One Down, One Champion Already in the Books: Crenshaw Wins 1,000 Freestyle at National Finals
BIRMINGHAM – Alli Crenshaw has been at Florida Southern for less than a year, but the freshman is already a national champion. Swimming in the last heat of the 1,000-yard freestyle time finals, Crenshaw was the first individual winner at the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championships, taking the title in a school-record time of 9:57.29. She joins former Moccasin Mary O’Sullivan as individual national champs from Florida Southern.
With the 1,000-yard freestyle split into a morning and evening session, Crenshaw (Marietta, GA) and the rest of the field were chasing an earlier winning time of 10 minutes even by Tampa’s Heather Glenday, the 2012 national runner-up. It was a tight race too, as two swimmers from West Chester were chasing Crenshaw the entire way, and all three of them bettered Glenday’s earlier time. Crenshaw touched the pad first to finish 2.29 seconds ahead of Lauren Carastro.
Crenshaw is only the second women’s swimmer at Florida Southern to win an individual championship. O’Sullivan won both the 200 freestyle and 200 backstroke in 2011 as a senior.
Another Florida Southern freshman, Kelsey Gouge (Snellville, GA) earned a spot in the finals of the 50-yard freestyle with her time of 23.52 seconds in the prelims. She was the only freshman to reach either the championship finals or the consolation finals. She later helped the Moccasin 200-yard medley relay team advance to the consolation finals too.
Gouge was even better in the 50 freestyle finals, swimming the race in her fastest time of the year (23.02 seconds), and one-tenth of a second off O’Sullivan’s school-record time set in the 2011 national finals. It was good for fourth place behind a trio of seniors who all broke the 23-second mark.
Later, in the consolation finals of the 200 medley relay, the Moccasins posted their best time of the season (1:43.59) to finish second behind Cal-San Diego, and tenth overall. The quartet of freshman Lauren Reynolds (St. Charles, IL), Gouge, sophomore Catie Carden (Hixson, TN) and senior Anna McIntyre (Kansas City, MO) surpassed their previous best time of 1:44.48, which they’d posted in Wednesday’s prelims. That group had already given Florida Southern two wins in the regular season and one at the SSC Championships.
Led by Crenshaw and Gouge, Florida Southern finished the first day in seventh place with 49 total points. Crenshaw put 20 on the board with her win in the 1,000 freestyle, and Gouge picked up 15 with her finish in the 50 freestyle. The Moccasins were only two points behind 6th-place West Chester (PA), which was boosted by its second- and third-place finishes in the 1,000 freestyle. The Mocs were also just six points behind 4th-place teams Simon Fraser (BC) and Wayne State (MI).
Drury (MO) held the lead with 104 points, followed by Wingate (NC) with 74, and Incarnate Word (TX) with 60.