February 15, 2014

Men win title in front of home crowd

It may be Denison's seventh North Coast Athletic Conference Championship, but this one's special.  For the first time in program history they were able to defend their crown in their own house.  With the Trumbull Aquatics Center serving as a fabulous backdrop, the Denison men took center stage and led the championship wire-to-wire.

On Saturday the Big Red saw their 155 point lead shrink a bit, but entering the night's final event, Denison led by 55.5 points.  The 400 free relay served as the capstone to the meet, and DU placed second as Ryan Fleming, Conrad Wuorinen, Spencer Fronk, and Carlos Maciel posted a season-best time of 2:59.71.  The Lords won the race at the wall in 2:59.68.

The final standings saw DU total 1,898.5 points while Kenyon finished 44.5 points behind with 1,851.  DePauw finished third with 1,242 points and Wabash took home fourth with 958 points.

There were six event finals on Saturday night and Denison posted one event title as Wuorinen captured his first NCAC crown with a time of 44.95 in the 100 free.  That was a season-best 'B' cut time for Gahanna, Ohio native.  The 100 freestyle also saw a rarity in the world of swimming as there was a three-way tie for second-place as Denison's Fleming, DePauw's Alex Alfonso, and Kenyon's Joey Duronio posted identical times of 45.31.

The 100 free would be rounded out by Maciel in seventh (45.97), Fronk in 10th (45.98), and Andrew Rich in 11th with a time of 46.03.

The Big Red had a fairly comfortable lead after the 100 freestyle, but two disqualifications in the 200 breaststroke and 112 points by the Lords would give Kenyon a glimmer of hope.  That glimmer would vanish when the Big Red successfully finished the 400 free relay.

Denison's four distance swimmers pulled the curtain on the night as PJ Fallon, Al Weik, Conner Downard, and Nathan Thorne finished in positions, two, three, six, and seven, respectively.  Fallon recorded a season-best time of 15:38.94 which is a strong 'B' cut as NCAA national cut day approaches.  Weik checked in third in 15:40.47.

In the 200 backstroke, Jackson Humphrey was edged out by eventual NCAC Men's Swimmer of the Year Harrison Curley of Kenyon, but he did finish second and post a season-best time of 1:48.63.  First-year Jack Lindell was fourth in 1:51.75 and Max Howes followed in fifth with a time of 1:53.15.

Denison's all-conference performers were rounded out by Tim Smith in the 200 fly as he touched third in 1:52.98.

Over the course of the meet, DU won nine of the 20 events.  Carlos Maciel broke his own meet record in the 200 IM on Thursday and Connor Dignan set two national records in the one and three meter boards. On Friday, Damon Rosenburg set a new NCAC record in the 100 breast.  In the post meet award ceremony, Gregg Parini won NCAC Men's Swimming Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his career.  First-year men's diving coach Russ Bertram picked up the Men's Diving Coach of the Year award and Dignan was voted as the NCAC Male Diver of the Year.