Champions Crowned at 2023 US Collegiate Championship
by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming
After an exciting few days of competition, the 2023 U.S. Collegiate Championship wrapped up Saturday in Westmont, Illinois. For the first time since 2018, routine categories were split with Stanford taking the crown in trio and team and Ohio State topping the charts in solo and duet.Of course, in the collegiate scoring system there is much more strategy than just winning the categories. Institutions select a certain number of routines to count towards their final score, including an average of swimmers’ technical points. Where each routine falls in the rankings determines the points allocated to the final holistic tally. Athletes and fans alike were on the edge of their seats to see who would pull out ahead between the two most dominant programs of the meet: Stanford and Ohio State.
In the end, Ohio State took home the Overall Championship for the second year in a row, collecting 95 total points ahead of Stanford’s 92. Following them in the rankings were University of Incarnate Word, Texas Woman’s University and UCLA.
Senior Nikki Dzurko capped her collegiate career with another solo title, making her a three-time champion in the category. She was followed by Stanford’s Lindi Schroeder and UIW’s Nour Shamala. The top three were the exact same rankings from 2022.
In duet, Ohio State topped the scoresheet for the second year in a row. 2022 silver medalists Ruby Remati and Emily Armstrong pulled out ahead of Stanford’s first year pair of Schroeder and Yara Elian. Schroeder and Elian finished just .03 ahead of their freshmen teammates Ivy Davis and Miko Begossi who took the bronze in their first year swimming together.
Trio was perhaps the most exciting category of the weekend and one of the most decisive when it came to the overall championship. Both Ohio State and Stanford had two strong trios. After prelims, it looked like Stanford could secure the gold and bronze medals with Ohio State sitting in silver medal position. The Buckeye group of Hannah Heffernan, Remati and Armstrong jumped the young Cardinal trio of Davis, Begossi and Elian to secure third place for the scarlet and gray in finals. Nicole Goot, Hailee Heinrich and Schroeder held their first-place position and Dzurko, Emma Spott and Paige Hopper took second. UIW had strong placements in fifth and sixth.
Figures also undoubtedly played a role in the overall championship. Remati, the 2023 High Point Winner, secured first place in the A technical competition followed by her duet partner Armstrong and Goot in third. Ohio State narrowly finished ahead of Stanford once all the technical scores were averaged with UIW in third, UCLA in fourth and Florida in fifth. B technical rankings ended with UIW on top followed by Texas Woman’s and Ohio State. UCLA won C figures and Wheaton took the crown in D.
The team competition was much anticipated and did not disappoint. Stanford came out on top with their space-inspired routine 1.3 points ahead of Ohio State's A team. Following the Buckeyes was UIW's top team that looked very strong this season and earned podium placement. Fourth and fifth place were exciting developments, as UIW's high-flying B team that showcased impressive lifts pushed past Ohio State's B team. They ended .3 ahead of the Buckeyes and 2 points behind the other UIW squad.
With the Buckeyes taking home their program’s 34th national championship, head coach Holly Vargo-Brown was named the Collegiate Coach of the Year. Pennsylvania’s Jade Margolis was awarded Athlete of the Year honors for her commitment to excellence outside of the pool and service to the community. All results and awards can be found on the results page HERE.
This is likely the last year the Collegiate Championship will be held utilizing the traditional scoring system and the new method has the opportunity to shake things up in 2024.
Photos by Rokop Photography