At the 2019 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, Kenyon’s women’s and men’s teams finished in second and third place, respectively, matching the podium positions of last year’s meet. In addition, Head Coach Jessen Book ’01 was voted coach of the year, while David Fitch ’21 was named swimmer of the year.
After four days of competition that included 20 events, the women’s championship came down to the wire Saturday night. The Emory University Eagles used the final two events to outscore the Ladies 62-46, claiming their 10th consecutive national team title.
Emory wrapped up with a final total of 488 points. Kenyon, a runner-up for the fifth time in the past seven years, scored 479 points, making it the closest one-two finish in the history of the women’s meet.
Emory entered Saturday night with a slim 11-point lead over Kenyon. That advantage grew to 13 points after the 1,650-yard freestyle and then expanded to 30 points after the 100-yard freestyle. The meet then shifted at the conclusion of the 200-yard backstroke, an event in which Kenyon racked up 48 points. That put the Ladies back in first place, ahead of Emory by seven points with two events remaining.
The Eagles dominated the 200-yard breaststroke to regain the lead for good. Kenyon won the meet-ending 400-yard freestyle relay, but it wasn’t enough to get by Emory, which took second place in the event.
Throughout the night, Kenyon had a pair of title-winning swims. The first of those two came from Crile Hart ’21, who defended her title in the 200-yard backstroke by clocking in with a time of 1:56.62. She became just the third swimmer in Ladies’ history to win the event in back-to-back years.
In the same race, Kenyon received a third-place showing from Delaney Ambrosen ’19 (1:59.58), a 10th-place finish from Summer Otazu ’20 (2:01.99) and a 12th-place swim from Caitlin Foley ’19 (2:02.31).
Kenyon's other Saturday night title came in the meet-ending 400-yard freestyle relay. Abby Wilson ’19 and Hannah Orbach-Mandel ’19 closed out their collegiate careers in style by joining Emmerson Mirus ’21 and Hart to post a winning time of 3:20.05. That time was also a Kenyon record, topping the previous mark of 3:22.16 set at last year’s national championship.
The NCAA event title was Mirus’ first and Wilson’s second. It was Orbach-Mandel’s third and Hart’s eighth. Wilson goes down in Kenyon history as 19-time All-America, while Orbach-Mandel closes the book with 25 career All-American awards.
Earlier in the meet, Orbach-Mandel and Wilson placed sixth and eighth, respectively, in the 100-yard freestyle. Orbach-Mandel clocked in at 51.03 and Wilson touched in 51.39. In the consolation heat of the 100 freestyle, Mirus claimed 11th place in a time of 50.86.
Other top Kenyon finishes on Saturday night came from Kendall Vanderhoof ’20 and Andrea Perttula ’22. Vanderhoof chalked up a fourth-place finish with a time of 16:52.66 in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Perttula later tacked on an 11th-place swim with a 2:18.67 in the 200-yard breaststroke.
At the conclusion of the meet, the College Swimming Coaches Association of America voted Kenyon's Jess Book ’01 the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year. It marked the second time in the last seven years Book earned the honor.
The Kenyon men finished with 447.0 points, which slotted the team in third place. Denison University (562.5) won the national title for the third time in the last four seasons, while Emory (447.5) earned the runner-up spot.
In addition to the team finish, David Fitch ’21 was named the Division III Swimmer of the Year. He's the first Lord to earn the honor since Zachary Turk was chosen in 2012.
Leading into Saturday finals, the Lords had qualified for a pair of individual championship races — the 1,650-yard freestyle and the 200-yard backstroke — as well as the 400-yard free relay. In consolation events, Kenyon won twice during the 100 free and 200 breaststroke.
Over in the 200 back, Mick Bartholomew ’20 continued his strong showing with the best individual finish for the Lords on Saturday. His fourth-place mark and season-best time of 1:46.55 notched the team 15 points. Bartholomew later earned his ninth All-America finish in the consolation final of the 200 breaststroke.
Bryan Fitzgerald ’22 registered the team’s next-highest mark during the 1,650. He clocked a 15:28.56, which was good for fifth. That mark was almost 12 seconds better than his seed time. That helped the first-year notch his fourth All-America honor of the meet. In the same race, Connor Rumpit ’20 checked in one spot after his teammate, with a time of 15:29.34.
Humphrey Pruett ’19 and Tommy Weiss ’20 rounded out Kenyon’s top individual marks. In the 200 breaststroke, Pruett was victorious in the consolation final with a mark of 2:00.29. Weiss, who earned his sixth career All-America honor, won the 100 free as he touched the wall in 44.37, a Kenyon season-best time. Additionally, Joe Black ’22 earned an All-America finish in the freestyle race as he claimed 12th place.
In the final event of the evening, the 400-yard free relay, Kenyon closed its championship efforts with a third-place finish. Robert Williams ’19, Black, Weiss and Fitch completed the race in 3:00.00.