Three members of the University of Redlands swimming teams kicked off the first day of the 2014 NCAA Division III Championships in style on Wednesday afternoon, with junior Jeff Depew (Naperville, IL) highlighting the Bulldogs' performances at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, IN.
Depew captured his third-consecutive national championship in the 200 Individual Medley, uncorking a season-best time of 1:47.44. While the race was deadlocked among the competitors throughout much of the event, Depew pulled ahead in the breast-stroke portion of the race and did not look back, finishing strong in the freestyle portion and touching the wall in first place, earning the three-peat. His mark is also the second-best time in program history, just missing out on topping his school record from last year's national championship race.
Depew entered the NCAA Championships with the 11th-fastest seed time of the season at 1:50.93. In addition, Bulldog senior David Ortyn (Bainbridge Island, WA) also competed in the 200 IM, taking 24th overall in the event with a solid mark of 1:51.71.
On the women's side, junior Chandra Lukes (Escondido, CA) excelled for the Maroon and Gray by taking eighth place in the 50 Free with a time of 23.67, collecting All-America honors in the process. Earlier in the day during the prelims, Lukes qualified for the finals with the fourth-fastest time of all competitors and the second-fastest time of her career, touching the wall in 23.41.
After the opening day, the Bulldog men sit in 14th place overall, while with Lukes' efforts, the U of R women are in 16th place.
The NCAA Division III Swimming Championships continue tomorrow, with Depew competing in the 400 IM and Ortyn taking part in the 200 Free.