Ladies earn twentieth NCAA swimming titleST. PETERS, Missouri (March 13, 2004) Even with the chips stacked against them, the Kenyon College Ladies raked in another National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Swimming and Diving Championship. Seniors Beth Galloway (Orchard Park, NY/Orchard Park) and Agnese Ozolina (Jelgava, Latvia/Jelgava Secondary) led the way at the St. Peters Rec-Plex as the Ladies claimed their twentieth national title in the last twenty-one years.
In past years, the Ladies swam to the title with a full or nearly full championship roster of eighteen swimmers. This year, however, the Kenyon team had a roster of fourteen and still managed to post a winning total of 507 points. Emory University, which had a roster of eighteen, placed second with 362 points and Denison University, a team that one month ago ended Kenyon's nineteen-year streak of winning conference championships, placed third with 335 points.
Galloway, a sprint and backstroke specialist, made up a lot of ground for Ladies as she won six of the seven events she entered, set one record, and was selected by coaches as the NCAA Division III Swimmer of the Year. Her record swim occurred in the 100-yard backstroke as she turned in a time of 55.57 to break her old mark of 55.70 set in 2003. She also notched a win in the 100-yard freestyle and swam legs on four winning relay teams. Galloway ended her Kenyon career with the maximum twenty-eight All-America awards and a total of eighteen national titles, including victories in all twelve championship relay events she entered.
Ozolina was equally as impressive. She also won six of seven events, only being beaten by Galloway in the 100-yard freestyle. Ozolina went on to win the 200-yard individual medley (1:44.41) for the third straight season and claimed the 200-yard freestyle (1:50.05) title after being runner-up the past two seasons. Additionally, she was a part of four winning relay teams, including the record-setting 800-yard freestyle relay team that clocked in at 7:33.38. Swimming with Ozolina on that relay team were freshman Rebecca Allison (Paradise Valley, AZ/Phoenix Country Day), sophomore Rachel Smith (Charles City, IA/Charles City) and senior Hillary Strong (Cincinnati, OH/Turpin).
Strong proved her skill individually as well, as she went on to win the 1,650-yard freestyle in a time of 16:57.29. She joined Jessica Connors (Cedarburg, WI/Divine Savior Holy Angels), Emmie Dengler (Horseheads, NY/Horseheads) and Marissa Stearns (Bexley, OH/Bexley) on the list of Kenyon swimmers who each won two titles at the championship meet. Junior Meilyn Chan (Republic of Panama/Mercersburg Academy) went one step further by claiming three titles, all in relay events.
Overall the Ladies were victorious in ten of the twenty championship events, including pulling off a sweep of all five relay events for the second straight season.
Kenyon's twenty team titles are the most by any one women's program in any division of the NCAA. The University of North Carolina's women's soccer program ranks second behind Kenyon with seventeen team titles.