By: Jake Renie
GREENSBORO, NC – Five members of the Franklin College women's swimming and diving team descended upon the Greensboro Aquatics Center for day one of the 2019 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships. Day one saw two individuals in competition with one of the Grizzlies' four relays hitting the pool to close out the morning's preliminary session.
Brynna Sentel kicked off the Grizzlies' races in the women's 500 free, an event the Sullivan, Ill.-native was ranked seventh overall in heading into the competition. Sentel performed well in the race, coming home in 29.84 seconds in the last 50 yards of her race to finish with a time of 5:00.23 and a 21st-place finish. Although she came up just short of reaching All-American status, it was her third-fastest time in the race since she began swimming for the blue and gold.
The next Grizzly to compete was Courtnee Coffman, who stepped in against fierce competition in the women's 50 free. The young sprinter came in performed well in her first attempt against the nation's best sprinters. Coffman got off to a great start, but ran into trouble at the turn and settled for a time of 24.34 seconds and a 53rd-place finish. In such a quick race, Coffman finished less than one second short of qualifying for the finals later Wednesday night.
The final event of the first day of preliminaries was the 200 medley relay, which saw Sentel, Coffman, Ashley Snoke and Jacqueline Richard hit the pool as the 11th-ranked squad in the relay. The Grizzly quartet would put their best swims forward, with Snoke having the third-best split in the nation in the beaststroke, Coffman recording the third-fastest split in the freestyle and Sentel recording the 11th-quickest time in the backstroke. But a false start during the race wiped out their time, and the team was disqualified in the event. Despite the heart-breaking finish, the Grizzlies out-performed their seeding time.
Day two's preliminary sessions will get underway at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. The morning session will feature the team competing in both the 200 free relay and 400 medley relay with Sentel taking part in the 200 free sandwiched in between the relay events.