood and Van Leuven kicked off the night in the women’s 200 medley relay, where they finished in second place with a time of 1:42.69. The men’s squad of Wesseling, Howley, Rich and Fleming also finished second (1:30.17).
In the men’s 400 IM, Lindell once again lit up the field, winning by nearly eight seconds in a meet and pool record time of 3:50.28. Denison men claimed 8 of the top 12 spots in the event.
Kane captured the fourth place spot in the 100 butterfly (55.58). On the men’s side, Denison rocked the competition, taking spots 1-5. Rich led the way with a time of 48.89, one of four swimmers to break the 50-barrier that day.
In the 200 freestyle, Costley was the lone Denison swimmer in the top heat, grabbing sixth place in 1:51.53. For the men, Fleming lead the way with a second place finish (1:39.44).
Bednarek launched herself into a third place finish in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:03.28. Shortly after, Howley dropped nearly a second from his preliminary time and captured his second title of the meet in a time of 55.45.
In the men’s 100 backstroke, Wesseling (49.59) and Lindell (50.73) teamed up to grab second and third places, respectively.
Friday’s competition concluded with the 800 freestyle relay. The women’s team of Kane, Alex Elizeus ’17, Wright and Costley captured third (7:29.31), while the men’s team of Lindell, Brunk, Hohm and Fleming took home the title in 6:39.01.
The final day of competition started off with the 1650 freestyle in which Johns (16:45.75) and Costley (16:53.21) placed second and fourth, respectively. Saccurato led the men in the event with a third place finish (15:49.40), followed by Ben Burdick ’18 and Matt Hedman ’19.
For the men’s 200 backstroke, Lindell (1:47.02) and Wesseling (1:48.38) teamed up to capture first and second.
In the 100 freestyle, Kane captured the women’s first title of the night, winning the event in 50.69. Van Leuven (51.28) and Yearwood (51.64) joined her in the heat. For the men, Fleming came out on top with a time of 44.70, completing a Denison sweep of the men’s and women’s 100 freestyles. He was joined by Wuorinen (45.21), who finished third.
Bednarek continued the women’s success with a fourth place finish in the 200 breaststroke (2:17.50). Stevenson posted a second place finish in the 200 breaststroke(2:03.31). Ball, Howley, Brunk and Peyton Gaumer ’19 finished in third, fifth and seventh, respectively.
The final individual event of the night was the 200 butterfly. Garza (2:01.35), who won the event for the women, was less than 3 tenths of a second off of her own school record. Lindell won on the men’s side, and set a school record time of 1:48.59 that morning.
The night was wrapped up with second place finishes in the 400 freestyle relay from both the women (Kane, Costley, Wright, Van Leuven) and the men (Fleming, Wuorinen, Hohm, Howes).
Lindell had a standout meet, racking up five meet titles, two varsity records, one pool record and one meet record.
“Looking up and seeing those two [personal records] felt great,” Lindell said. “This year has been much harder than both other years in the past. We have all been pushing ourselves every day and to see that kind of success is an affirmation of how much time and effort we have put in in the water and weight room.”
Garza also had a stellar meet, capturing first place in the 200 butterfly and nearly breaking her own school record. She attributed a large amount of her success to her training.
“It just solidifies the confidence I have in our training and our strength as a team,” she said. “I am even more excited to see myself and everyone swim lights out when Conference and Nationals come around.”
The diving portion of the meet began on Saturday, and it was unscored. It was an opportunity for DU’s divers to compete against a variety of teams from around the globe. Diving coach Russell Bertram said, “Since it is an open invitational we see USA Diving Clubs and International Clubs along with NCAA Division 1, 2 and 3 teams. The quality of diving is extremely varied and can include relatively new divers with basic diving lists all the way to world class competitors doing some of the toughest dives possible.”
Emma Weber ‘19 and Katherine Hennigan ‘17 competed for the women but did not make it past the preliminaries. Ben Lewis ‘16, Brian Allen ‘17 and Max Levy ‘17 made it to the finals, where Levy placed fifth in the ‘A’ final on the 1m board and Lewis finished in seventh place. Allen and Lewis also competed in the ‘A’ final for the 3m board, where Allen finished in sixth and Lewis finished in eighth place.
Lewis said, “[Competing against international competition] is really humbling but it’s also really fun to be there and watch their diving. I would even take videos of some of the really good divers just to study it a little bit.”
The Big Red will see their next action in a home dual meet against conference foe DePauw on Jan. 9, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.
Photo Courtesy of Nelson Dow