The Kenyon College Ladies collected four more event titles Saturday, Feb. 13, en route to winning their first North Coast Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championship since the 2008 season. The Ladies snapped the seven-year reign of Denison University while collecting their 24th championship in the 32-year history of the NCAC.
On the men’s side, for the eighth straight season, Denison University and Kenyon College finished one-two at the NCAC Championship. When the four-day meet finished, host Denison had 1942.5 points, which was 228 points better than Kenyon's second-place output of 1,714.5 points.
The Kenyon women ended their three-day meet at Denison with an NCAC-record total of 1,957.5 team points. The Ladies won 11 of the 20 events contested and set four NCAC marks along the way. Denison was second with 1,787.5 points. DePauw University was third with 1,141.5 points, and rounding out the top five in the nine-team field were the College of Wooster with 1,034 points and Oberlin College with 851 points.
Saturday's session opened with the 1,650-yard freestyle, and Marysol Arce ’19 would have broken the NCAC record in the event had it not been for DePauw University junior Angela Newlon. Arce wound up in second place with a time of 16:42.73, which topped the old NCAC mark of 16:43.71. However, Newlon torched both of those marks with a winning time of 16:29.59. At the end of the meet, Arce was voted the NCAC Newcomer of the Year.
Despite missing out on the 1,650-yard freestyle win, the Ladies more than made up for it in the next event, the 200-yard backstroke. Led by Delaney Ambrosen ’19, the Kenyon women defeated Denison 91-55 in the event and opened up a 154-point cushion in the team standings. Ambrosen claimed backstroke gold with a season-best and NCAA 'B' cut time of 2:02.57. Caitlin Foley ’19 was third with a time of 2:05.15, while Abby Chopp ’19 claimed seventh place by finishing in 2:07.41.
Hannah Lobb ’16, who won the 50-yard freestyle for Kenyon earlier in the meet, continued her dominance in the sprints by taking the 100-yard freestyle title in 50.63. Following her, Jenner McLeod ’17 tied for fourth place (51.39), Haley Townsend ’16 placed sixth (51.76), Abby Wilson ’19 was seventh (51.95) and Hannah Orbach-Mandel ’19 was eighth (51.96), giving Kenyon a whopping total of 138.5 points in the event.
If the overall team title wasn't secured by then, the Ladies certainly nailed things down in the 200-yard breaststroke. Julia Wilson ’18 won the event in 2:14.90 to set both the NCAC and pool records. She narrowly missed out on the Kenyon record of 2:14.71 set by Alisa Vereshchagin ’12 in 2009. In the same event, Kenyon also received a fourth place from Katie Kaestner ’16 (2:19.37), a sixth place from Ellie Crawford ’17 (2:22.40) and a seventh place from Laura Duncan ’17(2:24.11).
Attention then turned to the diving well, where Maria Zarka ’16 once again overpowered the field. After winning the one-meter competition earlier in the meet with an NCAC-record score, Zarka finished the sweep with an NCAC-record score of 493.25 on the three-meter board. It was her third straight season both of completing the sweep and of earning the NCAC Diver of the Year title. Head Diving Coach Andy Scott was named NCAC Diving Coach of the Year for the second straight season, and Head Men’s and Women’s Swimming Coach Jess Book ’01 was named the NCAC Swimming Coach of the Year for the second time in the past three years.
Prior to the distribution of those awards, Kenyon closed out the championship with a second-place showing in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Lobb and Townsend paired up with McLeod and Abby Wilson to record a time of 3:24.56.