INDIANAPOLIS—The Denison women's swimming & diving team placed fourth at the 2018 NCAA Division III Championship, marking the program's 11th consecutive top-four national finish. Denison completed the four-day championship with 25 All-American performances and two event national championships.
While the Big Red's team finish mirrored each of the last two years, there were some major strides taken in 2018. Denison finished with 385 points, a 113-point gain over the 272 points that were scored at last year's championship. First place went to Emory with 603 while Kenyon took second (500) and Williams finished third with 412, just 27 points ahead of the Big Red.
For the second-straight night, sophomore KT Kustritz stole the show by winning the 200 breaststroke with a meet-record time of 2:12.27. Kustritz shattered her own varsity record by 2.06 seconds and came within .08 of setting a new national record in back-to-back days. On Friday, Kustritz became the first female to post a sub-one minute 100 breaststroke (59.77). She ended the meet with the maximum seven All-American swims, highlighted by the two victories and a runner-up finish in the 200 IM.
In the 200 backstroke, sophomore Jacquelyn Kurkjian picked up her first career All-American plaque by placing fourth in the 200 backstroke with a PR of 2:00.64. Erica Hsu, who was seeded 31st in the event entering the championship, placed 11th in 2:01.78 by knocking 2.56 seconds off her previous best. Hsu also finished third in the 400 IM on Thursday.
In the 1,650 freestyle, Natalie Zaravella chopped 9.60 seconds off her seed time to make the winners podium. She finished sixth in 16:58.91. Last year, she was 13th in the event with a time of 17:12.45, marking a 14 second improvement over the last year.
Prior to the 400 freestyle, Denison diver Allison Fitzgerald finished eighth on the 3-meter board. She totaled an 11-dive score of 450.05 to log her second top-8 All-American plaque of the meet. Fitzgerald placed fifth on the 1-meter board on Thursday. Her top dive in the finals of the 3-meter board came on her second-to-last attempt. She scored a 52.50 on her forward 1 ½ somersault 2 twist free. Fitzgerald contributed 25 points in her two events.
The championship was capped off by a third-place finish in the 400 free relay. The team of Mia Chiappe, Gabriella Nutter, Maddie Hopkins and Kustritz completed the meet in 3:24.32. The Big Red entered the championship with a seed time of 3:25.04.
In addition to Denison's 11-straight top-four finishes, they have placed in the top-7 every year dating back to 1987 (32-straight years).