A few records were left in pieces last weekend as the Kenyon Lords and Ladies swimming and diving team took to the Steen Aquatic Center for the annual Total Performance Sports Camp (TPSC) Invitational. Both the women’s and men’s teams came in second place to the Division-I University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). The other competitors were Division-I Davidson College (Davidson, N.C.), and fellow Division-III schools Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh), DePauw University (Greencastle, Ind.) and Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore). The meet lasted from Thursday, Dec. 1 until Saturday, Dec. 3.
Just a week after swimmers return from their Thanksgiving breaks, the TPSC invitational enables Kenyon’s swimmers to measure how they are performing so far this year.
“We just don’t even talk about the overall score in this meet,” Head Coach Jess Book ’01 said. “I was more focused on how we were preparing and how we were performing.”
Kenyon’s focus on individual performance during the meet paid off. Many swimmers made cuts for the championship meets, while two in particular performed well enough to net North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) player of the week honors at the end of the invitational.
Arthur Conover ’17, who has already earned one NCAC player of the week and two NCAA player of the week awards this season, stole the spotlight at the invitational by breaking his national and Kenyon record in the 1,650-yard swim by almost five seconds. With a time of 14:56.44 and a first-place finish, Conover became the first NCAA Division-III swimmer to break the 15:00 mark in that event. Conover also finished first in the 500-free and second in the 200-free.
“It’s just been a culmination of work over the past few years,” Conover said about his season so far.
The other swimmer to win NCAC player of the week honors was Julia Wilson ’18. Wilson started off the meet swimming a leg of a first-place 200-yard medley relay that broke the event record time for the Steen Aquatic Center. She followed that performance with a first-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard breaststroke. Her preliminary time of 1:01.47 for the 100-yard breaststroke broke her previous Kenyon record of 1:01.79. Wilson’s finishing times for all her events during the meet were the fastest in NCAA Division-III competition this season.
In diving, Derek Hoare ’17 led the way for the Lords, placing third in both the one-meter and three-meter competitions. Madeline Carlson ’19 came in second on the one-meter for the Ladies with a qualifying score for the upcoming regional competition. She followed that performance on Saturday with a third-place finish in the three-meter competition.
With the TPSC invitational behind them, Kenyon swimming will now prepare for their most important meets of the year: conference championships and then national championships. They will have a few weeks off for finals and then the holidays, but will jump start their training in January with an intense training camp in Sarasota, Fla. “It’s about 10 weeks to conference championships,” Book said, “which sounds like a long time but in reality, it’s not. The middle of February will be here very, very soon.”
Happy with this weekend’s results, Conover said, “There’s still a lot of work to do, but I think that this was a very good point in the story of the season.”