Keene State women finish 17th at NCAA Swimming Championships
KNOXVILLE, TENN. 2/26/11 – The last time the Keene State men's swim team had an All-American in an individual event Drew Ledwith wasn't even in born. You have to go all the way back to 1976 when Ron Demers finished ninth in the breast stroke at the Division II Championships to find the last Owl to earn the honor.
On Saturday, Drew Ledwith, a freshman from Keene, N.H., made up for lost time becoming the first Keene State men's swimmer in 35 years to earn All-American with his third-place finish in the 1,650 race at the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jones Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Tennessee.
Ironically, Ledwith broke the long drought in the longest race of the meet. "I think it was long overdue," said a happy Ledwith. "One of my goals at the start of the season was to finish in the top three and earn All-American and I did it."
"I just tried to swim my own race and not worry about the other swimmers, "said Ledwith about the draining 66 length of the pool swim.
"He swam a very smart race and did everything according to plan," said KSC Coach Jack Fabian. It was a milestone swim for the program."
The top three finishers in the race were freshmen. Allen Weik from Dennison won the race in an NCAA record time of 15:06.47. Kenyon's Andre Chevalier was second (15:31.83) while Ledwith was third in a time of 15:32.89.
"I was very nervous my fist day here," said Ledwith. "Now I know what it's like to be at the NCAA Championships and what I have to do to improve. I want to come back next year and beat the two swimmers who finished ahead of me. "
Keene State reached the consolation finals in two other events on Saturday. Sophomore Kaila Umbarger (Chelmsford, Mass.) placed 13th in the 100 free (51.38) and the men's 400 free relay team of seniors Cody Larrimore (Trappe, Md.) and Connor Pennoyer (Norwalk, Conn.) and freshmen Austin Harris (Essex Junction, Vt.) and Jared Hyde (Tolland, Conn.) finished 14th with a time of 3:04. 92. Umbarger and the 400 free relay earned honorable mention All-American honors with their races.
In preliminary races earlier in the day, Junior Jillian Whitaker (Gilford, N.H.) placed 18th (2:22.35) in the 200 breast and the women's 400 free relay team of junior Maureen O'Leary (Nashua, N.H.), freshman Lianna Wissmann (Orleans, Mass.), Whitaker and Umbarger placed 22nd (3:32.45).
"I couldn't be any happier," said Fabian about his teams' performance at the four-day Championships. "We want to get to the point where we can swim at this level every year. Keene State is making a name for itself at the Championships."
For the second straight year, the Keene State women posted a top-20 finish, placing 17th with 55 points-one spot higher than last year. Emory won its second consecutive team title with 614 points.
The Keene State men tallied 36 points to finish 23rd in the team standings. Dennison edged Kenyon for the championship 500.5-499.5. Kenyon had won 31 straight Division III crowns.