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Another NCAA Title Shot on Deck for Kenyon Owls Men’s Swimming and Diving Program

GAMBIER, Ohio – Following up on last’s season’s national runner-up finish, the Kenyon College men’s swimming and diving program, the most prolific program in the history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), has assembled a slimmed-down, but powerful fleet of championship qualifiers and will hit the water Wednesday to commence the 2024 NCAA Division III Men’s Swimming & Diving Championship.

The four-day national championship meet will play out at Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina. For each day of the competition, preliminary heats kick off at 10 a.m. and final heats start at 6 p.m.

At last year’s championship, also held in Greensboro, the Owls won three individual swimming events, both diving events, three relay races and finished second in the final standings with 495.5 points. Emory University scored 532 points to capture its second straight team title.

The Kenyon program owns 34 national championship titles dating back to 1980. That count ties the Owls with the Oklahoma State University wrestling team for most won by a single sports program in the history of the NCAA, including all of its sports and divisions.

Heading into the 2024 Championship, the Owls will be in somewhat of an atypical position, qualifying 10 swimmers and one diver for the meet. Kenyon teams, for many years, have been used to working with a number closer to the maximum of 18 available spots per team.

Emory will have a full boat of 18 swimmers. Denison University has a roster of 15 swimmers and divers, while University of Chicago will compete with 13 and Massachusetts Institute of Technology will send a dozen.

Kenyon’s roster is headlined by seniors Israel Zavaleta and Marko Krtinic, as well as sophomore Djordje Dragojlovic. Zavaleta is a four-time NCAA champion diver, who swept the one- and three-meter titles in both of the last two seasons. Krtinic is the defending champion in the 100-yard butterfly and Dragojlovic won the 100-yard freestyle in his first national championship appearance.

Krtinic will be competing in his third championship and has nine All-American awards, as well as a pair of career relay titles. Dragojlovic raced in six events last season and placed no worse than fifth. In addition to his individual sprint title, he also was a part of all three Kenyon winning relay teams.

Kenyon has four other senior swimmers with championship experience and that group includes Daniel Brooks, Noah Hargrove, Yurii Kosian and Max Nonnenmacher. Brooks, a sprinter and three-time qualifier, has five All-America awards and two relay titles. Hargrove, who specializes in the medleys, also has five All-America awards, but is pursuing his first NCAA event win. Kosian excels at the backstroke, has 11 career All-American certificates and one relay title to his credit. Nonnenmacher, now a two-time qualifier, competes in distance events and aims to reach the evening finals session for the first time.

The Owls lineup is rounded out with sophomores Aleksa Dobric and Ethan Manske, and first-years Roman Savage and Noel Tumbasz. Manske is the only one of this group with championship experience. Last season, he posted two All-American swims.

In terms of seed times for the upcoming championship, Dragojlovic will be the No. 3 seed in the 100-yard freestyle and the No. 5 seed in the 200-yard freestyle. Kosian is the No. 4 seed in the 100-yard backstroke and the No. 3 seed in the 200-yard backstroke. Krtinic is the No. 4 seed in the 100-yard butterfly, while Manske owns the No. 5 seed in the 400-yard individual medley. Kenyon has top-five seeds in the three freestyle relays, and, of course, Zavaleta is the favorite to three-peat on both diving boards.

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