The Lords and Ladies swim and dive seasons concluded last weekend at the 2018 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III (D-III) National Championships held in Indianapolis, Ind.
Led by the extraordinary efforts of Crile Hart ’21, the Ladies took home the took second place trophy as a team for their performance. Hart finished the meet with more individual national championships than any other swimmer, bringing trophies to Gambier in the 200-yard individual medley (IM), the 100-yard backstroke, the 200-yard backstroke and the 400-yard medley relay. Caitlin Foley ’19, Julia Wilson ’18 and Hannah Orbach-Mandel ’19 rounded out the national championship 400-yard medley relay team.
Not only did Hart take home three individual championships, she now holds two D-III records in the 200-yard IM and the 200-yard backstroke. Entering the preliminaries for the 200-yard IM, not many expected Hart to come close to the record, as her best time on the season was still 0.9 seconds off the mark set in 2013. The favorites usually just swim a conservative race in the preliminaries to save some of their energy for the finals.
“It felt like a nice smooth, comfortable race for the prelim swim of the 200 IM and I [thought], ‘I feel good so why don’t I just go for [the record]?’” Hart recalled. When she got out of the pool, she looked up and found that not only had she broken her own time by over 1.4 seconds, but that she had beaten the D-III record by 0.5 seconds. “I honestly didn’t even know the [record] times of that race until I had touched the wall and I heard the announcers say so,” she said.
At the meet, Hart was named the NCAA Division III swimmer of the year, the first Lady to receive that honor since Elizabeth Galloway in 2004 and the 10th Lady overall.
The Lords finished third on the podium behind Denison University and Emory University on Saturday to cap off their season.
Their finish marks the first time since 1978 that the Lords finished below second place at National Championships and the first time since 1982 that the Lords did not come up with a national championship in any event.
Although no Lords came home with a national championship, Tim Hagemeister ’21, David Fitch ’21 and Mick Bartholomew ’20 were all able to come up with fourth-place finishes in their respective races to help guide the team to 322 points overall.
Both teams were led by an influx of young talent, and aside from seniors Julia Wilson, Kanchi Desai, Matthew Cooper and Matt Leenhouts, the nationals competitors for the Lords and Ladies will all be returning next season. “We’re hoping that the momentum will help us keep on climbing up and we’ll keep on performing better next year,” Hart said of next year’s team.