Through five events at the 2013 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championship in Shenandoah, Texas, Denison sits in third place with 92 points. The Big Red posted at least one top-eight finish in all five events on the first night from the Conroe ISD Natatorium.
Defending national champion, Emory University, leads the meet with 151.5 points. Kenyon College sits in second-place with 104 points while Williams trails the Big Red by just one half point heading into day two of the four-day championship.
Senior Alyssa Swanson started off the meet with a bronze finish in the 500 free, touching in 4:52.69. The time was nearly a four second improvement over her 11th place finish in the event last year. The third-place finish marked Swanson's 18th career All-America certificate.
Another third-place finish was logged by sophomore Michelle Howell in the 200 individual medley. Howell broke the previous school record (2:03.63) set by Kate Rich in 2009 with her time of 2:02.30 in morning prelims. In Wednesday's championship final, Howell improved her time, hitting the wall in 2:01.99. In the consolation final, Natalie Lugg placed third, good for an 11th place overall finish after a time of 2:06.06.
In the 3-meter dive competition, first-year Kelly Frazier qualified for the championship final after a seventh-place finish in afternoon preliminaries. In the finals, Frazier posted an 11-dive score of 468.35 that landed her in sixth-place overall. Kenyon first-year Maria Zarka won the event national title with a score of 514.25. Frazier will also compete in Friday's 1-meter board.
Another rookie was shining bright on Wednesday night as sprint freestyler Ashley Yearwood qualified for the championship final after her time of 23.43. In the final, Yearwood posted a time of 23.73 that placed her in eighth place while earning 11 points toward the Big Red's cause.
The final event of the night was the 200 medley relay and DU checked into the final with the fourth-fastest time in the field. After the championship heat, that is exactly where DU would wind up. The foursome of Maddie Armitage, Lugg, Yearwood, and Morgan Nuess finished in 1:43.57, equaling its fourth place finish from a year ago.
Denison will be back in the pool on Thursday morning as preliminaries in the 200 free relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, and 400 medley relay begin at 11 a.m. EST.