Women leave Canton with honors, look to send Baker to nationals

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The NCAC conference championships in Canton, Ohio this past weekend proved successful for the women's swimming and diving team. Two team members earned all-conference honors and one will have a chance to compete at the Div. III nationals in Indianapolis.

The Tigers also totaled 877 points to finish fourth overall. Denison won with 1,611 points followed by Kenyon with 1,581 and Wooster with 947.

"We were a little sporadic at times," head coach Mary Bretscher said. "But overall with the new atmosphere and everything, I think we handled it pretty well."

After the first full day of competition on Thursday, the DePauw women totaled 248 points, 2 points behind Wittenberg University in third place.

"The stakes were higher, and we knew the competition overall was going to be a lot tougher than the SCAC championships," junior Courtney Lehmann said.

Both relays finished fifth as the 200-yard freestyle relay of senior Rachel Wheaton, freshman Mary Reilly, Lehmann and junior Nicole Rossillo finished in 1:38.06 and the 400 medley relay of freshman Emma Haynes, sophomore Allison Kirby, senior Catie Baker and Rossillo swam a 4:00.48.

"I thought we got off to a slow start Thursday morning," Bretscher said. "Every session we got more energy and better performances as a result."

Junior Morgan Crandall said that the divers were given more opportunity to get to know their competition than the swimmers.

"It's a pretty social sport because you get to stand around and talk to other divers from different schools," Crandall said. "It's a great conference to be in."

Crandall placed 10th with 219.5 in the three-meter competition, while Morgan Crandall's sister, freshman Sarah Crandall, placed 6th with 288.75 points. Junior Chelsea Courtney placed 4th in the three-meter dive with 322.60 points.

"This is a great conference for the divers to shine," Bretscher said. "[In the SCAC] it used to be hard to break into the top 8."

After the 2nd day, the Tigers totaled 545 points and found themselves in fifth place. With Denison and Kenyon still in the first and second spots, College of Wooster snuck up into 3rd with 616 points followed by Wittenberg with 552 points.

"We were obviously the underdogs going into the NCAC championships, the new kids on the block if you will," Lehmann said. "We wanted the other teams to see how much support we have for each other."

Baker made an NCAA B cut with a 4th place finish in the 100-breast stroke with a time of 1:04.84. A B cut time gives a swimmer reserve-like status for the national competition. Swimmers will find out on March 2nd whether or their B cut times will earn them a spot in Indianapolis.

On the final day of the competition, Saturday Feb. 18, diver Courtney earned all-NCAC honors with a second-place finish in one-meter diving with 369.75 points. Morgan Crandall finished fifth with 326.70 points and Sarah Crandall was seventh with 278.5.

"Everybody comes together during conference," Morgan Crandall said. "You want your best time, but you want to beat the other teams. I love being a part of the swim team as a whole during that week."

Baker achieved another B cut time in the 200-breast stroke and finished second in 2:20.23 to earn all-NCAC honors.

Bretscher said that she's proud of how the team competed all season. She said that while they will miss the senior class, she's excited about the freshmen.

"Next year we'll get to see some of the younger swimmers move into scoring positions," she said. "We had a great work ethic this season."

Baker will now continue to train and wait to see if either of her B cut times will land her a spot in the NCAA Div. III championships.