Stern, Lichtenfels Win 500 on Day One of NCAA Championships

KNOXVILLE, TN – Kendra Stern '11 (Albuquerque, NM) and Ryan Lichtenfels '12 (McLean, VA) led Amherst College by being crowned national champions in the 500-yard freestyle at day one of the 2011 NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.

Stern's eighth individual NCAA title was as dominant as her first seven were, as she finished more than four and a half seconds ahead of Williams College's Caroline Wilson, who won the event last year. Stern led Wednesday's race from start to finish, putting in a time of 4:43.37 to best the previous national record of 4:45.47. Her performance was more than 15 seconds ahead of the eighth-place mark and was nearly a nine-second improvement from the time that won her a national title as a first-year (4:52.34). Stern also holds national records in the 100- and 200-yard freestyles. 

Amherst was even more impressive in the men's 500, as the Lord Jeffs picked up 42 points to take an early lead in the team standings. Lichtenfels placed sixth in the event as a first-year and was fifth a year ago, but his time of 4:23.91 on Wednesday was good enough to mark his second career win at the NCAA Championships. 

Fraser—the two-time defending champion in the 500—won a great battle for second place by putting in a time of 4:25.58, while Tim White '12 (Centerport, NY) took 12th (4:33.91) to improve upon his 13th-place showing from a year ago. Although he finished in second on Wednesday, Fraser still holds the national record in the event (4:21.95).

Rounding out Amherst's top competitors on Wednesday was Meggie Meisinger '11 (St. Louis, MO), who earned the final scoring spot in the women's 3-meter dive. Joining teammate Lizzy Linsmayer '14 (Denver, CO) as the only female NESCAC divers to make the trip to Knoxville, Meisinger recorded a score of 359.40 to kick off the final weekend of her collegiate career. The women's 1-meter dive will take place this Friday. 

After the first day of events, Amherst sits in seventh place on the men's side and is 14th on the women's. Competition will resume Thursday at the University of Tennessee's Allan Jones Aquatic Center. Scheduled events are the 200-yard freestyle relay, 400-yard medley relay, 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, and men's 1-meter diving. A live webcast and live results will be available. 

(Only Listed if Top 16)
* National Record

500-Yard Freestyle
Kendra Stern – 1st, 20 Points (4:43.37) *

3-Meter Diving
Meggie Meisinger – 16th, 1 Point (359.40)

(Only Listed if Top 16)

500-Yard Freestyle
Ryan Lichtenfels – 1st, 20 Points (4:23.91)
Alex Fraser – 2nd, 17 Points (4:25.58)
Tim White – 12th, 5 Points (4:33.91)