NCAA Swimming: Whitaker comes up short in All-American bid
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. 3/23/12 - For the second year in a row, Keene State College's Drew Ledwith is an All-American Swimmer. The sophomore from Keene earned the honor with his fifth place finish in the 500 freestyle race at the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships being held at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) on Wednesday.
Ledwith, who posted a time of 4:30.38 in the finals, actually had a better mark (4:29.29) in the morning preliminary race. "I felt pretty good in the morning, but I had a headache right before the race at night and wasn't feeling too good," he said. But I'm happy with it. It's better than I did last year when I was 17th. I just want to improve each year. "
Ledwith, who earned All-American honors with his third place finish in the 1,650 freestyle last year, becomes just the second men's swimmer at Keene State to become a two-time All-American. He joins Ron Demers who swam to All-American honors in the breastroke in the NCAA Division II championships in 1975 and 1976. "I didn't realize I'm just the second men's swimmer at Keene State to All-American twice," said Ledwith. "It was very special."
Also on Wednesday, sophomore Jared Hyde (Tolland, Conn.) raced to honorable mention All-American honors with his 15th place (1:52.22) finish in the 200 Individual medley.
Senior Jillian Whitaker (Gilford, N.H.) competed in her first race at the Championships on Thursday, placing a disappointing 20th (1:06.14) in the 100 breaststroke. "It's actually not a bad time," said KSC Coach Jack Fabian. "Not have a relay here hurt her because she wasn't able to race before her individual event."
Whitaker came into the race seed sixth in the event. Ledwith also returned to the pool, finishing 17th in the 400 I.M. (4:03.44).
A couple of Keene State relay teams were also in action at the IU Natatorium on Thursday.
Junior Austin Harris (Essex Junction, Vt.), and sophomore James Black (Lynn, Mass.) teamed with Hyde and Ledwith to earn honorable mention All-American honors with their 10th place finish (1:23.24) in the 200 free relay. "That was a real surprise," said KSC Coach Jack Fabian. "Having a distance swimmer (Ledwith) on the relay was quite and accomplishment."
Later in the day, the foursome placed 23rd (3:29.96) in the 400 medley relay.
Racing in the preliminaries of the 800 free relay on Friday, Ledwith led off the relay by breaking a KSC record in the 200 free with a time of 1:40.82. The previous record of 1:42.04 was set by Karl Balinski in 2009. The relay, which also included Harris, Black and Hyde, placed 16th (6:49.31) to earn honorable mention All-American recognition.
After 19 events, the Keene State men are in 15th place in the team standings with 30 points. Defending champion Denison leads with 290 points.
On Saturday, Ledwith will race in the finals of the 1,650 freestyle, Whitaker will compete in the 200 breast and the Owl men's 400 free relay will also be in action.