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Women out in front at Denison Invitational

Caroline Colville is congratulated after her B cut in the 500 Free
Caroline Colville is congratulated after her B cut in the 500 Free

GRANVILLE, Ohio—Denison's top-ranked women's swimming and diving team are in the lead after the first day of the 2018 Denison Invitational.  The Big Red totaled 756 points on Thursday giving them a 146.5 point advantage over second place Eastern Michigan.  Emory University is third with 557.5 points, followed by Wayne State (Mich.) 370, Washington-St. Louis (354), Ohio State (58) and Thomas More (14).

Two-time national champion and last year's national runner-up in the 200 IM, KT Kustritz, broke her own varsity record with an NCAA 'A' cut time of 2:00.41 to win the event.  Kustritz' time is the fastest in Division III this season.  Following in second place was Natalie Zaravella with a personal best 'B' cut time of 2:03.79.  Erica Hsu also posted a P.R. with 'B' cut time of 2:05.75.  Swimming out of the B-Final, Michaela Morrison logged a 'B' cut with a time of 2:06.41 after a 1.83 second time drop from prelims.

The Big Red posted two more NCAA 'B' cuts in the 500 free as Hannah Rusinko touched fourth with a time of 4:56.75.  Fellow junior Caroline Colville took 2.34 seconds off her time in prelims to post a personal best time of 4:58.98 which was also a 'B' cut.  Last year, Colville just missed nationals after a time of 5:00.77 at Kenyon's Fast Chance Invitational. The invited time in 2018 was 4:59.14.

Rounding out the A-Final of the 500 free for Denison was Spencer Crawford (7th – 5:04.52), Grace Kacmarek (8th – 5:04.93) and Megan Balbo (9th – 5:13.08).

In the 50 free, Maddie Hopkins logged a personal best time of 23.45 to finish third.  Casey Kirby followed in sixth at 23.63 and Gabriella Nutter finished third in the B-Final with a time of 23.69.  All three logged NCAA 'B' cuts.

In the women's 1-meter dive competition, Denison's foursome of divers earned a total of 89 points toward the team total.  Emma Weber led the team with an eighth-place finish and a six-dive score of 211.90.  First-year Mattie Stauss followed in ninth place at 207.15 while Allison Fitzgerald checked in 10th at 203.45.  Junior Naomi Clayton placed 12th with a score of 185.55.  The winner was Sophia Tsafantakis from Eastern Michigan who posted an NCAA Division I 'B' cut score of 265.55.

The night was kicked off by the fastest time posted in Division III this season in the 200 free relay.  The team of Mia Chiappe, Hopkins, Kirby and Kustritz won the event with a 'B' cut time of 1:32.81.  The foursome dropped 3.83 seconds off their time in prelims.

The 400 medley relay closed the night's finals and the same relay squad finished second with a 'B' cut time of 3:42.72.

Denison returns to the Trumbull Aquatics Center on Friday for finals in the 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, 800 freestyle and the men's 1-meter dive.