Julia Wilson ’18 and Hannah Orbach-Mandel ’19 set individual NCAC records over weekend.
The Ladies Swim and Dive team concluded their four-day North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) tournament on Saturday, finishing in second place overall behind Denison University in the nine-team tournament. Denison led the way with a total of 1,988 points, outscoring Kenyon (1,769 points), DePauw University (1,108 points), the College of Wooster (1,064) and Oberlin College (824 points), which were among the top-five teams in the meet. It was host Denison’s eighth NCAC title in the last nine years, broken up only by the Ladies’ title last year.
With the exception of Friday, when the Ladies managed to sneak ahead of Denison for a couple of events, the team consistently held onto the runner-up spot in the standings. The team earned a number of individual top finishes, but ultimately not enough to usurp Denison. While an NCAC title would have been a nice prize, the Ladies have their eyes on their national meet in mid-March, which was the main reason they sat out a few of their top swimmers.
On Wednesday, the opening day of the event, the Ladies got off to a hot start with a top finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay event. Comprised of Sophia Kuvan ’18, Marysol Arce ’19, Julia Green ’20 and Kendall Vanderhoof ’20, the relay team turned in a combined time of 7:27:95, which was more than three seconds faster that Denison’s relay team. Arce gave another banner performance on Thursday, winning the 500-yard freestyle event in 4:51:47, and outswimming DePauw University’s Angelo Newlon, the reigning NCAC champion in the event. Arce’s time was the fastest in that event in Division III swimming this season.
Friday was perhaps the team’s most successful day of the tournament. Kuvan won the 200-yard freestyle earlier in the day, an event win that allowed the Ladies to temporarily wrestle the lead away from Denison. Kuvan finished with a time of 1:51:17, a season best. Zoe Toscos ’20, Vanderhoof and Green also placed in the top-six finishes of the event. The lead would not last long, as Denison would storm back and not relinquish it for the rest of the tournament.
Arce captured her third overall and second individual event victory of the tournament on Saturday night, the last day of the event, with a time of 16:45:37 in the 1,650-meter freestyle. It was also Arce’s third career individual crown, including a title in 2016.
Several swimmers broke NCAC records during the course of the event, although this was unrelated to the outcome of the championship tournament. Julia Wilson ’18 broke the record in the 100-yard breastroke with a time of 1:02:06, topping the record she set last season. Hannah Orbach-Mandel ’19 also set an individual record in the 200-yard freestyle; her time of 1:48:71 topped the previous mark set in 2010 by a Denison swimmer.
While Wilson was proud to break her own record, she wanted to keep the focus on the team. “In terms of the season ending, this has always been my favorite time of year,” Wilson said. “It’s amazing to see what people can do at NCACs and NCAAs, and it seems like everything starts to move really quickly.”
The Ladies will next swim on Saturday at noon when they host the Kenyon College Invitational.