By Tim Glon
ADA — The Ohio Northern women's swimming & diving team will be gunning for its eighth Ohio Athletic Conference Championships crown in the past 11 years Thursday-Saturday at the University of Akron's Ocasek Natatorium.
The Championships will get underway with prelims at 10 am each morning with the finals starting at 6:30 pm, 6 pm and 5:30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, respectively.
Five events will be contested on Thursday, eight more on Friday and the final seven on Saturday.
The Polar Bears, under the guidance of 13th-year head coach Peggy Ewald, have won seven OAC Championships crowns since 2007, including six in a row from 2009-14.
Last year's squad finished a close third at the Championships with 713 points, trailing champion Mount Union by just 79 points and second place John Carroll by only 53 points.
The 2016-17 squad finished third in the OAC regular season standings with a 2-2 record, but were not at full strength in either of the dual meet losses.
Freshman Lauren Halle (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) has the fastest time in the OAC in the 200 fly and is the third-fastest in the 100 fly, the 200 I.M. and the 400 I.M.
Per OAC rules, each swimmer can compete in three individual events and four relays.
The top three finishers in each individual event and the top two relay teams earn All-Conference accolades.
Junior Sydney Veon (Riverside, Ill./Brookfield) has the second fastest times in the 50 and 100 free and the third fastest time in the 100 breast. She was third in the 50 free last season.
Sophomore Kierra Watson (Brownsburg, Ind.) is seeded second in the 200 back and is third in the 100 back. She is a returning All-OAC honoree in the 100 back, finishing third in 2016.
Senior Stephanie Brookens (Louisville) is seeded third in the 100 free.
Ohio Northern is also the defending OAC champions in the 200 and 400 free relay events.