By Erica Fugger
Over spring break, four members of the Union Women’s Swimming and Diving Team competed in the NCAA Division III National Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee. The meet took place from March 23 through 26 at the University of Tennessee Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville and was hosted by Beloit College and the University of Wooster.
This meet was particularly memorable because Denison University men’s team ended Kenyon College’s thirty-one straight victories, winning the championships by only one point and halting the longest winning streak in NCAA history.
The Union relay team of Priscilla Wright ‘12, Erica Fugger ‘12, Danielle Young ‘14, and Kaleigh Ahern ‘13 were ranked 13th in Divison III and were subsequently invited to compete in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Additionally, they were given the opportunity to swim the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Ahern also achieved an individual qualification in the 100- yard breaststroke, again ranked in 13th place. She was also given the opportunity to swim the 50-yard freestyle, along with Wright who had achieved a ‘B’ cut in the event.
On the men’s side, Ian Drillinger ‘12 had been invited to compete in the diving events, but unfortunately suffered an injury prior to the championships and was unable to compete.
Beginning the championship swims, Wright and Ahern competed in the 50-yard freestyle on the morning of March 23, achieving times of 24.14 and 24.26 respectively.In the same session, the entire relay competed in the 200-yard medley relay in the order of Fugger, Ahern, Young, and Wright. The team achieved a time of 1:49.17.
The following morning, the relay competed in the preliminaries of their main event, originally being invited back to finals again in 13th place. After an overturning of automatic disqualifications based on the electronic timing of the starting blocks, the final heat was reseeded and the team was moved to 15th place, still allowing them to compete in the finals.
In the evening, the relay achieved a time of 1:37.05, ranking them 16th in Division III and qualifying four athletes for All-American Honorable Mention status. The following morning, Ahern competed in the 100-yard breaststroke, achieving a time of 1:06.23.
On the final day of the competition, the team swam the 400-yard freestyle relay, clocking in at 3:31.94. This time would have been a new school record, but unfortunately, the team was disqualified due to an early start.
This meet concluded an exciting 2010-2011 Swimming and Diving season. The team begins their next season at the end of September.