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200 Medley Relay National Record Highlights Day 1

Gabriella Nutter, Maddie Hopkins, KT Kustritz, Angela Le  |  Photo by Linda Striggo
Gabriella Nutter, Maddie Hopkins, KT Kustritz, Angela Le | Photo by Linda Striggo

GREENSBORO, N.C.— Denison set a new national record in the 200 medley relay to highlight the opening night of the 2019 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championship. Through five of 20 events, the leaderboard is snug as the Big Red is lurking only four points out of the lead.  Denison has totaled 99 points, good for third place.  Emory is second with 101 points while Kenyon sits in first with 103.

The Big Red's night was highlighted in the fifth and final event as the 200 medley relay team of Angela Le, KT Kustritz, Maddie Hopkins and Gabriella Nutter won a national championship with a national record time of 1:40.11.  The time broke the foursome's own varsity record. It also marked the sixth 200 medley relay national championship in Denison women's swimming history.  The last 200 medley relay title came in 2010 when Olivia Zaleski, Kate Rich, Gail Blachly, and Ksenia Golovkina reached the top of the podium.

Le started off the relay with a 25.98 split in the backstroke. Kustritz followed in the breaststroke leg with a 27.19 split.  Hopkins extended Denison's lead with a 23.97 split in the butterfly while Nutter held off Kenyon's Emmerson Mirus with a 22.97 anchor split.

The 200 IM was one of the more anticipated events of this year's championship thanks to a trio of stars in Denison's Kustritz, Kenyon's Crile Hart and NYU's Honore Collins.  Hart and Kustritz went 1-2 last season and Collins took home the title in 2017.  This year, it was Collins who broke the national record with a winning time of 1:58.18.  Kustritz followed in second place for Denison in 2:00.07 while Hart checked in third.  Also earning an All-American certificate for the Big Red was Natalie Zaravella who qualified for the championship final and placed sixth with a time of 2:02.66.

Another runner-up performance was posted by Denison's Hopkins in the 50 freestyle.  Hopkins logged her first career All-American award in the event by logging a personal best time of 22.98.  The national title went to Emory's Fiona Muir for the second-straight season in 22.75.

Hannah Rusinko pulled the curtain on this year's championship, swimming in the consolation final of the 500 freestyle.  Rusinko placed 14th with a time of 4:58.13 for her first career individual event All-American award.

DU had two divers qualify for this year's championship and junior Allison Fitzgerald became an All-American for the fifth time in her career by placing ninth on the 3-meter board.  Fitzgerald just missed qualifying for the finals, missing by only 4.75 points.  She posted an 11-dive score of 442.35.  Her highest scoring dive was a 48.75 that came on a forward 1 ½ somersault 2 twist free (5134D).

Fellow junior Naomi Clayton made her NCAA debut and finished in 18th place with an 11-dive score of 392.10.  Clayton's top score was a 52.65 on an inward 2 ½ somersault tuck (405C).

Denison returns on Thursday for Day 2 of 4 at the NCAA Division III Championships where they will compete in the 200 free relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free and the 400 medley relay.  Preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. followed by finals at 6 p.m. from the Greensboro Aquatic Center.