DePauw Men’s and Women’s Swim Teams Finish Third in NCAC Championship

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Typically, teams would scoff at celebrating a third place finish, but when the only teams ahead are the sole Div. III swimming and diving national champions of the past 30 years, there’s good reason for celebration.
That was the case for the men’s swimming and diving team, that took third at the North Coast Athletic Conference championship behind swimming powerhouses Denison University and Kenyon College. The Tigers, ranked eleventh, scored 987 points, behind second place Kenyon (1515) and the conference champions, Denison (1704).
The women also fell to third behind Denison and Kenyon, who, in addition to Emory University, have won the national championship for the past 20 years. The women totaled 904.5 points to earn their third place spot behind Kenyon in second (1604.5) and first-place Denison (1654).
For men’s head coach Adam Cohen, who was named this year’s men’s swimming and diving NCAC coach of the year, the strategy behind going head to head against the best programs in the country was simple.
“You have to come in with a little bit of swagger,” Cohen said. “You can’t be intimidated. We’re going to race the best in the country and see what happens.”
For the men, that meant one conference champion in sophomore Casey Hooker in the 100-yard butterfly and at least nine swimmers with legitimate chances to swim in the Div. III national championship in Shenandoah, Texas March 20-23.
For the women, two third place finishes by freshman Caroline Bridges’ in the 100-yard freestyle and the team’s 400-freestyle relay were their highest placing events of the weekend. Bridges and junior Emily Weber, who placed sixth in the 1,650 freestyle, were the two individual Tiger female athletes to earn B-cut times and a shot at nationals. Weber said three other relays also have chances at making it to Texas.
Weber was excited about her team’s performance after finishing fourth overall in last year’s NCAC championship.
“We are very, very proud of getting third,” Weber said. “We had a lot of girls in the final heats, the top eight, so usually it’s just Kenyon and Denison so it’s great to see.”
Cohen was grateful for the coach of the year award, but quickly passed on credit to his team and staff of coaches.
“[The award] goes to your staff as much as anyone,” Cohen said. “[It] goes to your team and the whole athletic department. We have a lot of people, and at the end of the day it’s the great swimmers that get you there.”
Both teams will continue practicing into next week, when the national swimmers are announced.