This past weekend, the Kenyon Lords swimming and diving team won the 2020 NCAC Swimming and Diving Championships at the Trumbull Aquatics Center on the campus of Denison University. This is the Lords’ first NCAC title since 2008 and their league-leading 24th championship win.
The Lords stunned Denison’s Big Red, who had won the NCAC title for 11 years straight. Kenyon captured the team title with 30 All-NCAC finishes in 21 total events and ended up with 11 individual NCAC titles over the four-day meet, which began on Wednesday night. The Lords amassed 1,913 points, edging out the defending champions who finished with 1,765 points while winning nine events and posting 23 All-NCAC performances. Wabash College trailed in third place with 1,264 points and only one event win and were followed by DePauw University (1,022), the College of Wooster (900), Allegheny College (768.5), Ohio Wesleyan University (670.5), Oberlin College (494), Wittenberg University (412) and Hiram College (8).
Winning three individual titles and one relay title in the event, Kenyon’s Luis Weekes ’22 was named the NCAC Men’s Swimmer of the Year. In his first win on Thursday, Weekes broke the NCAC record for the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:47.82. In his next event, joined by teammates David Fitch ’21, Marcus Hong ’21 and Cherantha De Silva ’23, Weekes helped to post another NCAC record in the 200-yard medley relay, where the four swam a combined time of 1:27.42. On Friday, Weekes notched another win in the 100-yard breasts troke (55.16), and in his final event, he broke the NCAC 200-yard breaststroke record with a time of 1:58.50. In all four wins, Weekes recorded NCAA “B” cut times, which puts him on track to swim at the NCAA Championships next month.
Kenyon’s Drew Albrecht ’23 was awarded the NCAC Men’s Diver of the Year award after sweeping both diving events. He scored 458.90 points on the 1-meter board and 500.05 in the 3-meter competition, regional qualifying scores in both events. To qualify for the NCAA Championship, Albrecht will travel back to Granville on Feb. 28-29 to compete in the Central regional competition.
Other Kenyon victories came from Connor Rumpit ’20 and Hong, who helped Kenyon build an early lead at the conference meet. In the 1,650-yard freestyle, Rumpit defeated Denison’s Dayen Wilson by only .39 seconds with a final time of 15:31.01. It was a season-best mark for Rumpit and it met NCAA “B” cut standards. Hong defeated Denison’s Noah Houskeeper by another small margin of just .25 seconds in the 100-yard individual medley with a mark of 50.27.
Kenyon secured their lead over Denison in the 200-yard butterfly. Fitch, Reilly Shields ’20 and Bryan Fitzgerald ’22 claimed second through fourth respectively while adding an impressive 90 points to Kenyon’s total. All three swimmers also met NCAA “B” cut standards.
The Lords additionally had runner-up finishes from Nicholas Tong ’22 in the 200-yard backstroke (1:47.97) and Joe Black ’22 in the 100-yard freestyle (44.64), while Mick Bartholomew ’20 and Colin Bowling ’23 finished in third place during the 200-yard breaststroke (2:00.61) and 1,650-yard freestyle (15:33.98) respectively.
It was ultimately an all-around dominant performance from the Lords, who are once again NCAC conference champions. Swimmers who are trying to make their last push for Nationals qualification will compete this Saturday at the annual Kenyon Fast Chance Invitational in the James A. Steen Aquatic Center. The NCAA championships will take place from Mar. 18-21 in Greensboro, N.C.