GRANVILLE, Ohio-- Denison University women's swimming & diving earned their ninth North Coast Athletic Conference championship on Saturday night capping off an impressive four-day performance. Denison totaled 1,988 points and Kenyon followed with 1,769 points. Third place went to DePauw with 1,108 and Wooster checked in fourth at 1,064.
On Saturday night, Denison won 6 of 7 events to finish with 15 victories out of 21 total events.
Carolyn Kane was named the NCAC Swimmer of the Year in the post-meet ceremony with good reason. She won all seven events that she competed in at this year's championship. Her 7-for-7 performance moved her into third-place all-time at DU with 17 conference championships. Kane's night got started with a 100 freestyle victory in 51.34. It was her second win in the event. Her first came in 2015. Gabriella Nutter followed in fifth at 52.46.
Kane returned to cap off the night with a win in the 400 free relay. She anchored the relay that consisted of Nutter, KT Kustritz, and Casey Kirby. Not only did she anchor it, she led rallied for the win after an impressive final 100 split of 49.66. DU posted a time of 3:26.51 while Kenyon touched second at 3:26.58.
Prior to the men's 3-meter diving, Halli Garza became the second athlete to become a three-time winner in the 200 fly as she posted a 'B' cut and new pool record time of 2:01.81. It marked the fourth NCAC title for Garza in her career. Zoe Whelan followed in third place in 2:06.97 and Eva Jorn was eighth in 2:12.09. This was the 12th time a Denison swimmer has won the 200 fly at the NCAC Championship.
While Kane put a capstone on an impressive career at the conference meet, a trio of rookies jumpstarted theirs. Kustritz was named the NCAC Newcomer of the Year after setting a conference and pool record in the 100 IM in 57.81. She matched Kane by going a perfect 7 for 7 in conference championships.
Hannah Rusinko and Kate Mesaros logged their first college championships as Rusinko placed first in the 200 back and Mesaros won the 200 breast. After swimming the grueling 1,650 freestyle and placing eighth in 17:36.63, Rusinko won the 200 back with a season-best 'B' cut time of 2:02.72. Erica Hsu was the runner-up in 2:03.73 and Kirby placed fourth in 2:05.80. Jacqueline Kurkjian rounded out the event with a fifth-place finish in 2:07.22.
In the 200 breaststroke, Mesaros was the champ with a season-best 'B' cut of 2:19.90. She is the first Denison swimmer to win the 200 breast since Natalie Lugg in 2014 and the 10th overall. Ellen Higdon picked up an all-conference certificate with a third-place showing in 2:24.71 and Natalie Zaravella placed fourth in 2:26.66.
2015 NCAC Swimmer of the Year, Campbell Costley, swam her final mile at the NCAC Championship and for the second time in her career, she was the runner-up with a time of 16:59.84. Since 2014 she has finished second, third, first and second at the NCAC meet. Fellow senior Alex Elizeus logged a ninth-place finish in 17:45.89.
In addition to Kane and Kustritz's awards, Allison Fitzgerald was named the NCAC Diver of the Year and Russ Bertram was named the Women's Diving Coach of the Year for the first time.
Over the course of the four-day meet, Denison posted 15 victories and 33 top-3 finishes.
Denison's next event is the Kenyon Invitational on Feb. 18. The NCAA Division III Championships will take place in Shenandoah, Texas on March 15-18.