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Two relay wins spring Kenyon into second place

GREENSBORO, S.C. — The Kenyon College Owls successfully defended a pair of relay titles, set one national record and took three steps up the standings on Thursday, the halfway point of the four-day NCAA Division III Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship, being held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.

Kenyon, which was in fifth place with 67 team points on Wednesday, wrapped up Thursday night with an updated total of 177 points, which pushed the Owls into the runner-up spot. Emory University holds first place with 214 points and University of Chicago sits third, ten points behind Kenyon.

Things got going quickly for the Owls, who opened the evening session by winning the 200-yard freestyle relay. The team of Djordje Dragojlovic, Daniel Brooks, Marko Krtinic and Aleksa Dobric worked together to turn in the race’s fastest time, at 1:19.19. For Dragojlovic and Brooks the national title was their second in a row in the event. The title was a first for Dobric, a junior, but the fifth career title for Dragojlovic, a sophomore, the fourth for Krtinic, a senior, and the third for Brooks, also a senior.

That result temporarily moved Kenyon into second place in the overall standings. The next results, from the 400-yard individual medley, perched the Owls in the top spot.

Sophomore Ethan Manske and senior Noah Hargrove turned in top-five finishes in the 400-yard individual medley, improving Kenyon’s team total to 137 points, two points ahead of Emory and three ahead of New York University. Manske finished third in the race with a time of 3:52.04, while Hargrove pulled up in fifth, stopping the clock at 3:53.49. Both times were personal bests for the Kenyon duo.

As nice as it was to take over the No. 1 position in the team standings, it didn’t last long for the Owls. The Kenyon men had no evening qualifiers in the next two races and fell back to third place. The team’s top finisher in the 100-yard butterfly was Krtinic, who placed 21st with a time of 48.66. In the 200-yard freestyle, it was senior Yurii Kosian with Kenyon’s best time. He clocked in at 1:38.81 to take 18th place.

Heading into the evening’s final event, the 400-yard medley relay, Emory owned first place in the standings with 180 points. New York was second with 140 points and Kenyon was third with 137 points, just two points ahead of fourth-place Chicago.

Kenyon then concluded the Thursday session with a bang. The Owls 400-yard medley relay foursome of Kosian, Dobric, Krtinic and Dragojlovic whipped up a winning time of 3:09.78. That mark broke the previous NCAA Division III record of 3:10.51, set by Emory back in the 2017 season.

Like its defense of the 200-yard freestyle relay earlier in the meet, the win in the 400-yard medley relay was also the team’s second straight. In fact, last season Kosian, Krtinic and Dragojlovic made up three-quarters of the team that won the 2023 title.

The Owls will now try to carry that momentum into Friday, which presents a slate of four more swimming events and one more diving event. 

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