Sport, NCAC, Athletics GAMBIER, Ohio — JANUARY 27: Kenyon College swimming and diving host Miami University (OH) at the James A. Steen Aquatic Center on the campus of Kenyon College, January 27, 2023, in Gambier, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes)

Owls add three titles on day two of NCAC Championship

GRANVILLE, Ohio — Coming off wins in both of the Owls’ events on day one of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Championship, Bryan Fitzgerald, the 2022 NCAC Men’s Swimmer of the Year, helped the Kenyon College men’s swimming and diving team pick up where they left off. The senior won the night’s first event, the 500-yard freestyle, with a time of 4:25.97. It was Fitzgerald’s second straight NCAC crown in the event after consecutive second-place finishes in 2019 and 2020.

Kenyon did not finish first in the subsequent two events, the 200-yard individual medley and the 50-yard freestyle, but the Owls still added meaningful points to their team total. 

In the 200 IM, Noah Hargrove and Luis Weekes finished back-to-back, with Hargrove touching third with a time of 1:50.18 and Weekes finishing fourth after clocking a 1:50.42. 

Djordje Dragojlovic finished 0.08 seconds back of the first-place mark in the 50-yard freestyle sprint, completing the down-and-back in 20.25 seconds. Three Owls finished within 0.17 seconds of one another in fourth through sixth place, as Mart Niehoff (20.44), Cherantha De Silva (20.50), and Daniel Brooks (20.61) added 84 points to Kenyon’s total.

Israel Zavaleta, the 2022 NCAC Men’s Diver of the Year, emphatically got Kenyon back on track thanks to his performance in the one-meter diving finals. The junior scored 586.60 points, over 100 more than the runner-up, in a record-setting performance. The mark resets his own Kenyon varsity record of 576.40, which he set in last season’s NCAA Title-winning performance on Mar. 18, 2022. The dive is also in line to be an NCAA Division III record, pending approval from the NCAA office. However, Zavaleta’s total is a few points shy of the NCAC record of 590.35, which was set in 2002 when NCAA records could only be set at the NCAA Championships.

The Owls closed day two with a conference championship in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The Kenyon ‘A’ team of Dragojlovic, Brooks, Niehoff, and Marko Krtinic clocked in at 1:19.21, winning the relay by over two seconds.

Despite adding three NCAC titles, the Owls lost their hold on first place and fell to second at day’s end. Denison University leads the way through 14 events with 691 points, just ahead of Kenyon’s 651. Wabash College rounds out the top three with 359.5 points.

Kenyon will have a chance to reclaim their edge on day three, which opens with preliminary heats at 9:30 a.m. before final heats begin at 6 p.m.

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