LEWISVILLE, Texas -- In the closest finish in the history of the men's championship, Trinity University came all the way back from a near triple-digit deficit to win its fifth straight conference title at the 2017 SCAC Swimming and Diving Championships at the LISD Westside Aquatic Center. Official Website | Saturday's Complete Results | Team Scores
Trailing Southwestern University by 94.5 points after Thursday, Trinity fought back to cut the deficit to 20.5 points heading into the final day and then pulled out an 882.5 to 877 victory to take the closest men's race in the 19-year history of the event.
Trinity freshman Jacob Hurrell-Zitelman won all three of his individual races to earn SCAC Swimmer-of-the-Meet honors. Hurell-Zitelman got the Tigers' comeback efforts rolling with a huge swim in the 1650 freestyle. The freshman entered the championship having already set a new SCAC open record at the Trinity Invitational in November, and then established a SCAC meet record along with a NCAA 'B' cut time as he rocketed to a 15.54.58 finish. Hurrell-Zitelman posted earlier victories in the 500 freestyle and the 400 IM to become the only male swimmer at this year's championship to win three individual races.
Rounding out the top three in the event, freshman Michael Heinonen of Colorado College was second in a time of 16:40.79 and junior David Doyle of Trinity was third with a finishing time of 16:50.39.
Also helping in the Tiger's comeback was the team's two 3-meter divers. Led by SCAC Diver-of-the-Meet first-year Chad King, the Trinity men finished 1-2 on the 3-meter board. King took top honors on Saturday the high board - posting a winning score of 370.00. Sophomore Thomas Ritthaler finished second with a score of 244.95.
Southwestern went down swinging on Saturday as the Pirates had two swimmers defend their individual titles. Junior Mickey Scharbrough picked up a victory in the 200 breaststroke in a time of 2:06.42 to become the first SCAC male swimmer to win the event three consecutive years. Teammate and fellow junior Matt Sluss won the 200 butterfly, also for the third consecutive year, with a NCAA 'B' cut time of 1:51.89. Sluss joins former Trinity swimmer Ryan Van Der Kar as the only SCAC men to win the event three straight years.
Colorado College finished third with a team score of 593. The Tigers got gold-medal winning performances from freshman Stefan Bay and senior Crane Sarris. Bay picked up a win in the 200 backstroke, posting a NCAA 'B' cut time of 1:50.91. Trinity junior Charles Clark also posted a NCAA 'B' cut time in finishing second with a time of 1:51.17
The following event, Sarris earned the Tigers' first win in the 100 free since former CC All-American Jordan DeGayner took the crown in back-to-back years in 2011 and 2012. Sarris touched first in a time of 46.42.
In the final event of the event, the Southwestern men kept the pressure on with a victory in the 400 free relay. The team of junior Michael Glover, senior Nathan Townsend, Sluss and senior Simmon Belaineh touched in a winning time of 3:05.96. Trinity, however, clinched the men's team title with a second-place finish as Clark, senior Isaac Johnson, freshman Eric Grace and sophomore Cole Rezsofi touched the wall at 3:07..23.
Rounding out the team scoring, Centenary College was fourth with 496.50 points, Austin College was fifth with 299 points, McMurry University finished sixth with 244 points and SCAC newcomer University of the Ozarks placed seventh with three points.
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January 9, 2017 SCAC Men's Swimming & Diving Recap - Week Eleven
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