It had been nine years since a Grove City College swimmer stood at the top of the podium at the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships.
Grove City sophomore Anne Shirley Dassow (Lookout Mountain, Tenn./Chattanooga Christian) changed that fact Friday as she won the 2018 NCAA Division III title in the 200 butterfly at the Indiana University Natatorium.
Dassow captured the national championship by charging from behind for the win. She posted a school-record time of 2 minutes, 0.29 seconds to become the seventh all-time national champion in Grove City history. Dassow trailed M.I.T.'s Kailey Allen by 1.14 seconds after 100 yards but cut the gap to .16 seconds at the 150-yard mark.
Dassow surged ahead with a final 50-yard split of 31.70 seconds, the fastest final lap of any of the eight competitors in the finals. Her time of 2:00.29 also sets a Presidents' Athletic Conference record. She entered Friday night's championship final as the No. 3 seed after recording a time of 2:02.65 in preliminaries.
Dassow also became a four-time NCAA All-American with her title. Thursday night, she earned her third career All-America citation by taking second in the 100 butterfly.
Dassow is Grove City's first national champion since 2009, when Caleb Courage won the third of his three Division III titles in the 100 free. He also won 100 free national titles in 2006 and 2007. Tim Whitbeck won the national title in the 50 free in 2007. Peggy Whitbeck won three straight NCAA Division III titles in the 200 butterfly from 2002 to 2004.
Three Grove City divers won national titles in the 1980s. Chris van de Mark won both 1- and 3-meter diving national titles in 1981, then repeated as 1-meter champion in 1982. Dan Young won the 1-meter title in 1983 while Clark Johnson captured the 1984 3-meter national championship.