Section: Sports

Kenyon rules the pool once again

Kenyon rules the pool once again

By Anna Dunlavey

The men’s swimming and diving team finished in first place at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Swimming and Diving Championships in Shenandoah, Texas, with the women’s team finishing in fourth. This is the 34th time in 36 years, and the third straight year, that the men’s program has won the title, and the 35th straight year that the women have finished in the top five.

“I thought we raced really well and put emphasis into being exciting and having the best team on the pool deck,” Head Coach Jess Book ’01 said. Book was also named the NCAA coach of the year at the end of the meet.

“Things just went our way this year, and it was fun to experience it with everyone,” Arthur Conover ’17 said.

A number of NCAA records were broken at the meet, and Harrison Curley ’15 was behind three of the record-setting races. He now holds individual national records in the 100-yard backstroke and the 400-yard individual medley. He was also one of the four swimmers to take the title in the 200-yard medley relay, along with Kevin Magee ’15, Trevor Manz ’17 and Wes Manz ’15. Curley said that taking home three national titles hasn’t really set in yet. “I just went out there and I swam the best that I could for my team and for everyone involved,” he said.

Conover also took home an NCAA title in the 1,600-yard freestyle, his first national title. Although Conover also broke the NCAA record in the 500-yard freestyle, he did not take home the title, as he placed second in the race. Similarly, Trevor Manz broke an NCAA record but placed third. The races at the meet were fast enough that multiple swimmers were touching the wall in record time, and all but six records were broken. “It’s a lot of fun to see how exceptional Division III swimming is and how competitive we can be among it,” Book said.

“We saw some incredible swims,” Curley said. “It was absolutely wild, and it’s just going to keep getting faster.”

The first-place finish by the Lords has somewhat overshadowed the Ladies’ fourth-place finish. “It’s about being the best we can be,” Book said of the Ladies’ final result.  “Certainly we always want more, but fourth in the nation is pretty exceptional.”

The 200-yard medley relay team of Celia Oberholzer ’15, Laura Duncan ’17, Hannah Cooper ’15 and Jenner MacLeod ’17 broke the national record and took home the national title for that event. Maria Zarka ’16 placed third in the three-meter diving, making it the first time in her Kenyon career that she did not win that event. However, she won the one-meter event for the first time in her Kenyon career. “It was a really exciting moment for her, to do something that she’s never done before,” Book said.

Book said he doesn’t really think about his NCAA coach of the year award. “It’s about the swimmers and the performances and being the best team that we can be,” he said. However, several of his swimmers said he was deserving of the honor. “We all love him so much; he’s absolutely everything to the team,” Curley said. “That’s always the best part, to be able to see him win something for all that he’s done for us.” 

“He’s an amazing coach, and he definitely deserves it,” Conover said.

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