By Casady Fletcher for OCCC
Oklahoma Baptist claimed both national titles for the third-straight year, winning the 2015 NAIA Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving National Championship Saturday at the Oklahoma City Community College Natatorium. The Bison men have now won four-straight national titles dating back the inception of the program in the 2011-12 season.
Oklahoma Baptist took home titles in 13-of-20 women’s events, scoring a total of 745 points. Bison men claimed 11-of-20 titles and finished with a score of 798.5. SCAD Savannah (Ga.) was runner-up on the women’s side with 481 points, followed by Brenau (Ga.) at 439. Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) captured second place in the men’s field with 575.5 points, while the Bees rounded out the top three at 403. A total of nine NAIA National Championship records fell over the course of the three-day event, including five by Bison swimmers.
The Bison also swept the meet awards, claiming a share of all eight honors. Laura Galarza of Oklahoma Baptist and Christine Tixier from Biola (Calif.) were named the 2015 Women’s Swimmers of the Year. Galarza also earned Women’s Swim of the Meet honors. Daniel Ramirez is the 2015 Men’s Swimmer of the Year, as well as winning Swim of the Meet. Kristen Brimage is the Women’s Diver of the Year, while Zak Rowton was named Men’s Diver of the Year. Bison head coach Dr. Sam Freas was named both the Men’s and Women’s NAIA Coach of the Year.
Courtney Hayward of Brenau (Ga.) took home the first championship of the night, winning the Women’s 1650-Yard Freestyle in 16:58.36. SCAD Savannah (Ga.)’s Joel Ax defended his title in the Men’s 1650-Yard Freestyle with a time of 15:32.23.
Oklahoma Baptist’s Kristen Brimage took home her third consecutive Women’s 1-Meter Divining title with a score of 266.30, besting her preliminary score by nearly 25 points.
Bison senior Ines Remersaro repeated as champion in the Women’s 200-Yard Backstroke with a 2:00.27 finals time. The Bees’ Tyler Prescott won the Men’s 200-Yard Backstroke in 1:45.87, over one full second ahead of the field.
Oklahoma Baptist took both the men’s and women’s 100-Yard Freestyle events. Laura Galarza repeated as champion in the Women’s 100-Yard Freestyle with a time of 49.63, just three-tenths of a second off the record. Daniel Ramirez claimed the title in the Men’s 100-Yard Freestyle in 43.79.
The Bison won another pair of championship titles in the men’s and women’s 200-Yard Breaststroke. Kerryn Mullin took the Women’s 200-Yard Breaststroke in 2:19.83, while Fernando Morillas (1:56.96) shattered the record in the Men’s 200-Yard Breaststroke by over two seconds, set in 2014 by Bison swimmer Gregory Penny.
Another NAIA National Championship record was broken in the Women’s 200-Yard Butterfly. Christine Tixier of Biola (Calif.) repeated as champion with a new record time of 2:00.89. The Men’s 200-Yard Butterfly title belonged to Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) sophomore Frank Tapia, who finished the finals in 1:47.87.
Zak Rowton of Oklahoma Baptist completed the sweep of diving events with another record, taking the Men’s 3-Meter Diving title with 350.80 points.
The Oklahoma Baptist relay teams each took the final relay events of the meet. Bison women completed a sweep of all relay events with a win in the Women’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay, finishing in 3:23.11. The Bison men were crowned in the Men’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay with a finals time of 2:56.93.
2015 NAIA Swimming & Diving National Champions:
Women’s 1650-Yard Freestyle: Courtney Hayward, Brenau (Ga.) – 16:58.3
Men’s 1650-Yard Freestyle: Joel Ax, SCAD Savannah (Ga.) – 15:32.2
Women’s 200-Yard Backstroke: Ines Remersaro, Oklahoma Baptist – 2:00.27
Men’s 200-Yard Backstroke: Tyler Prescott, SCAD Savannah (Ga.) – 1:45.87
Women’s 100-Yard Freestyle: Laura Galarza, Oklahoma Baptist – 49.63
Men’s 100-Yard Freestyle: Daniel Ramirez, Oklahoma Baptist – 43.79
Women’s 200-Yard Breaststroke: Kerryn Mullin, Oklahoma Baptist – 2:19.83
Men’s 200-Yard Breaststroke: Fernando Morillas, Oklahoma Baptist – 1:56.96*
Women’s 200-Yard Butterfly: Christine Tixier, Biola (Calif.) – 2:00.89*
Men’s 200-Yard Butterfly: Frank Tapia, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) – 1:47.87
Women’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay: Oklahoma Baptist – 3:23.11
Men’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay: Oklahoma Baptist – 2:56.93
Women’s 1-Meter Diving: Kristen Brimage, Oklahoma Baptist – 266.30
Men’s 3-Meter Diving: Zak Rowton, Oklahoma Baptist – 350.80*
* NAIA Swimming & Diving National Championship Record