The Stevens men's swimming team had its best-ever performance at the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships last week, placing program-high sixth place. For the third-straight year, the Stevens women’s swimming team finished amongst the nation’s best programs, placing seventh at the national meet.
Stevens Men’s Swimming
The Ducks finished with 185 points, by far the most in program history. Stevens finished 14th in 2011, 11th in 2012 and now sixth in 2013.
“I couldn't be happier with how our teams performed this past week,” Head Swimming Coach Brad Thornton said. “From our first time qualifiers on up to our incredible senior class, this group worked hard all season to perform the way they did. Our senior class really stepped up to make their last NCAA's a special one, and the best season in our programs history. We were able to achieve a lot at the meet, including our first NCAA National Champion and our first All-American relay, and I'm very proud of we accomplished.”
The program had its first-ever NCAA National Champion in junior Simas Jarasunas who won the 100-yard breaststroke with a school-record time of 54.57. Jarasunas edged out Colby Kubat of St. Olaf College who was second (54.96) by .41 of a second. The junior picked up 20 team points. The Lithuanian matched his previous school-record with a 55.55 in the prelims, and entered the championship final as the second seed.
“When Simas arrived on campus this past January, he hadn't trained in roughly two years,” said Thornton. “He put in an incredible amount of work over the last 10 weeks to get the point he's at right now. If he chooses to continue his swimming career beyond this semester, he's going to be extremely successful and we wish him the best. “
A program-high 12 swimmers made the trip to the national meet this year in senior Alex Benham, senior Greg Charriez, sophomoreWesley Elford, junior Shawn Hanak, freshman Byron Held, junior Tyler Hessler, senior John Hu, Jarasunas, freshman Joshua Lefeber, senior Daniel Munt, junior Nick Noga and junior Tommy Wolinski. That group combined for 10 school records (500-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley relay, 400-yard individual medley, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard butterfly, 800-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard backstroke, 200-yard breaststroke and 400-yard freestyle).
In total, Stevens had 10 All-America swims, 19 All-America honors, four honorable mention All-America swims and 10 honorable mention All-America nods. All-America means you placed in the top-eight, while honorable mention All-America is places nine through 16.
Stevens Women’s Swimming
Stevens women’s swimming has now finished in the top-10 the last three years, placing seventh in 2013, fifth in 2012 and sixth in 2011. The Ducks have been in the top-15 the last five seasons, finishing 12th in 2010 and 11th in 2009.
Eight women’s swimmers made the trip to the Conroe Natatorium, helping the Ducks earn 167 team points. Senior Marissa Douglas, sophomore Brittany Geyer , freshman Elizabeth Heinbach, sophomore April Lawson, sophomore Nicole Miller, junior Louise Moores, sophomore Sharon Rooker and freshman Jennifer Rutledge combined for a total of five school-records – 200-yard individual medley, 200-yard medley relay, 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard breaststroke. They turned in eight top-eight swims which netted a total of 17 All-America honors. Stevens also had five honorable mention All-America (places nine through 16) swims that tallied 10 honorable mention All-America accolades.
“With all the positives from the past week, I still believe we can continue to get better heading into next season,” said Thornton. “The team is highly motivated right now to put in the individual work that will be required to contribute on the conference and national level in 2014.”
The Ducks will now head into the off-season as the No. 7 team in the nation and the champions of the Empire 8 and Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC).
For full coverage of the Ducks performance at the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships, visit www.stevensducks.com.