Largest Championship in ODAC Swimming History
FOREST, Va. --- It's no secret that 2017-18 brought big changes to the conference's swimming ranks. Five men's programs and three women's squads kicked off their first seasons, bringing the league's total contingent to 22 teams -- 12 women and 10 men. One would only expect that the the championship event would then be large.
That's exactly what swimming fans can look forward to this weekend as the largest contingent of swimmers in conference history will compete at the 2018 ODAC Swimming Championships over the next three days, February 9-11. The Greensboro Aquatic Center reprises its role as exemplary host for the six-session 36-event affair.
RELATED: 2018 Meet Schedule
One thing is certain -- expect fast times. A total of 30 championship or overall conference records were set -- and sometimes reset -- over the course of the meet in 2017. That included 20 new standards on the women's side of the ledger. Washington and Lee University swimmers were responsible for all but one of those marks, with former Emory & Henry College national qualifer Michaela Nolte accounting for the remaining record. The landscape was similar on the men's side as Generals claimed eight of the 10 new standards. Former Randolph-Macon College standout and 2017 ODAC Swimmer of the Year, Robert Redenz, put a stamp on the other two.
Neither of last season's swimmers of the year are back this season with both Redenz and former W&L All-American Emily Rollo having graduated. That leaves the door open for a new athlete to step to the top of the podium on both sides. Washington and Lee's Tommy Thetford is the lone swimmer who could spoil that plan as the senior looks to return to his swimmer of the year and national champion form from his sophomore campaign.
There are plenty of athletes you could add to a watch list this season. Both Ali MacQueen and Emily Hageboeck from W&L have already eclipsed NCAA "B" cut times in the 100-yard butterfly (0:56.00) and the 200-yard breastroke (2:18.21) respectively. MacQueen and teammates Elle Chancey and Cassidy Fuller look set to square off in the freestyle sprints, but don't count out newcomer Reilly Bird from first-year program Roanoke College. She owns the top seed time (0:23.99) in the 50-yard freestyle. W&L's Taylor Ecleberry won two events last year, but she may have her eyes set on not just repeating in the 1,650-yard freestyle and 400-yard IM -- she owns those top seed times -- but she's also #1 entering the weekend in the 200-yard IM.
On the men's side, Thetford already has a faster 50-yard freestyle time (0:20.85) than last year's winning time (0:20.90). He may be in line to claim at least one more title as he leads the list in the 100-yard freestyle. Also pay attention to the exploits of W&L swimmers Ben Brown, Jared Nickodem, Patrick Lawrence, Patrick Sullivan, and Noah Schammel as each have won before and could be set for repeat victories. Randolph-Macon's Ivan Fadeyev will have something to say about both backstroke events, while Yellow Jackets newcomer Victor Kontopanos has himself positioned at the top in both butterfly events and just off the pace in the 200-yard IM.
RELATED: 2018 ODAC Swimming Championship "Psych" Sheet
When it comes to team trophies, Washington and Lee has rattled off 10 straight women's championships since 2008. Randolph-Macon hoisted the prize in 2007. Overall, W&L has been most frequent to center stage, having secured a league-best 27 titles.
The men's event doesn't have near the same history as the women's meet with the first championship conducted in 2015. Washington and Lee has stood atop the podium each time, cracking the 1,000-point barrier each season.
RELATED: 2017 ODAC Swimming Championship Results | All-Time Women's Championships | All-Time Men's Championships
Listed below is a quick snapshot of each event, giving a glimpse of what could unfold (2017-18 times from official psych sheet). Of course, you can get more than a glimpse if you make your way to Greensboro and the Greensboro Aquatic Center for the weekend. Still, if a trip isn't the cards, each session will be streamed LIVE by the ODAC. You can catch all six sessions at the same location on the swimming championships streaming channel at the link below. Or if you're a social media person, each stream will appear on the ODAC's Facebook page.
Be sure to follow along with results from the championship. Once each event is completed and verified, the results will be posted at the link below. You can also get championship results from the MeetMobile app on your phone or tablet.
RELATED: ODAC Swimming Championships Streaming Channel | 2018 Championship Results
For more information, visit the ODAC Swimming Championships Website or visit the websites of any of the participating schools. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.