One Juneauite wrapped up his collegiate swimming career as a cheerful champ.
Kenny Fox, a senior with the Denison University men’s swimming team in Granville, Ohio, helped the Big Red repeat as the NCAA Division III champions last month. Denison edged Kenyon College, 562.5-447.5, for its fifth national championship in school history and third since the three-time state champion at Thunder Mountain High School arrived on campus four years ago.
“I remember coming in thinking it would be nice to win one, it would be cool to put another banner up in the rafters at the pool,” Fox, a Health, Exercise and Sport Studies major, said by phone from Granville on Wednesday. “To come out three out of four years with one — it’s honestly just a blessing. I’m happy I made the decision to come here, not just because we won and everything but I’ve grown so close with all my teammates.”
Fox, 22, made the finals in the 400-yard medley relay and 100-yard butterfly at the four-day meet at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, from March 20-23.
Fox also swam in the 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay and 100 breaststroke.
The 400 medley relay team, with Fox swimming the butterfly leg, placed second behind Washington University in St. Louis on the second day of the meet. Fox said his spot on the relay wasn’t secured until hours before hitting the water. After a strong showing in the 100 butterfly earlier in the day — Fox took seventh with a time of 48.39 seconds — his coach decided to put him in it.
“After I swam that relay, that was my fourth 100 fly of the day,” Fox said of the relay.
“I missed out on the (relay) spot last year because another teammate of mine swam faster than me, but deservedly so, he beat me,” Fox added. “But I really wanted to be on this relay and I thought I earned it this year. I was very happy to contribute in more ways than just the 100 fly.”
At the 2017 nationals, Fox’s 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays each placed second. Last year at nationals, his 200 medley relay again came in second.
Fox, who swam in five events total, was one of 18 Denison swimmers in the meet. It was the second consecutive year Denison brought the maximum number of athletes allowed by the NCAA; swimmers qualify by posting one of the 16 best times in the country. Fox said three of his teammates were left at home even though their times were fast enough.
“Knowing that my spot could’ve been given to someone else, I took this opportunity and ran with it,” Fox said. “I didn’t want to let myself down or the coaching (staff) or the team down because they chose me and I believe all the other 17 swimmers thought that as well.”
Fox finishes his career as an 11-time All-American, six-time North Coast Athletic Conference champion and four-year national team member.
Fox signed with Denison after a standout prep career in Thunder Mountain High School. Fox won three state titles in the 100 butterfly to put the Falcons on the map.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.