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DU men capture fifth-straight Miami Invitational title

Ryan Stevenson  |  Photo by Jason Miller
Ryan Stevenson | Photo by Jason Miller

OXFORD, Ohio—Denison closed out the 2017 Miami Invitational in first place with 1,467 points marking the fifth consecutive year the Big Red has left the Corwin M. Nixon Aquatic Center with the team championship.

On Saturday, DU added 15 more 'B' cuts and one varsity record to its impressive resume on the weekend.  The new program record came from sophomore Mitch Williams in the 200 butterfly.  Williams trimmed 1.20 off his prelim time to place second in the event with a time of 1:47.91.  That broke the previous record of 1:48.59 set by Jack Lindell in 2015.  DU's depth has been on full display throughout the weekend and in the 200 fly, nine Denison swimmers finished in the top-16.

In the A-Final of the 200 fly, after Williams' runner-up finish, Aaron Saccurato took fifth with a 'B' cut time of 1:51.40.  Kymani Senior, Matt Hedman and Kenny Fox finished 7-8-9, respectively.  Senior touched in 1:52.55, Hedman finished in 1:54.30 and Fox hit the wall in 1:54.69.  In the B-Final, Denison took up half of the lanes as Blake Kent took 12th (1:52.97), Francis Biagioli was 13th (1:53.26), Brandt Swanson was 15th (1:53.87) and Liam Marsden-Readford was 16th (1:55.33).

Denison's lone victory on Saturday night came from Ryan Stevenson in the 200 breaststroke.  Stevenson edged out teammate Jake Ball by 0.54 with a winning 'B' cut time and P.R. of 2:01.24.  Ball logged a 2:01.78 which was also a provisional qualifying time.  In prelims, Tiernan Foster-Smith nabbed a 'B' cut and a spot in the A-Final with a time of 2:04.61. He placed ninth in the finals in 2:08.18. In the B-Final, Jake Von Der Lippe took 10th (2:07.15) and Zach Hammond was 14th (2:08.02).

There were five PRs and five 'B' cuts recorded in the 1,650 freestyle.  Hedman finished second with a personal best time of 15:36.30.  James Baker was third with a 'B' cut time of 15:50.64. He also dropped 59.62 seconds off his entry time.  Williams, who would go on to set the 200 fly varsity record later in the night, finished sixth in 15:57.77.  Ben Burdick was seventh in 16:00.07 and John Stauffer rounded out the 'B' cuts with a 10th place showing and a time of 16:12.77.  Oli Waldram (14th – 16:17.51) and Jackson Berman (15th – 16:18.59) closed out the event for DU.

The A-Final of the 100 free was stacked with six Denison swimmers as Zach Wagner touched second with a time of 44.83.  Fox was fourth with a personal best time of 45.14.  Stuart Hohm placed fifth in 45.25 and PJ Desmet was sixth in 45.59.  Matt McHugh logged a 'B' cut in prelims after a time of 45.37.  He returned with a 46.02 to place seventh in the finals.  Drake Horton was eighth in 46.08 and Eric Gerlach touched 16th in 46.43.

Bebe Wang led a field of six DU swimmers in the 200 backstroke.  He trimmed 1.59 off his prelim time to finish second in 1:47.48, just 0.04 shy of his PR set last season.  Jason Wesseling was fourth in 1:48.53.  He posted a 'B' cut in prelims after hitting the wall in 1:48.46.  In the B-Final of the 200 back, four Denison swimmers occupied spots 13, 14, 16, 18, respectively led by Chris Sigloh (1:52.69), Kevin Benson (1:53.17), Stauffer (1:53.76) and Alec Carlson (1:54.14).

The meet was closed out by Hohm, Fox, Desmet and Wagner's second-place finish in the 400 free relay.  They took 4.93 seconds off their previous season best for a 'B' cut time of 2:58.43.  Wagner led the way with a 44.10 anchor split.  Hohm led things off with a personal-best 100 free time of 44.94.

Denison will return to intercollegiate competition on Monday, Jan. 15 when they travel to Indianapolis, Indiana to face IUPUI in a dual meet.