GRANVILLE, Ohio—The decade of dominance in the North Coast Athletic Conference is complete.
Denison men's swimming & diving won its 10th consecutive NCAC championship on Saturday night and they did it in style, winning all seven events on Saturday night to capture a 110.5 point victory over Kenyon College. Denison totaled 1,908 points over the course of the four-day meet, compared to 1,797.5 points for the Lords.
Denison held a narrow four-point lead in the team standings heading into the 100 freestyle but a strong showing in prelims landed six Big Red teammates in the A-Final. Senior Zach Wagner successfully defended his title with a winning time of 44.58. DU went 1-2-3-4-5-7 in the race to rack up 179 total points. That equated to a 119-point swing that effectively ended the Lords chances. Drake Horton was the runner-up to Wagner in 45.07. He logged a PR and 'B' cut in prelims in 44.99. Matt McHugh was third (45.23), Kymani Senior fourth (45.33) and PJ Desmet was fifth in 45.66. In seventh, Carson Clear touched in 46.04. This marked the ninth NCAC Championship for Wagner and his second individual event title.
Matt Hedman and James Baker started the night off by going 1-2 in the 1,650 freestyle. Hedman dropped 8.37 seconds from his entry time, setting a new pool record in 15:27.93. It is the second-fastest time posted in Division III this season. This is also the ninth time a DU swimmer has won the mile at the conference championship. Baker, the runner-up, chopped 14.69 seconds to post a 'B' cut time of 15:35.95 and Ben Burdick checked in sixth with a 'B' cut of 15:58.81.
In the 100 individual medley, Kenny Fox was Denison's lone entry and the senior captured his second career individual event conference title in 50.78. Fox won the 100 fly in 2017.
While the 100 freestyle was where the Big Red slammed the door on Kenyon, the 200 backstroke was where Denison took the lead for good.
Jason Wesseling posted an impressive final 100 yards to win the 200 backstroke with a season-best 'B' cut time of 1:47.35. This was Wesseling's second-straight win in the event. It also continued DU's dominance in the 200 back at the conference title, running the Big Red's championship run to 10 out of the last 13 years.
Nick Froemming was second to Wesseling in 1:50.60 after a 'B' cut prelim time of 1:49.72. John Stauffer followed in seventh place, touching in 1:52.97. After the 200 back, Denison held a four-point lead.
Ryan Stevenson set a new NCAC record and broke the Trumbull Aquatics Center mark with a 2:00.35 in the 200 breaststroke. DePauw's Sam McManus entered the meet with the nation's fastest time at 1:59.86. McManus went on to finish second by 1.05 seconds. Jacob von der Lippe placed seventh for Denison in 2:06.18. Stevenson's time shattered the previous conference best of 2:01.01 that was set by Kenyon's Alex Beckwith in 2014.
In 2015, Aaron Saccurato was named the NCAC Newcomer of the Year after his victory in the mile. He bookended his career with his second conference title in the 200 butterfly by hitting the wall in 1:49.81. That was just slightly slower than his season-best 'B' cut time of 1:49.73 in prelims. Francis Biagioli placed second in 1:50.89 and Liam Marsden-Readford was fifth in 1:53.12. Heading into the 400 free relay, Denison held a 102.5 point lead over the Lords.
The night was capped off in fitting fashion by Denison's third-consecutive win in the 400 freestyle relay. Matt McHugh, Drake Horton, Kymani Senior and Wagner won with a time of 2:58.89. That time was just shy of Denison's season-best time of 2:58.43. Not only was this their third-straight win in this event, it marked DU's ninth overall title in the 400 free relay.
In the post-meet awards ceremony, Hedman was named the NCAC Swimmer of the Year after his conference titles in the 1,650 free and the 400 IM. Horton received the NCAC Newcomer of the Year award after logging wins in the 200 free, 800 free relay and the 400 free relay. The Men's Swimming Coach of the Year award went to Gregg Parini for the ninth time in his career. DU took home 17 of the 21 event titles.