This past weekend, the Kenyon swimming and diving teams made their first splash of the year. Both the men and women kicked off their seasons with the Kenyon Relays at home in Gambier. The teams swam against four other schools: Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.), Ohio Wesleyan University, Case Western Reserve University and the College of Wooster.
Women: The women’s team, who checked in at No. 1 on the CSCAA Division III ranking, took home first place with 136 points. The Owls’ margin of victory was large, with second place Carnegie Mellon accumulating 94 points. Overall, the Owls won nine of 11 swim events and had two first-place finishes on the diving boards. After coming second in the first race of the day, the women secured their first win in the 200-yard backstroke relay. Gwen Eisenbeis ’26, Emma Kelley ’26, Christine Kessens ’26 and Caleigh Wukitch ’24 represented Kenyon and clocked in a little over a second earlier than their Carnegie Mellon competitors at 16:10.20.
This result sparked an impressive run for the Owls, who went on to win their next eight relays. The next four in the pool for Kenyon, Kate Bogan ’27, Sydney Buchman ’24, Jennah Fadely ’25 and Gabrielle Wei ’25, claimed the victory in their 200-yard breaststroke relay by a margin of more than five seconds at 2:00.73. The Owls continued their impressive day when Sofia Giordano ’27, Molly Haag ’26 and Julia McGovern ’27 posted a time of 15:49.16 to win their 3×500-yard relay with a margin of nearly half a minute.
Prior to Kenyon’s success in the pool, the Owls got top marks on the diving boards. Katarina Ilic ’24 secured a first place finish on the one-meter board with a score of 237.70. On the three-meter board, Claire Fergusson ’24 took second place with a score of 224.05. Speaking on the diving team’s future for the season, Ilic wrote in an email to the Collegian: “I think we have a great team that is already pushing each other to be better and having an amazing time doing so. I am excited for many of us to make the regional meet, and eventually the NCAA championship this year!”
Men: The No. 2 men’s team placed second in the five-team event with 90 points. The Owls secured a comeback second place just behind the Tartans of Carnegie Mellon with 110 points. After dropping points early in the 200-yard medley event, Kenyon made up ground in the overall standings in the 200-yard backstroke relay. Swimmers Yurii Kosian ’24, Marko Krtinic ’24, Noah Hargrove ’24 and Peter Dunson ’27 posted a time of 1:31.23 to win the event and take a slim two-point lead over Carnegie Mellon.
The battle for first continued after Kenyon placed third in the 200-yard breaststroke relay before ultimately regaining first place after a win in the 500-yard crescendo relay. Krtinic, Pedro Mello ’27, Hargrove and Ethan Manske ’26 finished with a time of 4:04.18. The Owls won two more events in quick succession, as they picked up first place finishes in the 200-yard butterfly relay and the 3×500-yard freestyle relay. Krtinic, Roman Savage ’27, Manske and Hargrove came in first by 29 milliseconds in the butterfly relay, while James Tracey ’25, Max Nonnenmacher ’24 and Savage clocked in at 14:20.34 in the freestyle relay. The Owls finished the swimming portion of the meet with 90 points. However, Kenyon fell behind Carnegie Mellon during the diving portion of the meet. With no competing Kenyon divers, Carnegie Mellon earned 20 more points and took the top spot.
With their first dip in the pool complete, the Owls will hope to continue their pool-side success in their next two upcoming tournaments against two Division I competitors. On Friday, the Owls face the Purdue University Boilermakers (Ind.) in a diving-only event, before hosting the University of Cincinnati Bearcats at home at the Steen Aquatic Center. Speaking about next week’s tournaments, Ilic said, “We are all excited and ready to take on a D-I team and have some tougher competition, as well as improve our overall scores. No matter how we place next week I think we are all on the same page that we will benefit from it and have a great learning experience to set us up for the rest of the season.”