GREENSBORO, N.C. – For the first time in a quarter-century, an Ursinus College freshman swimmer is an All-American – and even on Saint Patrick's Day, she needed no luck to do it.
Clara Baker placed 15th in the 100-yard butterfly at the NCAA Division III championships Thursday, clinching honorable mention All-American status with a time of 55.96. Baker is the first Bear rookie to become an All-American since Jen Derstine back in 1991; Derstine, the first All-American in school history, placed fourth in the 100-yard freestyle and fifth in both the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke at the national meet.
Baker, the Centennial Conference champion in the 100 fly, finished 12th with a clocking of 55.95 in the prelims. That landed her a spot in the consolation finals, and was only .21 seconds out of eighth.
Gunning for a second consecutive All-American time after placing 16th in the 200-yard freestyle a year ago, senior Corinne Capodanno finished 26th in the prelims with a mark of 1:52.93.
Baker has one event left at the national championships – the 200-yard butterfly, which gets underway with the prelims Friday at 10:00 a.m. She is seeded 32nd with a time of 2:07.44.
The Bears waited 25 years between rookie All-Americans, but history may only need 24 hours to repeat itself. Fellow freshman Peyten Lyons will swim the 100-yard backstroke Friday; she is seeded 17th, just one-hundredth of a second out of the projected All-American cut, with a time of 56.50.