By: Jake Renie
TERRE HAUTE, IN – With two days down at the 2019 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Championships, both Franklin College swimming and diving teams sit one day away from completing a team sweep of the league championships.
For the second straight day, the Franklin women dominated the competition, taking gold in all seven events while qualifying for nationals in two different events. The Grizzlies end day two in first place with 570 points and will take a 319-point lead into the final day of competition. The Grizzly men entered day two with a one-point lead. The Grizzly men stay ahead in the tight battle for first with Rose-Hulman, totaling 486 points in two days to lead by 14 points heading into Saturday's session.
Women's one-meter diving was conducted on Friday, and Lexi Blackburn showed up big to win her second event of the weekend. The Clayton, Ind.-native pulled together an astounding 527.45 points in her set, smashing the NCAA qualifying standard and the besting the Franklin school record by 60.45 points.
The women's 200 medley relay was led by the Grizzlies, and with utter dominance. Touching at a 1:43.97 for a school record, the team of Brynna Sentel, Ashley Snoke, Jacqueline Richard, and Courtnee Coffman also slammed down another NCAA time standard to qualify for the national meet. Right after, the men's team of Zach Rayce, Jack Heim, Noah Tallman, and Ben Doss came through with a silver medal with their 1:33.85 time.
Mackenzie Dwyer became the next Grizzly to win an event, claiming her victory in the women's 400 IM. Dwyer came home in the race on a 4:40.65 time. Charlie Hall added to his list of gold medals with a victory as well in the men's 400 IM, smashing the Franklin record and venue record with a 4:08.19 time.
Franklin held the top three spots in the women's 100 fly, with a trio of swimmers clocking in under one minute. Liz Colliver placed third, August Hartzell finished second, and Richard claimed her second victory on day 2 on a time of :58.70. Noah Tallman came through with a bronze medal in the men's 100 fly, as his finish of :51.17 was just a tenth of a second from silver.
Sentel came up onto the blocks and obliterated her competition in the women's 200 free. Touching at a 1:51.68, her gold medal swim came with a school record and a B-standard as well. The men came through with a thrilling performance as well, as Jordan Cermak took home a silver medal finish in a time of 1:43.34.
Ashley Snoke destroyed her women's 100 breast record in the next swim, delivering an astounding performance on her 1:04.92 time. That swim was over three seconds ahead of the second-place finisher and just .13 seconds off the B-standard time. Heim helped bring a plethora of points through the men's 100 breast, touching the wall in :57.22 seconds. That swim earned him a gold medal victory, and also took down another Franklin College record.
Sentel (57.66), Halsmer (58.16) and Coffman (59.01), claimed the top three spots in the finals of the 100 back and were the only three swimmers to break the one-minute mark. James Hone placed second in the men's 100 back with a mark of 52.96 with Rayce just laying down a 52.61 time to edge his teammate and add another victory to the Grizzlies' list of accomplishments.
The final set of victories came in the final event of the night in the 800 free relay. Coffman, Halsmer, Richard, and Sentel took over the event and won by 21 seconds, hammering home a 7:43.11 time that took down yet another school record. Tallman, Caleb Strange, Cermak, and Hone put the finishing touches on a successful day two, coming into the wall at 6:54.44, setting new HCAC open and HCAC meet records with their time.
The third and final day of the HCAC Championships takes place starting on Saturday (Feb. 16) morning, with prelims set for 10:00 a.m. and the finals set for 6:00 p.m.