SHENANDOAH, Texas — Occidental College sophomore swimmer Steven van Deventer (Naperville, Ill.) is going for an NCAA Division III National Championship in the 100-yard breaststroke this afternoon around 4:45 p.m.
van Deventer is seeded fourth in a competitive final eight that had almost no visual separation in the prelims this morning. "Vandy" had the fastest final 50 yards of anyone in the field.
"If he can take it out a little faster tonight he'll be in great shape," Occidental coach Shea Manning said. "I think if you look at the field from first to eighth, they can finish in almost any order because they were all so close this morning.
"Vandy is a racer. He'll step up. In dual meets and SCIAC meets he's found a way. He's got a great opportunity tonight and we'll see if he can do it one more time."
van Deventer hit the wall in 55.75 seconds Friday morning, just .05 seconds off of his seed time (55.70) and not far off of Colby Kubat's top prelim time of 55.46. Manning said to the "naked eye there was almost no difference" between him, Kubat and the rest of the swimmers.
"When they hit the flags, it was impossible to tell who was going to hit the wall first," Manning said.
He's likely to at least be named an All-American in the event.
Caroline Chang (Lisle, Ill.) swam a solid 100 breast on the women's side, but not quite her best performance. The 2012 All-American breaststroker and 2013 SCIAC Female Swimmer of the Year finished 18th, swimming her race in 1:05.28. She swims her best event, the 200 breast, on Saturday morning.
"She's approaching the 200 breast tomorrow which is her better event," Manning said. "She's going in with something to prove, but also a little more clear-headed."
van Deventer will also swim the 200 breast on Saturday.
Men's freshman Alexander Najarian (Glendale) swam his final race, the 200 butterfly, and looked a lot more comfortable in the pool. Najarian finished 26th, hitting the wall in 1:52.10.