GRANVILLE, Ohio— Through seven events at the 2019 North Coast Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championship, the Denison men are out in front with 714 points. They hold a 155-point lead over second-place Kenyon in the overall standings.
Denison's impressive depth was on full display in the 200 IM and the 50 freestyle. In the 50 free, six of the nine in the A-Final came from Denison. Matt McHugh edged out last year's champion, Kymani Senior with a winning time of 20.33. Senior was second in 20.40 followed by DU first-year Liam Picozzi who touched with a season-best 'B' cut time of 20.49. It was the first individual event conference title for McHugh. His time was also a personal best 'B' cut. Rounding out the 50 free for Denison was Nick Froemming (5th – 20.57), Colin MacMillan (8th – 20.84), Kenny Fox (9th – 20.97), Carson Clear (12th – 20.92) and Michael Arpasi (14th – 21.10).
Senior Ryan Stevenson led DU in the 200 IM with a third-place showing in 1:49.87. Piotr Kurleto was fourth in 1:50.47 and Noah Houskeeper took fifth in 1:50.70. Sixth-place belonged to Francis Biagioli in 1:51.31 while seventh and eighth place was rounded out by John Stauffer (1:51.73) and Ethan Bevill (1:52.85), respectively. Stevenson, Kurleto, Houskeeper, and Biagioli all logged season-best 'B' cut times.
In morning preliminaries, the loudest cheers came in the 200 free relay when Denison's B relay of Sam O'Malley, Brett Weicht, Nicholas Czepukaitis and Kyle Verstandig defeated Denison's A relay with a time of 1:24.45. The Big Red's B relay was swimming exhibition so they were not eligible to advance to the finals. In the finals, the team of Matt McHugh, Kymani Senior, Liam Picozzi and Kenny Fox placed second with a season-best 'B' cut time of 1:21.42.
In the men's one-meter dive, the Big Red returned to the top of the podium after a one-year hiatus as first-year Liam Simmons took home his first NCAC championship with an 11-dive score of 458.35. Fellow first-year diver Brendan Downey followed in fourth place with an 11-dive score of 393.15. Simmons' win came down the final dive. In a duel with last year's champion, Ryder Sammons of Kenyon, Simmons posted back-to-back scores of 50.40 on his ninth and 10th dives. His final dive, a forward 1 somersault two twist free garnered a 42.55 from the judges to lock up the win.
Simmons' score of 458.25 punched his ticket to the NCAA Diving Regional at Wabash College on March 1-2. He is the 13th Denison male to win a conference title on the 1-meter board.
In the final event of the night, Denison took second in the 400 medley relay as the foursome of Clear, Stevenson, MacMillan, and McHugh posted a time of 3:16.23.
The Big Red returns to the Trumbull Aquatics Center on Friday for day three of four of the 2019 NCAC Championship. Preliminaries begin at 9:30 a.m. with finals slated for a 6 p.m. start.