Multiple Trinity swimmers and divers qualified for the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships, which started this past Wednesday and will continue until Saturday and are being held at IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
On Wednesday, junior Stephen Culberson placed fifth in the 50-meter freestyle finals with a time of 20.37. Sophomore Jon Hoffman placed 63rd in the 200-meter IM finals.
“The meet is going well; almost none of us have swam at this level before, so it’s been fun competing with the top schools,” Culberson said.
Yesterday, the men’s relay team of Culberson, first year Isaac Johnson and juniors Adam Thomas and Kevin Thomas were 11th in the 200-meter freestyle preliminaries and are in the consolation finals. Sophomore Kara Beauchamp finished 14th in the 400-meter IM preliminaries and is in the consolation final.
“It’s a really fast meet and a good experience overall,” Beauchamp said.
Sophomore Ashley Heline placed eighth in the 1-meter board preliminaries and senior Katie Sheldon placed ninth. This is Sheldon’s third trip to nationals and Heline’s second trip.
“The girls definitely have experience. They’ve both been in the top eight and are both Academic All-Americans,” said head diving coach Stan Randall. “We just have to see the meet unwind. They’ve given up their spring break to train to get ready for the NCAAs. We’ve kept the workouts fairly simple and the biggest thing when you get ready for NCAAs is that they’re physically fit and mentally ready so that when they step into the pool area, they’re ready to compete and they don’t have any reservations.”
Earlier in the month, four Trinity women’s divers competed in the NCAA Division III Regional Meet held Feb. 28-March 1, at Grinnell College in Iowa. Sheldon and Heline won the top two spots. Both divers are representing Trinity in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. In the one-meter event there, Sheldon scored a 407.90 and Heline scored a 389.70.
“Everyone at the regionals, all four of the girls, did absolutely terrific,” Randall said.
The first day of the meet was the 1-meter board championships, consisting of 11 dives. Sheldon placed second, scoring 414.25 points, which earned her a guaranteed spot in the NCAA Championships. Heline finished third with a score of 403.20, first year Mollie Patzke finished fourth with a score of 392.05, and senior Gabriella Caglieris finished eighth with a score of 366.85. Emory University diver, Sarah Greene, took first in Friday’s meet with a score of 420.80.
The final day of the meet was the 3-meter board championships, also consisting of 11 dives. Sheldon scored 460.35, taking first. Heline took second with 443.40 points. Patzke placed sixth with 387.85 points and Caglieris placed 12th with 326.25 points.
“Regionals was a really fun trip for the four of us,” Patzke said. “It’s always fun to interact with teams around the country and explore a new place even if it’s in the middle of nowhere, Iowa. The team did really well and we are looking forward to cheering on Ashley and Katie at nationals.”
For her performance at nationals, Sheldon earned All-American honors for the third time in the one-meter event. Heline attained Honoroble Mention All-American honors for the second consecutive season. Tomorrow, the two girls will compete on the three-meter board. Heline placed eighth in the event at last year’s championship, while Sheldon placed 18th.
With two days in the books and two more days remaining, the Trinity men are tied for 19th place with Tufts University at 22 points. The Tiger women are in a tie for 22nd place with State University of New York-Geneseo with 18 points.
The swim team has been able to have another successful season despite a midseason coaching change after head coach John Ryan went on extended leave. He was replaced on an interim basis by assistant coach Michael Schuber.