Section: Sports

Invitationals give Owls chance to qualify for Nationals

The Kenyon men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed in the First Chance Invitational on Friday and the Fast Chance Invitational on Saturday in their home pool. The meet was unscored and allowed Owls’ swimmers to have a final opportunity to qualify for the NCAA D-III Tournament in March. 

Men: On Friday, the highlight of the day came from Noel Tumbasz ’27, who swam a 1:59.55 in the 200-yard breaststroke, clearing the NCAA ‘B’ cut. At the time, it was a personal best for Tumbasz, who will now likely have the opportunity to compete at the National Championships nationals next month. In an email to the Collegian, Tumbasz said of his performance, “This meet was just a little bit different as it was our last chance to qualify for the NCAA championship, so the pressure was higher than usual, which helped me perform better.” 

Tumbasz was the only Owl to earn a ‘B’ cut on Friday, but he was not the only one to achieve a personal best for the day. Jimmy Hart ’24 competed in the 100-yard breaststroke, swimming it in 56.06, his best-ever time in the event. In the same event, Sam Brown ’25 got a time of 55.92, not a personal best, but still the fastest time of the day. The final personal best of the day came from Ethan Manske ’26, who clocked in at 50.43 in the 100-yard butterfly.

Saturday brought more success for the Kenyon swimmers, as three different Owls cleared the ‘B’ cut. First, Tumbasz broke his personal best in the 200-yard breaststroke that he set the day before, swimming it in 1:59.44. Hart followed in Tumbasz’s footsteps by beating his own personal best in the 100-yard breaststroke. This time around, his time of 55.41 was able to clear the ‘B’ cut. Finally, Yurii Kosian ’24 swam a 1:49.72 in the 200-yard individual medley, which cleared the ‘B’ cut.

Women: The women’s team also found success at the First Chance Invitational on Friday, as two swimmers were able to get under the ‘B’ cut. Both of the qualifying times came in the same event: the 400-yard individual medley, where Jordan Herrera ’25 led the way with a time of 4:24.19. The time not only brought Herrera under the ‘B’ cut, but it was a personal best for her. Ashlyn Widmer ’27 came in second place in the race, and her time of 4:29.67 also cleared the ‘B’ cut. Similarly to Herrera, the result was a personal best.

The next day held more of the same for the Owls’ swimmers, as many of them were able to clear the ‘B’ cut. Jennah Fadely ’25, who won NCAC Swimmer of the Year, swam the 100-yard freestyle in 51.45, a personal best. Sofia Giordano ’27 also was able to clear the ‘B’ cut in her performance in the 200-yard butterfly, which she swam in 2:03.94. Other swimmers to reach the goal at the Fast Chance Invitational were Widmer and Herrera, who, similar to the day before, beat the ‘B’ cut in the 400-yard individual medley.

Looking ahead, both the men’s and women’s diving teams will be in action on Friday and Saturday for the NCAA Diving Regional held at Denison University. Both swim teams will be off until March 20, when qualified swimmers will compete in the NCAA Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina. The women’s team will be looking for its second national championship in three years while the men try to win their first since 2015. “We have a great team this year that I really enjoy being part of, we support each other in practices and out of the pool, too, which is crucial,” Tumbasz said. “It is important to go into the meet with a positive mentality and the wish of a great performance, and if we all do our best, success will most likely come.”

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