INDIANAPOLIS, IN. – History was made at the third day of the NCAA Championship as Lukas Ming Menkhoff became the first male swimmer since 1988 to win an individual national championship. The freshman took first place in the 100 Yard Breaststroke, clocking in at 53.39 to set the new program record.
"Today is an extra special day for Lukas," said Head Coach Jean-Paul Gowdy. "I could tell he looked extra nervous this morning. So I helped him regain focus. He then had a calm sense of confidence before the event and swam his best race of the season."
Although it was only the third day, the Sagehens already made some big accomplishments for the program. The women's program saw two swimmers make it to the final in the same event and six relay teams so far have finished in the top-8 and earned First Team All-American honors.
Samuel To took 12th place in the men's 100 Yard Backstroke Preliminaries at 49.37 to take a spot in the consolation final. His qualifying time was also a new Sagehen record. He went on to finish in third in the consolation final at 49.51, placed 11th overall. The senior was awarded All-American Honorable Mention for his performance.
Sarah Jin and Angela Ling both qualified for the women's 100 Back final, taking 4th (55.84) and 7th (56.23), respectively. In the final heat, Ling went on to take 5th at 55.45, setting the new Sagehen record, and Jin finished in 6th at 55.93. Both girls took First Team All-American honors.
In the 100 Breaststroke, Lukas Ming Menkhoff won the 100 Breaststroke qualifier at 54.42 and followed up by winning the national championship after controlling the lead for majority of the race. He clocked in at 53.39 and earned First Team All-American honors.
"It's a deep honor. I couldn't have done it without the support of my teammates and coach," said Menkhoff after the race. "Strangely I wasn't nervous at all for this race. I was determined to start the race well, kick the wall, and stick with my plan. I was able to execute what I visualized."
"I think on a day like today, we had a lot of things go in our direction," said Coach Gowdy. "We've been meeting our times and setting some new program records. I'm excited for tomorrow. I'm not thinking too much of the big picture. I just want the team to rest well and be recovered."
The Sagehens will wrap up the final day of the NCAA Championship tomorrow as Menkhoff chases another potential NCAA title in the Men's 100 Yard Freestyle alongside Hallman. The program will also compete in the men's 200 Backstroke (O'Shea), women's 100 Yard Freestyle (Maddie Kauahi), and the men's and women's 400 Freestyle Relay.