The Roanoke College men won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference swimming championship for the first time Sunday at the Liberty University pool in Lynchburg. The Maroon women finished second.
The two-day meet was held on Friday and Sunday. After the first day the men enjoyed a sizable lead, 553-451 over Lynchburg, while the women trailed the Hornets by just eight points, 496-504. Day two would see the Roanoke men continue to increase their lead and finish with a meet high 1,001 points while the women would fall just short of making it a sweep. The University of Lynchburg took home the title with 922.50 points to 869 for RC.
On Friday Richie Evans, Connor Kinkema, Ben Tate and Xavier Williams posted a time of 3:23.61 in winning the 400 Medley Relay, setting the tone for a big day for the Roanoke College men. The 500 Freestyle would see Tate pick up a one and a half second victory when he touched in 4:35.42 while Josh Rauch would miss a runner-up finish by just .56 of a second. Tate added his third win of the opening day when he topped the field in the 100 Butterfly, 50.82.
Jacob Winn (1:57.12) would win a photo finish with teammate Davis Wheeler (1:57.20) in the 200 Individual Medley. RC dominated the 50 Freestyle posting a 1-2-3-4-5 finish. Nick McGrath (21.27) won by the slimmest of margins, .01 of a second, over Williams. Evans was third at 21.37 while another close finish, .02 of a second, would separate Brian Grimmett and David Adarkwah.
Williams, McGrath, Evans, and Adarkwah would join to win the 200 Freestyle Relay by over a second with a time of 1:25.33. In the 200 Freestyle Grimmett (1:44.51) would win while Cole Hensen added a runner-up finish.
Kinkema would post a record breaking performance in the 100 Breaststroke. After posting an ODAC and meet record of 56.38 at the 2020 championships, Kinkema posted a blistering time of 56 flat, 1.25 seconds clear of McGrath as RC posted yet another 1-2 finish.
The final event of the first day would feature the men’s 800 Freestyle Relay. Tate, Hensen, Rauch, and Grimmett combined to win the event in a time of 6:57.68.
On Sunday Kinkema wasted little time setting his second ODAC Championship record in as many tries. The junior would post a final time of 4:02.77 in the 400 Individual Medley, besting his own previous record of 4:04.57. Winn would finish runner-up at 4:13.84. Evans, McGrath, Tate, and Williams crushed the field in the 200 Medley Relay in a time of 1:32.88.
The 100 Freestyle would see the first of two 1-2-3-4 finishes for the men. Evans at 46.13, just out-touched Grimmett (46.28) with Williams claiming third and McGrath finishing fourth. In the 200 Breaststroke, Kinkema made it a perfect three for three with setting yet another ODAC Championship Meet record. After setting the record last year at 2:02.09, Conner lowered the time to 2:01.90. The record setting performance was part of a 1-2-3-4 finish for the Maroons. Connor Bitz would touch runner-up at 2:10.27, ahead of Winn in third and Wheeler in fourth.
Tate would add another win to his total with a 1:51.74 finish in the 200 Butterfly. Another relay win for RC would see Evans, Williams, Tate, and Grimmett claim the 400 Freestyle Relay in 3:04.16, and 11 second victory over their nearest competitors.
The championship would come to a close with the men’s 1650 Freestyle. Rauch won the event one year ago in a time of 16:23.58. On Sunday he blistered that mark with a final time of 16:13.84, giving the Maroons four record setting performances over the two day event. Jake Bowery would finish runner up in 16:59.97, just .02 of second ahead of teammate Jacob Cole.
For his record setting efforts, Connor Kinkema was named ODAC Men’s Swimmer of the Meet, claiming 60 points for the Maroons. Tate would join his teammate with 60 points, giving Roanoke College the only three swimmers to post a perfect 60 points. Winn brought home 53 points and was named Men’s Rookie of the Meet.
With the Roanoke men earning their first ODAC Title, Head Coach Scott Thacker was named 2020-21 ODAC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year.
After claiming 60 points during the championship meet, Kimberly Large was named 2021 ODAC Women’s Swimmer of the Meet. Maria Vinson and Izzy Mack would claim 54 points while Grace Fountain earned 51, giving the Maroons four of the top 10 scorers of the meet.