SPRINGFIELD, Ohio—The Wittenberg swimming and diving team finished in eighth with 518 points on the women's side, and in ninth with 418.5 points on the men's side at the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Championships on Saturday night.
Throughout the week, the Tigers pushed themselves to the limit, reaching many personal bests at a successful 2018 conference championship. Sam Bott and Lauren Ruddy got the scoring started for the Tigers, as Bott (25th) and Ruddy (24tH) scored points in the 500-yard freestyle. Bott finished with a finals time of 4:49.51, and Ruddy with a finals heat of 5:28.55.
In the women's 200-yard IM, Marita Banta-Long scored points touching the wall in 20th place at 2:15.80.
As the day continued, the Tigers claimed their first top-ten finish of the championships as the 400-yard medley team of Connor Flanagan, Kyle Smith, Trey Gregory and Brad Barren came in eighth at 3:35.68. Not to be outdone by their counterparts, the women's medley squad of Joy Longley, Annelise Gibson, Samantha Petruzzi and Ruddy also came in eighth at 4:09.38.
Flanagan, Smith, Gregory and Barren were not done yet, as the Tigers got together to earn a seventh-place finish in the 200-yard IM at 1:36.51 later that same afternoon.
Longely, Gibson, Petruzzi and Ruddy followed suit, claiming sixth on the women's side of the 200-yard IM at 1:52.55.
"I am very proud of our team's effort and performance at NCAC's. We had so many great swims over the weekend and I am proud how we used our energy, effort, and enthusiasm to create a dynamic environment for everyone to achieve their best swims. We may not be the biggest team in the conference but we are certainly one of the hardest working and we were focused on the process this season," said Coach Bernhardt.
As the Tigers continued to score points on and off against some of the nation's best competition in all of NCAA Division III, Hawk Smith, Gregory and Bott continued to keep the ball rolling for the Tigers individually.
Smith kept things going for Wittenberg with a 14th place finish in the 400-yard IM at 4:18.10, while Bott finished close behind his teammate in 17th with a finals time of 4:18.96. Gregory made some noise for the Tigers in the following event with an 11th place finish in the 100-yard butterfly at 51.64.
"We had many swims that broke into the All-time Top 10 list and a couple of School Records but that paled in comparison to the smiles on the faces we saw each and every day from those that accomplished something that they thought they could not have done previously. Friday and Saturday were so exciting to watch from the deck as our athletes poured every ounce of energy and effort into their races. It was something magical to watch and be a part of the journey," continued Coach Bernhardt.
Petruzzi continued putting points on the board for the Tigers, as the senior claimed an 18th place finish in the 100-yard butterfly at 1:00.33.
Kyle Smith and Gibson each scored in the 100-yard breaststroke for the Tigers, as Smith (12th) touched the wall at 58.71 and Gibson (15th) at 1:10.32 on the women's side. Smith was not done there, claiming seventh place in the 100-yard IM at 53.70 on an impressive championship finals heat.
Longley continued her strong meet in the 100 yard-back, taking home 12th at 59.85, while Petruzzi also scored in the 200-yard back, coming in 11th at 2:14.43.
Wittenberg's 400-yard relay team of Smith, Gregory, Barren and Drew Suffoletta claimed seventh place at 3:12.37, while Petruzzi, Ruddy, Gregory and Longley came in eighth on the women's side at 3:50.11.
"We will continue this program momentum through this spring's recruiting cycle and build upon our successes in and out of the pool next fall," concluded Bernhardt.
The Ladies of Kenyon captured the title this year with 1953 points. Host Denison was second with 1860 points and the College of Wooster rounded out the top three with 1225.5 points.
The Big Red took home the championship again this year with 1908 points, Kenyon was second with 1797.5 points and DePauw was third with 1155 points.
Wittenberg is back in action one more time this spring at their "Last Chance" meet hosted by Kenyon College on Saturday, February 24.