GRANVILLE, Ohio-- Denison women's swimming & diving extended its lead at the 2020 North Coast Athletic Conference Championships on Friday night. The Big Red won four of six events and posted 21 top-9 finishes to extend its lead to 150 points over second-place Kenyon. Denison enters the final day of competition with 1,335 points. Kenyon has 1,185 points followed by DePauw (699), Allegheny (643), and Wooster (590).
Senior standout KT Kustritz became the second female in conference history to capture four-straight championships in the 100 breaststroke. She held off Kenyon's Andrea Perttula with a winning time of 1:01.48. The only other time one swimmer has posted a clean sweep in the event was Kenyon's Jeannine Gury from 1986-89.
Senior Erica Hsu captured her first NCAC championship by posting a strong NCAA 'B' cut time of 4:21.98 in the 400 IM. Hsu took 5.48 seconds off her time from prelims and her winning time is the second-fastest time in Division III based on times entering the meet. DU went 1-2-3-5-7 in the 400 IM allowing them to gain some major ground on the competition. In second place, Savy Sargent posted a season-best time of 4:25.15. Two-time defending champion Natalie Zaravella finished third with a time of 4:26.53 while Grace Kacmarek (4:28.97) and Bridget Horton (4:31.78) touched fifth and seventh, respectively.
Hsu wasn't the only first-time conference champion crowned on Friday. Mia Chiappe won the 200 freestyle in 1:50.46, snapping a four-year championship drought in the event for Denison. Chiappe touched with a winning time of 1:50.46, marking a 1.09 improvement from preliminaries. First-year Tara Culibrk placed third in 1:51.20. Hannah Rusinko and Gabriella Nutter ended up fourth and fifth respectively with times of 1:52.62 and 1:53.28.
In the 100 fly, Maddie Hopkins and Zoe Whelan finished in second and third place, respectively. Hopkins recorded a time of 54.72 and Whelan finished in 55.21. Angela Le ended in fifth place while Kate Mesaros touched in ninth at 57.16.
Le paced Denison in the 100 backstroke with a third-place showing in 55.75 while trimming .58 off her season-best 'B' cut time. Casey Kirby took fourth in 56.14 and Whelan was seventh in 58.71.
At last year's NCAA championship Denison set a new national record in the 200 medley relay. At this year's conference championship, the team of Kirby, Kustritz, Hopkins, and Nutter broke their own conference record with a time of 1:40.16 marking the 14th time a team from Denison has won the 200 medley relay at the NCAC Swimming & Diving Championship. Nutter closed out the victory with a 22.38 50 freestyle split.
The 2020 NCAC Championship will close out on Saturday with eight events. Preliminaries begin at 9:30 a.m. followed by finals at 6 p.m.