It was a milestone night for Denison men's diving as first-year Ben Lewis captured the program's first individual event national championship after his inspiring performance in the 1-meter board on Thursday night. Lewis's victory, combined with Gabe Dixson's sixth-place finish in the event helped DU cut into Kenyon College's overall points lead.
Through 10 events, Denison remains in second-place with 228 points. They trail the Lords by 58 points with 10 events remaining in the 2013 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championship from Shenandoah, Texas. Lurking in third-place is MIT with 204 points while Johns Hopkins follows with 179 points.
The composed Lewis needed a score of 46.45 or better on his 11th and final dive and the rookie nailed it, scoring a 48.10 to lock up the national championship. He finished with a total of 494.65 while Dixson followed with a score of 462.00. Last year it was Dixson that came within an eyelash of becoming DU's first national champ as he placed second in the 1-meter board with a score of 506.30. DU's pair of divers scored 33 unanswered points against the other four top scoring teams in the field.
In the swimming events, Denison was led once again by junior Al Weik who posted his second-straight runner-up finish in the 400 individual medley. Weik touched in 3:51.98 and broke his own school record that he set in morning preliminaries. First-place went to Mary Washington sophomore Hugh Anderson who broke the meet record with a time of 3:50.55.
In the consolation of the 400 IM, Denison's Jackson Humphrey and Matt Montague placed 11th and 13th, respectively. Humphrey touched in 3:56.14 while Montgue locked up his first All-America award in 3:57.51.
The 200 freestyle saw DU total 27 points while being led by Carlos Maciel and his fifth-place time of 1:38.35. First-year Joe Brunk and junior Sean Chabot landed in the consolation final and Brunk placed 10th (1:38.87) while Chabot came in 11th (1:39.07). After that race Denison trailed Kenyon by 81 points.
Over the final two events, DU nearly cut its team deficit in half.
The final race of the night was the 400 medley relay and the foursome of Quinn Bartlett, Damon Rosenburg, Andrew Rich and Spencer Fronk placed fourth in 3:16.30 to earn 30 points toward the Denison cause. The victory in the event went to Kenyon who came from third to first over the final 25 yards to squeak out the win.
Other scorers for Denison on Thursday came from Rich and his 13th place finish in the 100 butterfly (49.20). In the opening event, Denison's 200 free relay team of Ryan Fleming, Bartlett, Maciel, and Fronk won the consolation heat in 1:21.58.
DU will return to Conroe ISD Natatorium on Friday for the 200 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, and the 800 free relay. Preliminaries will begin at 11 a.m. EST while finals are set to begin at 7 p.m. EST.