GRANVILLE, Ohio-- The Denison women's swimming & diving team capped off an outstanding weekend with 17 more NCAA cuts and two event wins. The Big Red placed second overall with 2,169 points. Division I Eastern Michigan was the team champion, edging Denison by 54 points. Emory University took third with 1,560 followed by Washington-St. Louis (943) and Wayne State (942).
Donations were accepted at the door throughout the weekend and over $2,400 was raised and more than 450 food items were collected for the Market Street Pantry which will provide over 24,000 meals to help those in need in Licking County.
Head coach Gregg Parini was pleased with his team's performance as well as their ability to impact the local community in a positive way.
"I thought our women had a terrific meet. I couldn't have been more excited about the performance. The women competed with great confidence over the four days," noted Parini. "The Market Street Pantry is such an important part of our families' life I thought it was a great opportunity for our team to do some outreach and help people who are in need. On behalf of the team, we are grateful to everyone who attended the meet and donated."
The Denison women put together a string of impressive swims from Wednesday through Saturday. The meet hit a crescendo in the final event, the 400 free relay when the team of Gabriella Nutter, Michaela Morrison, Tara Culibrk, and Maddie Hopkins set a new Trumbull Aquatics Center record with a winning time of 3:22.06. The previous pool record was 3:22.22 set by Kenyon in 2018.
Denison's depth in the breaststroke also put the nation on notice. In the 200 breast, five DU swimmers logged NCAA 'B' cuts with three posting personal bests. KT Kustritz won the event in 2:16.12. Olivia Lantry set a PR in 2:18.29. Kate Mesaros followed in third place in 2:18.84. Senior Kaila Byerly shattered her personal best in prelims with a 'B' cut time of 2:19.61 and Savannah Sargent took 12th with a time of 2:21.87.
Three more PR's and four 'B' cuts followed in the 100 free led by senior Nutter's PR of 50.55. Hopkins placed second in 50.83. Morrison took seventh in 51.19 and Culibrk finished 10th in 50.95. Both times were PR's for Morrison and Culibrk.
Four individuals posted cuts in the 1,650 freestyle led by senior Caroline Colville (17:16.04). Keely Tierney set a new personal best in 17:18.77 while Megan Balbo (17:25.58) and Grace Kacmarek (17:26.84) closed out the Big Red's provisional qualifiers in the mile.
In the women's 3-meter dive, Naomi Clayton qualified for the finals and finished with a six-dive score of 253.15. Ally Peterson (229.95), Mattie Stauss (204.50), and Taylor Trapp (197.45) finished 9-11, respectively.
Denison's parade of national cuts was closed out by Natalie Zaravella and Zoe Whelan in the 200 fly. Zaravella placed fourth with a time of 2:03.48. In prelims, Zaravella set a personal best with a time of 2:03.43. Whelan finished seventh in 2:05.83. Her 'B' cut came in prelims with a time of 2:05.18.
Denison racked up 43 NCAA 'B' cuts by 20 different swimmers. Denison swimmers who posted an NCAA 'B' cut are named below: Megan Balbo, Kaila Byerly, Mia Chiappe, Caroline Colville, Tara Culibrk, Maddie Hopkins, Erica Hsu, Grace Kacmarek, Casey Kirby, KT Kustritz, Olivia Lantry, Angela Le, Kate Mesaros, Michaela Morrison, Gabriella Nutter, Hannah Rusinko, Savannah Sargent, Keely Tierney, Zoe Whelan, and Natalie Zaravella.