GRANVILLE, Ohio—Denison women's swimming & diving won four of five events on Thursday at the 2017 North Coast Athletic Conference Championship. That has allowed the Big Red to take an 89 point into the third day of competition. Through seven events, Denison has totaled 712 points while Kenyon College sits in second place with 623. Third-place belongs to DePauw University with 411 points while Wooster sits in fourth at 328.
The story of the night for Denison comes from a newcomer, swimming her first conference championship meet and a veteran swimming her last. KT Kustritz broke through with her first individual win in the 200 IM. She touched in 2:04.31, edging out teammate and 2015 champ, Halli Garza at the wall. Garza finished second in 2:05.10 which was a season-best 'B' cut time. Erica Hsu followed in fourth (2:07.79) while Angela Le (6th – 2:08.39) and Kate Mesaros (7th – 2:08.93) rounded out the top finishers for DU. This marked Denison's 12th victory in the 200 IM and the sixth win out of the last eight years.
In the 50 freestyle, Carolyn Kane logged her 12th career conference championship but it was her first in this event. The senior touched in 23.59, 0.21 faster than Zoe Toscos of Kenyon. Gabriella Nutter followed Kane and Toscos in third place with a season-best time of 24.10. Casey Kirby placed sixth (24.26) while Ellen Higdon (16th – 24.93), Jacquelyn Kurkjian (19th - 25.05) and Eva Jorn (22nd – 25.59) closed out the event for DU. The win by Kane snapped a three-year losing skid for Denison in the event. It is the eighth time a Denison swimmer has won the 50 freestyle.
In the 500 freestyle another veteran, Campbell Costley, logged her fourth-straight all-conference performance in the event by placing second in 4:53.30. Since 2014, Costley has placed second, first, third and second. First-year Hannah Rusinko touched sixth with a season-best 'B' cut time of 4:59.69. In the B-Final, Natalie Zaravella (5:04.55) and Alex Elizeus (5:09.29) went 12th and 14th, respectively.
The night started off strong for the Big Red as the 200 free relay team of Nutter, Kane, Kirby and Kustritz won the race in 1:34.47, matching their season-best time set in December. Swimming second, Kane posted a 23.00 split that gave DU the lead. This was the 10th straight conference title in the event for Denison.
Denison sent the crowd home happy with a championship in the 400 medley relay as Kirby, Kustritz, Le and Kane combined for a season-best time of 3:45.86. Kirby started the race off strong with a 55.90 100 backstroke split. This is the second-straight win in the event for Denison. It also marked the third NCAC title of the night for Kane and Kustritz.
Action continues on Friday with prelims and finals of the 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and the 1-meter dive. Prelims begin at 10 a.m. and finals will start at 6:30 p.m.