Denison University will host the 2014 North Coast Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships on Wednesday, Feb. 12 through Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Trumbull Aquatics Center. This will mark the first time the conference swimming championships will be held on one of its member campus since 1998 when Oberlin College served as the host. Since 1998, the championships have been hosted annually at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, Ohio.
The event will begin on Wednesday evening with the men's 3-meter diving preliminaries and finals at 7 p.m. Swimming events will begin on Thursday morning with preliminaries at 10 a.m. followed by the event finals at 6:30 p.m. Thursday's schedule will continue through Saturday's conclusion.
Tickets will be $45 for an adult all-session pass. All-session passes for children 18 and under, or non-NCAC students with a college ID will be $24. One day passes that will include preliminary and finals sessions will be available for $15 and $8. Those wishing to attend just one session will pay $10 and $5 for a finals session and $5 or $3 for a preliminary session. NCAC students with a valid college ID will be admitted free to all sessions, but they must show their ID and obtain a ticket for each individual session. No all-session or one-day passes will be distributed to NCAC students.
All tickets will be sold at the main entrance of Denison's Mitchell Center. All seating inside the Trumbull Aquatics Center is general admission and will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis. The facility will open to spectators 90 minutes prior to the first event of each session.
More information on the championships, such as directions to the venue, parking, online video coverage, visitors guides and past championship history are available at the NCAC Swimming & Diving Championship Website.
Denison Women's Swimming & Diving Championship Preview
Big Red women check into this week's championship with the league's top seed time in nine of the 15 individual events. Senior Natalie Lugg will provide veteran leadership for DU in breaststroke events as she enters the meet with the league's second-best time in both the 100 (1:03.30) and 200 (2:18.80).
The Big Red also boasts a pair of juniors who are primed to make a big impact for the squad this winter. Michelle Howell, the defending NCAC champion in both individual medley events, enters this year's meet with the league's top time in the 400 IM (4:23.18) and the second-best time-to-date in the 200 IM (2:06.77), while Molly Willingham, a two-time NCAC champion and seven-time All-American, enters the championship meet as the top backstroke performer in the league, owning times of 56.02 in the 100 and 2:02.64 in the 200.
A trio of underclassmen should also play a big factor for the Big Red this year in sophomore Ashley Yearwood, sophomore Taylor Johns and freshman Carolyn Kane. Yearwood, the 2013 50 freestyle champion, will again compete in the sprint free events as well as numerous Big Red relay squads, while Johns leads all NCAC swimmers this season in the 1,650 free with a time of 16:51.08. Kane makes her debut at the championship meet with high expectations as she owns the top times to date in three of the five individual freestyle events - 50 (23.34), 100 (51.14) and 200 1:50.15).
On the boards, Denison first-year divers Carrie Bookheimer and Morgan Christman have posted the conference's top 11-dive scores in their respective events. Bookheimer leads the field in the 3-meter board with a score of 368.25 while Christman's score of 409.20 leads the group in the 1-meter competition.
Denison Men's Swimming & Diving Championship Previews
The Denison men will rely on a strong grouping of upperclassmen as they attempt to retain the team title at the league championship meet for the sixth year in a row. The senior trio of Jackson Humphrey, Carlos Maciel and Al Weik will look to add to their already strong conference resumes at this year's event. Weik, who owns five NCAC titles, seven NCAA titles and 12 All-American citations, aims to become just the second swimmer in NCAC history to win four-straight 1,650 freestyle titles.
Humphrey also looks to extend a streak as he has earned at least a share of the last two 200 butterfly titles. Humphrey is also one of the NCAC's top backstroke swimmers; he enters the meet with the second-best time in both the 100 (50.10) and 200 (1:48.83), while his 200 IM time of 1:50.41 is also second among NCAC swimmers this season.
Maciel, who owns two NCAC titles and 13 All-American certificates, will look to defend his league title in the 200 IM and also hopes to finish strong in the 100 and 200 freestyles. He enters the meet with the league's top time in the 200 free (1:38.00) and second-best time in the 100 free (45.23), trailing only teammate Spencer Fronk's 100 time of 45.08. Junior Damon Rosenburg, the two-time defending league champion in the 100 breast, will look for a pair of strong breaststroke performances as he owns the NCAC's top time in the 100 (53.61) and the third-best time in the 200 (2:01.37). In addition, the Big Red enters the meet with three All-NCAC divers - junior Connor Dignan, junior Connor Dorff and sophomore Ben Lewis. In 2013, Lewis won the one-meter competition and Dorff finished third on the three-meter board, while Dignan finished second on both boards in 2012.
*Team previews courtesy of the North Coast Athletic Conference