Natalie Lugg ’14 didn’t really know what had happened when she touched the wall to finish the 100 breaststroke event at the NCAA National Swimming and Diving Championships last weekend in Indianapolis (March 19-22). It wasn’t until she turned around to see the scoreboard and heard the frenzied Denison fans cheering that she realized she had just won the national championship. It was then that she began jumping up and down and slapping her hands on the water in a jubilant splashing celebration.
Lugg, a senior economics major and history minor from Woodbury, Minn., had just posted a time of 1:02:27, a new Denison record. Her performance and the efforts of her 12 qualifying Denison teammates helped the women secure a fourth-place finish in this year’s team championship.
Al Weik ’14 became a national champion at the NCAA meet in Indy, too. But in contrast, he’s collected a total of seven individual NCAA gold medals — three in the 500 freestyle and four in the 1,650 free. He won both events this year, and in doing so, he became the first male in NCAA Division III history to win the 1,650 freestyle in four consecutive years. Weik, a senior geosciences major and economics minor from Lebanon, Pa., also holds the national record in both events — 4:21:79 in the 500 and 15:04.85 in the 1,650.
But this year’s champions weren’t all swimmers. Connor Dignan ’15 earned his first national title with a first-place finish in the three-meter diving event. The junior philosophy major from Phoenix, Ariz., along with Weik and 16 other Big Red national qualifiers, earned Denison the 2014 national runner-up trophy.
Congrats to both teams on another amazing season!