The Big Red closed out the third night of swimming from the Allen Jones Aquatic Center with their second relay national championship of the meet. That pulled Denison within 92 points of first-place Emory heading into Saturday's final five events.
Also within striking distance of the Big Red are third-place Williams College, who trails DU by just 27 points at 301, and Kenyon College, who sits in fourth-place with 276 points.
Head coach Gregg Parini had the luxury of sending out the exact same relay foursome that captured last year's 800 freestyle relay crown, and the veteran crew did not disappoint as they held off Emory to set a new national record with a time of 7:19.11.
The relay was comprised of sophomore Alyssa Swanson and juniors Marit Wangstad, Emily Schroeder and Hilary Callen. The time shattered the old national record of 7:21.05 which was set by Emory in 2009. Swanson kicked off the relay with a 1:48.94 split over her 200 yards. That was followed by Wangstad who covered her eight laps in 1:49.69. Schroeder would be challenged by Emory's Kathryn Mroz in the third leg but the junior edged her competitor with a 1:50.86 split. Callen, the anchor, locked things up by holding off Liz Horvat with a 1:49.62 split to complete the new national record and new school record.
There were plenty of other highlights on Friday for the Big Red. In the opening event of the night Denison's Laurel Brabson placed fourth in the 200 butterfly, marking the fifth All-America performance of her career. Despite Brabson's strong finish, Williams College made a move in the standings after taking five of the top-11 spots in the standings. The Ephs scored 53 points in the event to temporarily move ahead of the Big Red and into second-place.
Denison would start to battle back in the 100 backstroke when Lindsay Zeberlein touched in 56.16 for sixth place. In the consolation final, sophomore Cari Martin became an All-American for the first time with her 13th place finish and a time of 57.21.
The 100 breaststroke would move DU back in front of Williams after Ksenia Golovkina and Natalie Lugg posted second and fifth-place finishes, respectively. Golovkina surged from third place and into second place thanks to her final 50 split of 32.88 and Emory's April Whitley just barley held the streaking senior off at the wall. Whitley touched in 1:02.11 while Golovkina finished in 1:02.32. Lugg's time of 1:03.59 was good for 14 points toward the Big Red cause.
On Saturday, Denison will close out the 2011 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championship by competing in the 1650 freestyle, the 100 free, the 200 backstroke, the 200 breaststroke and the 400 free relay. Preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. and the finals will start at 6 p.m. Watch the prelims and the finals live on ncaa.com