Taylor's trust primed for national stage

Taylor's trust primed for national stage

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - Carson-Newman Swimming has its sights set on the NCAA Division II National Championships as a new program record seven Eagle swimmers prepare for the four-day meet. The previous record of five came in 2017.

The championships will be held March 14-17 in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

Four women and three men will represent Carson-Newman in 12 individual events through the four-day period.

"Over the last few years we've had a number of athletes pave the way for this team," Coach Jordan Taylor stated. "We've made nationals as more of an expectation rather than a prayer that you make it at the end of the season."

Maggie Melhorn and Margaret Stansberry will make their fourth appearance at nationals. 

Melhorn, a Knoxville, Tenn. native, will compete in two individual events during the week, both in the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke. The senior has the fifth best time in the nation in the 100 breast with a time of 1:01.67, but was one step better in the 200 coming in at 2:13.52 for fourth-best.

"It'll take a lot of hard work this weekend," Melhorn said. "I plan on leaving it all in the pool and that was a key for me in my senior season. Realizing that this is my last year, I'm trying not to take it all for granted."

Her senior teammate in Stansberry will also compete in two events during the four-day meet garnering national qualifying times in the 200 freestyle and the 100 freestyle.

The native of Knoxville, Tenn. posted the sixth-best time in the 200 with a time of 1:48.88. Her time in the 100 freestyle sat tied with a teammate for 12th in the nation at 50.51 seconds.

Lisa Postma turned in a national qualifying time in the 100 freestyle tying Stansberry in the event for 12th in the nation at 50.51 seconds. It marks the first individual event for the Leiden, Holland native in nationals. Postma was selected as an alternate in 2017 if any athletes withdrew from an event.

Freshman CJ Jensen rounds out the list of women's Eagles with a trip to nationals. The Copenhagen, Denmark native turned in the 22nd best time in the nation in the 200 butterfly after turning in a time of 2:04.01. The top-26 times in women's swimming earn trips to Indy. 

"We've really grown as a girls' team this year," Melhorn added. "They have all been supportive and we are pushing each other to be at our bests in and out of the water."

On the men's side, Caleb Howell will compete in a team-high three events during the trip to Indianapolis. Howell qualified in the 400 and 200 individual medley races as well as the 200 yard breaststroke.

A product from Easley, S.C., the sophomore Howell's best time came in the 200 IM with the eighth-best time in the nation at 1:47.98. 

Both times in the 400 IM and 200 breaststroke came in ranked 13th in all of D2 at 3:54.29 and 1:59.66 respectively. The invite will mark his first trip to nationals individually. 

Junior Jon Lancaster will make his first appearance at nationals as well, after missing out on his first invite in 2017 by fractions of a second.

The Ringgold, Ga. swimmer is set to compete in the 200 individual medley as his time of 1:48.86 was good enough for 18th in the nation. On the men's side, the top-21 times in each event receive an invite to nationals.

Marcelo Figueiredo grabbed the final spot in the 500 yard freestyle after turning in 21st-best time of 4:29.52. It marks his first-career opportunity for the junior in an individual event at nationals.

The C-N women's swim team is relay eligible in five events this year. The 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle, 800 freestyle, 200 medley, and the 400 medley. The team is top-13 in the nation in three of the five events.

Junior Elly Culp and sophomore Mary Northcutt will also head to nationals to compete in relays along with the other four individuals. 

For the men's team, they qualified just for the 800 freestyle relay. Nikola Tadic will make the trip with the team to compete in the relay at nationals. 

"Every single person has put in hard work this year across the board," Taylor mentioned. "They've had it all pay off and we're prepared for it this week. Hopefully everything they've learned this season will all come together."


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