By Alex Pijanowski | Staff Writer
Denison University hosted the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) swimming and diving championships from Feb. 12 to Feb. 15. When the final scores were tallied, Kenyon had earned 1,851 team points to Denison’s 1,898.5. Kenyon defeated Denison in swimming events alone by 222.5 points, but Denison had a larger corps of divers — splitting the difference between victory and defeat.
“We did do well,” Head Coach Jess Book ’01 said. “There were certainly swims that were very exciting, and some that we wish we could have over again, but in the final analysis, I think there was a lot to be pleased with.”
Records fell at this meet faster than real estate values in 2007. Harrison Curley ’15 continued his record-breaking season by winning the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 49.14 and the 200 backstroke in a time of 1:46.38, which set an NCAC record. For his season-long dominance, he earned the NCAC Swimmer of the Year award.
Kenyon claimed another conference award thanks to the work of Alex Seaver ’17. Seaver, the champion of the 500-yard freestyle and the 1,650-yard freestyle, was named the NCAC Newcomer of the Year.
Alex Beckwith ’14 also contributed a record-breaking victory in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:01.01.
In the same event, Trevor Manz ’17 finished a close second, with Ian Reardon ’17 and Mark Newell ’16 taking third and fourth.
One of the most thrilling races of the meet was the men’s 800-yard freestyle relay. DePauw University jumped out to an early lead at the 200-yard mark, but both Kenyon and Denison followed in hot pursuit. When Austin Caldwell ’15 dove in to begin the last 200 yards of the race, Kenyon had maneuvered into second place, just behind DePauw and just ahead of Denison. Caldwell overtook DePauw to put the Lords’ relay in first. Kenyon also won the 400-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay.
A cadre of Kenyon swimmers excelled in many races, such as the 200-yard freestyle in which Caldwell finished second and Percy Gates ’16 finished fourth, while fellow Lord Joey Duronio ’16 claimed third place.
This Saturday, Feb. 22, the team will host the Kenyon College Invitational, at which many athletes will have the opportunity to earn times which qualify them for the team’s nationals roster.
“One of the things [Coach Book] told us after that meet was, ‘Everybody should be really happy with how they did, but I hope you’re still hungry for more,’” Beckwith said.
In addition to hungering for faster times, some athletes may be yearning for a chance to exact revenge on Denison. Book embraces the craving for improvement, but also wishes for his athletes to be cool and collected as they enter into this weekend’s meet.
“We need to be more aware and more focused on who we are and what we’re trying to do, and less focused on who our competitors are and what they’re trying to do,” Book said.