March 7, 2011

W&L Men's Swimming Qualifies Five for NCAA Championship

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The NCAA recently announced its competitors for the NCAA Division III National Championships and the Washington and Lee men's swimming team had five swimmers make the cut.

Juniors Chris Washnock (Greer, S.C./Greenville) and Brian Stirling (Skillman, N.J./Montgomery) and sophomore Rick Sykes (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) will all swim in individual competition over the four-day meet. W&L will also be represented by junior Ian Dexter (Mountain Brook, Ala./Mountain Brook) and sophomore Tyler Gehrs (Alexandria, Va./St. Andrew's), who will join the previous three swimmers during relay events.

Washnock will be making his third trip to the national competition and will compete in the 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 back. He qualified for the meet after earning the eighth seed with an NCAA 'B' cut time of 1:50.18 in the 200 back. Washnock took home honorable mention All-America honors a year ago in the 200 back while also swimming the 400 IM and 200 IM. Washnock also received honorable mention All-America accolades in the 400 IM and 200 back during his rookie campaign.

Stirling will compete at the national championship for the second time in his career, earning his trip after swimming an NCAA 'B' cut time of 49.78 for the 12th seed in the 100 fly. Stirling will also swim in the 50 and 100 free at the meet. As a first-year, he earned honorable mention All-America honors as a member of the 400 free relay team while also competing in the 100 fly and 200 medley relay and 200, 400 and 800 free relay teams.

Sykes will take to the pool at nationals for the first time, swimming in the 50 free. He was invited to swim after qualifying as a member of the 200 free relay and recording an NCAA 'B' cut time of 20.77 in the 50 free earlier in the season. Sykes will be joined by Gehrs, Stirling and Dexter on the 200 free relay, which qualified for the national meet after swimming an NCAA 'B' cut time of 1:23.29 to earn the 14th seed in the event.

By qualifying five swimmers, W&L will also compete in the 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay and 400 free relay.

The NCAA Division III National Championships will be held on March 23-26 at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn.

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