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Kustritz breaks national record at Miami

KT Kustritz  |  Photo by Joe Buvid
KT Kustritz | Photo by Joe Buvid

OXFORD, Ohio--  Denison University sophomore KT Kustritz set a new national record in the 100-yard breaststroke, highlighting day two of the 2017 Miami Invitational.  The Big Red are currently third in the team standings with 461 points.  They trail second-place Emory University by 89 points.  The host Redhawks have pulled away with 1,067 points while fourth through sixth place belongs to Milwaukee (436), Washington-St. Louis (256) and Ball State (252).

Kustritz raised some eyebrows in morning preliminaries with her 'A' cut time of 1:00.71.  That was just 0.17 shy of the NCAA Division III record of 1:00.54 which was set by Lindsay Payne of Williams College in 2006.  Of the 20 official NCAA events, this was the longest standing record.  In the finals, Kustritz opened with a 28.28 split in the first 50-yards and she closed with a 32.22 split to break the national record in 1:00.50.

Kustritz, who already owned the Denison varsity record of 1:01.46 entered the weekend with the nation's only 'A' cut.

That wasn't the only record to fall on Friday night.  DU opened the night by winning the 200 medley relay.  Casey Kirby, Kustritz, Maddie Hopkins and Gabriella Nutter broke an eight-year-old varsity record with a time of 1:40.96.  The previous school record time of 1:41.17 was set by Olivia Zaleski, Ksenia Golovkina, Kate Rich and Kristen Hohl in 2009.

While Kustritz's performance in the 100 breast had the pool buzzing, Denison's Kate Mesaros placed third in the A-Final with a time of 1:03.00.  Earlier in the day, Mesaros logged a 'B' cut and P.R. with a time of 1:02.40.

Denison's results in the 100 breast were rounded out by Elle Stevens who won the B-Final in 1:05.40.  Ellen Higdon placed 21st (1:06.89), Michaela Morrison was 23rd (1:07.54) and Kaila Byerly was 26th (1:08.37).

Three 'B' cuts were posted in the 400 IM as Natalie Zaravella, Halli Garza and Erica Hsu posted big time drops.  Zaravella placed fifth in 4:25.42 and Garza took sixth in 4:25.75.  Hsu took second in the B-Final (10th overall) after touching in 4:25.40 which was a 6.94 second time drop.  Also swimming in the finals were Bridget Horton (17th – 4:26.79), Sydney Lenz (18th – 4:28.04), Byerly (20th – 4:40.31) and Samantha Price (22nd – 4:42.01).

In the 100 butterfly, Zoe Whelan touched third and Hopkins finished sixth after times of 55.93 and 56.25, respectively.  Whelan posted a P.R. and a 'B' cut in prelims in 55.83.  Angela Le placed 16th in 57.23 and Eva Jorn touched 23rd in 58.88.

The 100 backstroke saw Kirby also log a PR and 'B' cut in prelims with a time of 55.41.  She hit the wall in 55.68 in the finals to place third.  Le followed in 14th in 57.36 while Jacquelyn Kurkjian (17th -57.95) and Devin Javens (26th – 59.62) completed the event.

Six members of the Big Red competed in the three final heats of the 200 freestyle, led by Mia Chiappe who posted a 'B' cut after a 1.97 drop.  Her time of 1:52.60 landed her in 11th place.  Logan Wickman followed in 14th (1:53.24).  In the C-Final, Hannah Rusinko won the heat in 1:53.99, a 1.55-second drop.  Caroline Colville was 20th in 1:54.08 while Nutter (1:55.68) and Haley Nugent (1:56.41) followed in 23rd and 25th place, respectively.

The night concluded with a sixth-place finish in the 800 freestyle relay.  The foursome of Zaravella, Chiappe, Hsu and Wickman turned in a provisional qualifying time of 7:37.50.

Denison will close out the 2017 Miami Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 2 with preliminaries at 10:30 a.m. and finals at 6:30 p.m.

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