With a combined 55 national championship titles already amassed, the Lords’ and Ladies’ swimming and diving teams seek out two more titles at this week’s 2014 NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. Beginning Wednesday, the four-day meets will be held at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis.
The Lords aim for a title defense after coming off a national championship 2013 season in which they logged 499.5 points and upended two-time defending champion Denison University, a team that closed out last year’s national meet with a runner-up spot and 428 points. Prior to Denison’s back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012, the Kenyon men won an NCAA-record 31 consecutive national titles.
On the women’s side, the Ladies continue to chase four-time defending champion Emory University. The Eagles won the 2013 championship with 619 points, while the Ladies placed second with a total of 483. Before Emory’s current run, Kenyon captured 22 of 25 national championships, including 17 straight from 1984 through 2000.
“Championship environments are important ones. They bring out the best in us and give us the very best opportunity to test ourselves: physically, mentally and emotionally,” Jess Book ’01, Kenyon’s head swimming and diving coach, said. “Standing up to that challenge is something that I look forward to watching this team do this week. I trust in them, in the training they have done, in their love of the sport, and in their desire to be the best they can be. Ultimately, it is that pursuit of excellence that makes these meets not only enjoyable but so very valuable as well.”
This season, the Lords are sending the maximum 18 qualifiers to the national meet. It is a young group, one that includes just two senior members and a combined total of 11 first-years and sophomores. Austin Caldwell ’15 is Kenyon’s lone returning individual event champion, having won the 200-yard freestyle last season.
Like the Lords, the Kenyon women send a full roster of 18 qualifiers. One of those is diver Maria Zarka ’16, who looks to defend her 2013 national title on the three-meter board. Another is Celia Oberholzer ’15, who claimed the 2013 national title in the 100-yard backstroke. The make-up of the Ladies’ roster is also young, featuring just three seniors and a dozen underclassmen.