INDIANAPOLIS, IN. – Eight members of the Pomona-Pitzer Men's Swim and Dive program will be competing in 15 different events at the 2018 NCAA Division III National Championships which will span from March 21st to 24th. The meet will be held at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis in the IU Natatorium and is co-hosted by Franklin College and the Indiana Sports Corporation. The Sagehens will be sending eight representatives via B Cuts, to the national championships who will be competing in eight different events. This is the most representatives the Sagehens have sent to the national championship in the history of the program.
"I remember three years ago, I was the only guy who qualified for the National Championships and it was a little lonely," said senior Mark Hallman. "This year we have eight guys competing. Morale has been really good. We've been seeded higher in the meet than we have ever been before. This is a really good opportunity for us to show people what we can do."
The Sagehens held a 7-1 SCIAC Dual Meet record and broke an unprecedented 18 program records this season, with Lukas Ming Menkhoff, Samuel To, and Mark Hallman being responsible for two each. In addition to setting new marks in the history books, the Sagehens won their first SCIAC title in history since the formation of the Pomona-PItzer Athletics program, scoring 1086.50 meet points. At the SCIAC Championship, the Sagehens dominated throughout the event, taking first place in every relay event while setting conference and meet records. In addition to Menkhoff, To, and Hallman, Liam O'Shea, Ryan Drover, Will Abele, Adrian Hui, and Nikhil Kundu have recorded NCAA B Cut times in a handful of events to compete for a title at the National Championship. The team has been practicing the last three weeks alongside the women's team before they head out to Indianapolis.
"We haven't changed anything [training] drastically," said Head Coach Jean-Paul Gowdy. "We focused a little more on our relay starts. We know that every hundredth of a second matters in swimming, especially in this meet. We want to be going in with some confidence in our relay starts. Effort and attitude is something we really do well as a team and bring into our training."
Wed. March 21. Trial 7 a.m./Final 3 p.m.
500 Yard Freestyle
Hallman is listed as one of the favorites in this middle-distance event, boasting a seed time of 4:26.66. The senior trails the best time, belonging to Griffith Otazu of Johns Hopkins, by 1.36 seconds, and is projected by the NCAA to finish in second based on the seed time alone. The NCAA record time currently sits at 4:18.35 and is held by Arthur Conover from Kenyon College.
200 Yard Individual Medley
The 200 Yard IM is considered to be a tight race and Samuel To is listed among the favorites, holding a seed time of 1:50.01. The fastest seed time is currently held by Kevin Van Cleave of Washington University in St. Louis at 1:48.15. The NCAA record is held by Andrew Wilson of Emory College last season at 1:44.18.
200 Medley Relay
Drover, Hui, Kundu, and Menkhoff will work together for a shot at the title in the 200 Medley Relay, having posted as seed time of 1:29.49. Emory currently holds the fastest time this season at 1:28.63 while the NCAA Record was held by the same school last season at 1:26.14.
Thur. March 22. Trial 7 a.m./Final 3 p.m.
200 Yard Freestyle
In addition to the 500, Hallman will compete in the 200 as the lone representative from Pomona-PItzer, posting a seed time of 1:38.20. The senior is projected to finish in sixth, just 0.79 seconds behind seed leader Brandon Fabian of Johns Hopkins. The NCAA record time is 1:36.42, held by Evan Holder of Johns Hopkins last season.
100 Yard Butterfly
Ryan Drover holds a top-10 time in the 100 Yard Butterfly, holding a seed time of 48.60. The fastest time this season is held by Kenny Fox of Denison College at 48.15. The NCAA record was set in 2015 and is held by Reed Dalton from Washington University in St. Louis at 46.97.
400 Yard Individual Medley
O'Shea is among the favorites to take the top spot in the 400 Yard IM, posting a seed time of 3:55.17. Standing in his way is Ian Rainey from New York University who holds the fastest seed time at 3:49.68. The NCAA record was set in 2015 and is held by Harrison Curley of Kenyon College at 3:46.62.
200 Freestyle Relay
Hallman, Hui, Menkhoff, and To will competed in the 200 Freestyle Relay, holding a seed time of 1:21.34. The fastest time this season is held by University of Wisconsin-Stevens Points at 1:19.58. Kenyon College set the NCAA record back in 2012 at 1:18.06.
400 Medley Relay
Pomona-Pitzer is among the heavy favorites to win the 400 Medley Relay, as Drover, Hallman, Menkhoff, and To combined for a seed time of 3:16.53. Just a second ahead of them is Denison College at 3:15.47. The NCAA record is held by Emory last season at 3:10.51.
Fri. March 23. Trial 7 a.m./Final 3 p.m.
100 Yard Breaststroke
The best time in the nation this season for the 100 Yard Breaststroke belongs to Lukas Menkhoff. The freshman posted the seed time of 53.70 and is the favorite to win first place at the meet. The NCAA record is 50.94 and is held by Andrew Wilson from Emory last season.
800 Freestyle Relay
Abele, Hallman, O'Shea, and To combined to form a formidable 800 Freestyle Relay team, posting a seed time of 6:40.53. In front of them is the Kenyon College team which holds a seed time of 6:32.38. The NCAA Record is 6:29.27 by Johns Hopkins back in 2013.
Sat. March 24. Trial 7 a.m./Final 3 p.m.
100 Yard Freestyle
Menkhoff is listed as one of the favorites to take the title in the 100, posting the second-fastest seed time in the nation this season at 44.17. His teammate Hallman will also be joining in on this event, as the senior posted a 44.73. The projected leader, Oliver Smith of Emory College, posted a mark of 43.90 seconds. Zach Turk of Kenyon College posted the NCAA Record back in 2012 at 43.16.
200 Yard Backstroke
Liam O'Shea will be competing in the 200 Yard Backstroke, boasting a seed time of 1:48.04. The sophomore is projected to finish in eighth based on his best time. Peyton Wilson of Washington University in St. Louis currently holds the fastest time at 1:45.52. The NCAA record sits at 1:43.49 and is held by Harrison Curley of Kenyon College back in 2015.
400 Freestyle Relay
The Sagehens drew plenty of attention at the SCIAC Championship, clocking under three minutes in the 400 Freestyle Relay. To, Hallman, Drover, and Menkhoff combined to post a 2:59.65 seed time. Standing in front of them is Emory, whose team posted a 2:57.52. The NCAA record is held by the Kenyon College team in 2012 with a mark of 2:53.59.
Preliminary/Trials will start 7 a.m. PST while Finals will commence at 3 p.m. PST for all four days.
Tickets for each session ranges from $8 to $12 and can be purchased on Ticketmaster or at the front.
Check back at Sagehens.com for links to the live stream and results.