T&T’s Jeron Thompson and Kael Yorke bagged their first medal at the 2021 NCAA Divison II Swimming and Diving Championships at Birmingham CrossPlex, in Birmingham, Alabama yesterday.
This after the two national swimmers were part of the University of Indianapolis “Greyhounds” men's 200 yards medley relay quartet which just failed to hold on for the gold medal and was edged to the wall by Drury University, while Mc Kendree took bronze.
The 20-year-old Thompson got the “Greyhounds” off to a sizzling start when he clocked 21.33 seconds for the backstroke-leg ahead of Drury’s Nathan Bighetti.
Indianapolis maintained its lead for the breaststroke second-leg as Jan Zuchowicz raced home in 23.56 seconds for a combined time of 44.89 well ahead of Drury (45.41) who got a 23.67 from Dawid Nowodworski on its second-leg.
It was now up to Yorke to keep the pace for Indianapolis and despite having the seventh-best time for the butterfly leg of 23.56, he was able to keep his team ahead after three-legs with a combined one minute, 05.87 seconds, with Drury (1:06.00 minutes) and McKendree (1:06.44) in a close chase.
However, Drury’s Alex Bowen had a monster finish on the final freestyle swim in 18.69 seconds to power past Indianapolis’ Diego Mas’ (19.16) to give his team the come-from-behind win in a new Championship record of one minute, 24.69 seconds to better the 2018 mark of 1:24.83 which was held by Queens.
Indianapolis took silver in 1:25.03 while McKendree ended with the bronze in 1:25.67.
Last month at the Great Lake Valley Conference Championship, the quartet of Thompson (first leg), Yorke (third leg), Zuchowicz and Victor Antonon Rodriguez combined for a time of one minute, 26.68 seconds for the gold medal and were hopeful of repeating their triumph.
On Wednesday, in the lone session to be completed before bad weathered postponed the remainder of the day’s events, Thompson was an 18th placed finisher in the men’ 50 yards freestyle in 20.03 seconds, which was faster than the 20.26 clocking he had at the GLVC Championship, a 20.26 for eighth-best.
Last night, both T&T swimmers were back in action in individual and relay events.
Yorke was expected to make his individual Championship debut in the men’s 100 yards butterfly while both T&T swimmers lined up for their schools’ 200 yards freestyle and 400 yards medley relay splashes as well.
Last month at the GLVC Championships, Thompson was among the stand-out swimmers for Indianapolis with two gold medals, two silver and a bronze.
Thompson also won GLVC gold in a championship record time in the men’s 100 yards backstroke in 47.11 seconds which equalled the 2015 GLVC Championship time set by Bryan Wiener of Lewis University.
The 47.11 clocking by Thompson was also under the NCAA ‘B’ standard qualification time of 49.20.
He then added a silver medal when he swam the lead-off leg as part of the 200 yards freestyle relay four-some which ended in 1:18.88 seconds.
His fourth medal, a bronze came in the 100 yards freestyle in 43.78 seconds while he ended with a silver in the 400 yards freestyle relay in 2:55.38.
Yorke’s other top placings were sixth in the men’s 100 yards butterfly in 48.50 seconds, which was under the NCAA ‘B’ standard qualifying time of 49.13; and eighth in the 200 yards butterfly in one minute, 49.16 seconds, which was faster than the NCAA ‘B’ standard mark of 1:50.13.