Amherst Men Place Fifth, Women Sixth at NCAA Championships
Ryan Lichtenfels '12 snapped Kenyon's 20-year streak of winning the 1,650-yard freestyle at the NCAA Championships.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Ryan Lichtenfels ’12 (McLean, VA) swam one of the most dominant races in program history and Kendra Stern ’11 (Albuquerque, NM) broke her own national record in the 100-yard freestyle to highlight Amherst College’s performances in the fourth and final day of the 2010 NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships.
The Amherst men placed fifth for the second consecutive year to tie the program’s best finish at the NCAA Championships, with this year’s squad earning a program-high 217 points to surpass last year’s total of 196. Kenyon finished with 696 points to handily claim its 31st consecutive national title (1980-2010), followed by Denison (272), Emory (259.5) and Kalamazoo (244). Middlebury placed seventh (180) and Williams finished ninth (160).
The Amherst women earned 169 points to land in sixth place, marking the 14th consecutive year the program has finished in the top-12 at nationals. Emory finished with 568.5 points to win its first title since 2006, with Denison (452), Williams (367), Kenyon (318) and Claremont (177) rounding out the top five.
A swimmer from Kenyon had won the men’s 1,650-yard freestyle event in each of the past 20 years, but Lichtenfels put a halt to the phenomenal streak by winning Saturday’s marathon race by nearly 10 seconds (15:23.80). Lichtenfels placed second behind the event’s two-time defending champion Kegan Borland ’10 in 2009, but the Amherst standout took the lead from Borland at the 900-yard marker this time around and never looked back.
Although he did not challenge the national record of 15:14.55, Lichtenfels came close to besting his own team and NESCAC record of 15:23.15. Borland led for more than half of the race but finished 9.15 seconds behind Lichtenfels at 15:32.95.
Kendra Stern '11 broke her own national record in the 100 freestyle.
Stern’s 10th career NCAA title came in Saturday’s 100-yard freestyle, marking the third consecutive year she has won the event. Amanda Croix ’11 of Carthage surpassed Stern’s previous national record of 49.37, but her 49.35 would leave her in second place as the Lord Jeff star swam a 48.98. Stern also won the 200-yard freestyle Thursday evening after placing second in Wednesday’s 500.
Adding 14 points for the Amherst men was junior Alex Fraser (Willowbrook, IL), who placed third in the 100-yard freestyle. Fraser won the 500 on Wednesday and the 200 on Thursday, but he swam a 44.58 in the 100 to come up just short of a clean sweep in his freestyle events. Fraser entered the weekend with the NESCAC record in the 100 (44.53), but it was surpassed Saturday by Williams College’s Ben Wampler ’12, who placed second.
Fraser later closed out the men’s season by swimming the final leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay, in which Amherst placed fourth with a time of 3:01.79. The Lord Jeffs previously held the NESCAC record in the event (3:01.22), but Middlebury broke that mark Saturday by placing third with a time of 3:01.02. Joining Fraser in the relay to wrap up an outstanding career was Tad Homchick (Mercer Island, WA), along with Lichtenfels and sophomore Ben McBratney (Evanston, IL).
Combining for 17 points in the women’s 200-yard backstroke were first-year Emily Swett (Rochester, NY) and sophomore Rebecca Thompson (Evanston, IL), who placed fifth and 14th, respectively. Swett placed behind two swimmers from Emory and two from Denison as the NESCAC’s top performer in the event.
Closing out the 2010 NCAA Championship by placing ninth in the 400 freestyle relay were Stern, Anna Haring ’10 (Santa Barbara, CA), Swett and Thompson. The Lord Jeffs finished with a time of 3:29.41, which earned the team 18 points.
Amherst College 2010 National Champions
Alex Fraser ’11 (200-Yard Freestyle, 500-Yard Freestyle)
Ryan Lichtenfels ’12 (1,650-Yard Freestyle)
Kendra Stern ’11 (100-Yard Freestyle, 200-Yard Freestyle)
Amherst College Day Four Results (Men)
(Only Listed if Top 16)
Ryan Lichtenfels ’12 – 1st, 20 Points (15:23.80)
Alex Fraser ’11 – 3rd, 16 Points (44.58)
400-Yard Freestyle Relay
Tad Homchick ’10, Ryan Lichtenfels ’12, Ben McBratney ’12, Alex Fraser ’11 – 4th, 30 Points (3:01.79)
Amherst College Day Four Results (Women)
(Only Listed if Top 16)
Kendra Stern ’11 – 1st, 20 Points (48.98, NCAA Record)
Emily Swett ’13 – 5th, 14 Points (2:02.67)
Rebecca Thompson ’12 – 14th, 3 Points (2:05.59)
400-Yard Freestyle Relay
Kendra Stern ’11, Anna Haring ’10, Emily Swett ’13, Rebecca Thompson ’12 – 9th, 18 Points (3:29.41)
FINAL RESULTS * DAY 1 RECAP * DAY 2 RECAP * DAY 3 RECAP * CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE