Men's 400 Freestyle Relay Caps NCAC Championships With Thrilling All-Conference Performance

Cameron Gelwicks
Cameron Gelwicks
Kate Murphy
Kate Murphy

Senior Cameron Gelwicks chased down Wabash College senior Kyle Louks over the final 50 yards, as The College of Wooster men's swimming and diving team capped the North Coast Athletic Conference Championships with all-conference honors, a NCAA Div. III B cut, and a school-record time of 3:03.21 in the 400 freestyle relay on Saturday evening at Trumbull Aquatics Center in Granville, Ohio.

Wooster's women went on to finish in fourth-place at one of Div. III's preeminent meets with 1,153 points, while the men were fifth with a program-record 1,013 points. In fact, the men surpassed 1,000 points for the meet for the first time in program history.

Wooster was 38 hundredths of a second behind Wabash when Gelwicks started out for the final 50 yards. He held off Louks down the stretch, as the Scots finished third to claim the final all-conference spot by 36 hundredths of a second. Junior Trey Schopen started the tightly-contested race with a 46.33 leadoff split, with that time marking the third-fastest 100 freestyle time in program history. Schopen gave way to seniors Ryan Campbell and Garrett Layde, who had splits of 45.57 and 45.95, respectively.

Individually, Wooster had 11 championship finishes (top nine) on the evening, five of which came on the men's side. First-year Doak Schultz logged the first one of the night with a seventh-place time of 53.97 in the 100 individual medley. That time also stands as the second-best in program history.

Sophomore Josh Gluck capped his strong championship performances with an eighth-place showing in the 200 backstroke. Gluck positioned himself in the championship final with a 1:55.53 in prelims, the seventh-fastest time in the program annals, before hitting the wall at 1:56.37 in the evening session.

Wooster had two top-nine performers in the 200 butterfly, one of whom was Schopen. The junior lowered his school record to 1:51.78 in the prelims and went on to take sixth-place at 1:51.93. Layde backed Schopen up with a ninth-place time of 1:57.11.

In the diving well, first-year Eric Jacques logged his second top-five showing of the meet with 355.30 points.

Sophomore Craig Klumpp headlined the non-championship-heat efforts with an 11th-place time of 2:09.74 in the 200 breaststroke, with that ranking as the second-best mark in program history. Gelwicks' 14th-place time of 46.53 led the Scots in the 100 freestyle, while first-year Robby Beal was the top finisher for Wooster in the 1,650 freestyle with a 15th-place clip of 17:47.23.

On the women's side, sophomores Kate Murphy and Madison Whitman were the top performers with sixth-place showings in the 200 backstroke and 200 breaststroke, respectively, and coincidentally, both logged top-five program times on the day. Murphy qualified eighth at 2:08.81, and lowered that time to 2:07.44 in finals, moving up two spots in the process. Whitman clocked in at 2:23.71 in prelims before wrapping up finals at 2:23.91.

First-year Molly Likins also qualified for the championship heat of the 200 breaststroke and was seventh at 2:24.84, the sixth-best time in the program annals.

Earlier in the evening, sophomore Brooke Brown was seventh to the wall in the 100 individual medley at 1:01.91, and that wasn't far off her school-record pace of 1:01.61 set at last year's NCAC Championships.

Wooster continued to fare well in the 1,650 freestyle as senior Emma Fikse and junior Nell Kacmarek logged top-nine finishes, with near-identical times. Fikse's 17:38.33 just edged out Kacmarek's 17:38.53, and both times rank in the top four in program history.

Other top 12 performers on the women's side included senior Annabelle Hopkins in the 100 individual medley (11th, 1:03.41), sophomore Heidi Likins in the 100 individual medley (12th, 1:03.69), sophomore Hannah Langer in the 200 backstroke (11th, 2:10.67), and senior Kalla Sturonas in the 200 butterfly (11th, 2:13.33).

In relay action, Fikse, Heidi Likins, Kacmarek, and Murphy capped the meet with the fifth-place time of 3:35.72 in the 400 freestyle relay.

Denison University held off Kenyon College to win the men's title with 1,851 points. DePauw University (1,123 points) and Wabash College (1,093.5 points) both finished ahead of Wooster.

Kenyon edged out Denison to win the women's title with 1,882 points. DePauw also finished ahead of Wooster with 1,194.5 points.