December 2, 2010

Big Red swimmers kick off Miami Invitational

A split-squad of Denison's men's and women's swimmers opened the three-day Miami Invitational on Thursday night with a pair distance events.

On the men's side, Denison first-year Al Weik (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest) made a major splash by winning the 1650 freestyle with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 15:36.26.  Weik defeated Ohio State senior Tom O'Neill by more that two seconds while punching his ticket to his first national championship meet.

Also earning points for the Big Red cause in the men's mile was sophomore Jay Haney (Lewis Center, Ohio/Olentangy) who placed 11th overall with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 16:08.45.  Freshman Merritt Boardman (Burlington, Vt./Rice Memorial) followed in 18th place and a time of 16:37.22.

In the final event of the night, the Denison men placed second in the 800 freestyle relay.  DU edged Miami University by less than a second with a time of 6:47.95.  The relay was made up of junior Dan Thurston (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron), freshman Spencer Fronk (Cherry Hills Village, Colo./Cherry Creek), senior Kyle Chabot (Washington, Mich./Stoney Creek) and Weik.  Their time, which trailed only Ohio State, was good enough for an NCAA 'B' cut.

Through two of 20 events the Denison men sit in fifth place with 125 points.  They trail fourth place Miami by two points.  Cincinnati and Oakland are tied with 133 points and Ohio State leads with 177 points.

The Big Red women are tied for sixth place after two events.  Junior Hilary Callen (Oswego, N.Y./Oswego) paced DU in the 1650 freestyle with an eighth place finish and a season-best 'B' cut time of 17:22.01.  Freshman Tully Bradford (Lakeside Park, Ky./Notre Dame Academy) checked in with an 18th place finish and a time of 17:55.29.

The 800 freestyle relay team of Alyssa Swanson (Aurora, Colo./Regis Jesuit), Marit Wangstad (Wayzata, Minn./The Blake School), Sarah Yu (Durham, N.C./Chapel Hill) and Callen missed their NCAA 'A' cut by less than one second but their time of 7:31.36 did land them 60 points and a second-place finish.  Only Miami University posted a faster time, touching in 7:23.44.

DU will continue with preliminaries on Friday at 9 a.m. with the finals to commence at 6 p.m. The other half of Denison's team will open the three-day Fredonia State Blue Devil Invitational tomorrow evening.