National runners-up last season, the Lords and Ladies travel this week to Shenandoah, Texas, in search of the top spot at the 2017 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championship. The four-day event begins Wednesday in the Conroe Independent School District Natatorium.
The Lords own 34 national championship titles, including three straight from 2013 to 2015 and 31 straight from 1980 through 2010. That total ties them with the Oklahoma State University wrestling team for the most titles accumulated by any single NCAA program. Last season, however, Denison University snapped Kenyon’s streak by outscoring the Lords, 455.5-418.
The Kenyon men will make the trip with 16 qualifying swimmers, two shy of the NCAA maximum. That group is headed by Arthur Conover ’16, Trevor Manz ’16 and Ian Reardon ’16. Conover is an 11-time All-American and the 2015 NCAA title-winner in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Manz has 17 career All-America awards and two relay titles on his resume, while Reardon is a nine-time All-American who won the 200-yard breaststroke title last season and returns as the Lords' lone defending individual-event champion.
Once again, the Lords’ stiffest competition looks to come from Denison, a team that will send 16 swimmers and two divers to the championship meet. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which finished fifth last season, qualified 14 swimmers and one diver. Last year's third-place team, Emory University, has a dozen swimmers making the trip, while last year's fourth-place team, Johns Hopkins University, sends a roster of 13.
The Ladies, winners of an NCAA-record 23 national titles, last claimed the crown in 2009. Since then, Emory has piled up seven straight championship victories, including last season when the Eagles outscored the Ladies, 560-476.
The Kenyon women won four events at the 2016 NCAA meet, but the only returning member left to defend her titles is Marysol Arce ’19, who claimed victory in the 500- and the 1,650-yard freestyle races. She enters the 2017 national meet with this season's top times in both events.
The Ladies also hold this season's top time in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The quartet that rang up that mark, which was a Kenyon record, included Delaney Ambrosen ’19, Hannah Orbach-Mandel ’19, Abby Wilson ’19 and Kendall Vanderhoof ’20. In addition to Arce, those four, along with breaststroker Julia Wilson ’18, should set the tone for the Kenyon team.
The way things look now, it appears Emory and Kenyon again will be battling for the top two positions in the final team standings. Both the Eagles and the Ladies are sending 17 qualifying swimmers to the meet. Denison, Williams College and New York University all ship out 13 swimmers and one diver, while MIT will compete with 11 swimmers and two divers.