Denison lurking as final day of nationals draws near

Sean Chabot was the runner-up in the 100 backstroke.
Sean Chabot was the runner-up in the 100 backstroke.

Two years ago the Denison Big Red trailed Kenyon by 35 points heading into the final night of the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championship.  This year the Big Red find themselves staring down a 47.5 point deficit.  Once again, it will take a little bit of Saturday night magic if the Big Red are to capture their third-consecutive national title.

Kenyon leads the field with 355.5 points while Denison sits in second with 308 points.  MIT is third with 275 points and Johns Hopkins occupies fourth-place with 240 points.  Emory University is in fifth with 220 points.

On Friday night, four event finals took place and Denison logged four, top-five finishes.  They gained 12.5 points on the Lords in the 100 backstroke after Sean Chabot and Quinn Bartlett finished in second and fifth-place, respectively.  Chabot went head-to-head with Dylan Davis of Johns Hopkins and Davis came out on top by one one-hundreth of a second.  Davis touched in 48.62 while Chabot clocked in at 48.63.  Meanwhile Bartlett ended with a time of 48.81 which was faster than his 2012 time that landed him in third-place.

The 100 breaststroke followed the 100 back and sophomore Damon Rosenburg improved five spots over his finish from a year ago.  Rosenburg was seeded fifth after preliminaries and he held his position in the finals with a time of 55.48 seconds.  That is the third All-America swim of the 2013 championship and Rosenburg's fifth, overall.

The night was opened by Dan Hellman and his 14th place finish in the 200 butterfly.  He touched the wall in 1:50.21 to earn his second career All-America certificate.

The night was closed out with the 800 free relay and the team of Chabot, Carlos Maciel, Joe Brunk, and Al Weik took the bronze with a time of 6:32.98.  Johns Hopkins won the race and broke Denison's meet record that was set in 2012.  Hopkins touched in 6:29.27, ending Denison's two-year hold on the event national title.  Over the last eight years, Denison has captured six 800 free relay national championships.

The remaining six events are the 1650 freestyle where Weik will seek his third-straight national title, the 100 freestyle, the 200 backstroke, the 200 breaststroke, the 3-meter dive and the 400 free relay.

Preliminaries will begin at 11 a.m. EST with the finals scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. from Conroe ISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas.