AKRON – Senior David Hawk won his second 2016 Ohio Athletic Conference championship, and his fifth in two seasons, as the Wilmington College swimming teams wrapped up the third and final day of the conference championships Saturday at the Ocasek Natatorium on the campus of Akron University.
The men’s team finished fourth of seven teams with 479 points. Ohio Northern won the men’s title, followed by Mount Union, John Carroll, Wilmington, Transylvania and Manchester.
The women’s team finished sixth of seven teams with 195 points. Mount Union won the women’s title, edging out John Carroll 792-766. Ohio Northern was third, followed by Baldwin Wallace, Transylvania, Wilmington and Manchester.
“Coming into the third day, I expected everyone to be tired,” said Wilmington head coach Trip Breen. “I thought today was our best day. We continued to swim well.”
Hawk almost didn’t qualify for the evening finals as he finished eighth in the morning preliminaries with the time of 48.53. The ninth place swimmer finished with the time of 48.54. Hawk was sent back to the hotel after his morning swim to try to shake off the effects of a stomach bug.
“We had a couple swimmers with a stomach tonight and this morning, and the team really rallied,” said Breen. “One of those swimmers was David Hawk, who had a tough morning. I felt so bad for him. But (his evening swim) was the definition of tenacity; it was amazing. It was great to see him comeback and obtain the championships. It was incredible to watch.”
He dominated the 100 freestyle, winning the event with the time of 45.98 to repeat as the OAC champion in the 100. The second place swimmer finished in 46.18. Two other WC swimmers qualified for the 100 finals as freshman Andrew Stewart finished sixth (47.52) and sophomore Jason Prible was eighth (48.47).
Stewart, Prible and Hawk were joined by junior David Spraul to set a school record in the 400 freestyle relay (3:09.73).
On the 400 relay, “The last event on the last day, everyone is tired, and to beat the record by two seconds is a great swim.”
Sophomore Cody Nash barely missed taking down one of Wilmington’s oldest swimming records. He finished seventh in the 200 breaststroke (2:08.86).
Sophomore David Bellus and junior Erik Spraul placed ninth and tenth in 2:01.60 and 2:02.22, respectively, in the 200 butterfly. They swam faster times than three swimmers in the finals, including teammate Andrew Haga, who finished seventh (2:04.30).
David Spraul was seventh in the backstroke (1:57.03).
Sophomore Samantha Glish was the only female swimmer to qualify for the finals, placing seventh in the 100 freestyle (55:39). She trimmed two seconds off her time in last year’s championships.
“Rachel O’Donnell had an incredible meet,” said Breen. “I can’t begin to describe her weekend. It’s a testament to the work she has done all season long.”