While the rest of campus was heading off to warm places for spring break, the men’s swimteam journeyed northward to compete in the NCAA Division III Championships. The meet, held March 18-20 at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, proved to be a successful trip for the squad as they placed twelfth, with 98 points, in a field of over fifty teams. Kenyon won the meet with 670 points, pushing their national championship win streak to 20. Denison was second (382.5 points), and the University of California-San Diego was third (289).
In addition to securing twelfth place as a team, the men came home with five All-Americans and five Honorable Mention All-Americans. Co-captain Mike Hodel ’99, Fred Licon ’99, Cyrus King ’00, Chris Wendell ’00 and Jeff McBride ’02 all placed in the top eight in an event to qualify for All-American.
Co-captain Jon Shade ’99, Jason Frink ’00, Alex Poole ’00, Geoff Allen ’01, and Tom Pickard ’01 all placed ninth through sixteenth in an event to qualify for Honorable Mention.
Leading the way for the Ephs in the water were swimmers King and Licon, the only two to qualify for finals in individual events. King swam a fast 1:51.16 to take third place in the 200-yard backstroke, the top finish of the meet for the Ephmen. He also placed eighth in the 100-yard backstroke, swimming the shorter event in 52.18.
Licon qualified for consolation finals in the 50 and 100-yard freestyles, and placed thirteenth in both. He swam the 50 in 20.96 seconds and the 100 in 46.09.
Diver Wendell also had a very good meet. His 3-meter competition was particularly impressive as he flipped and spun his way to fifth place, scoring 483.80 points along the way.
This point total is a new school record. Wendell performed solidly on 1-meter as well, scoring 381.35 points to grab thirteenth place.
Eph relays also did well, as all but the 200-yard freestyle relay (which was disqualified in finals) scored.
Leading the way was the 800-yard freestyle relay. Swimming on this relay were King, Hodel, McBride and Licon, who posted a time of 6:54.59 which was good for seventh place.
In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Allen and Poole joined Hodel and Licon to swim a 3:09.02, which was good enough for fourteenth place.
Williams’ 400-yard medley relay team of King, Shade, Frink and Licon swam a time of 3:29.50 to place twelfth. The shorter (200-yard) medley relay of King, Shade, Pickard and Licon placed fifteenth in 1:35.95.
Reflecting on the meet, Hodel noted that this is a team that is building. “It was a good experience for some of the younger swimmers to get in and compete at this level,” he commented. “The team really relied on some of the younger swimmers this year and now that some of them have had a chance to compete at Nationals they will be all the more prepared to really step up in the coming years.”