by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College men's and women's swimming & diving teams will get a unique opportunity at the season-opening Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Relays they are hosting on Friday, October 26.
The annual event featuring Hope College, Alma College, Albion College, Calvin College, Kalamazoo College, and Olivet College has added individual knockout rounds in four different sprint events.
Swimmers will have to win three races in succession to emerge victoriously.
"We wanted to change it up," Hope co-head coach John Patnott said. "Calvin coach Dan Gelderloos watched a swimming meet like this last year, except they didn't have any relays, and it was fun."
The MIAA Relays will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Holland Community Aquatic Center. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students 18 & under. They can be purchased at the door.
There will be 24 different swimming races and two diving competitions.
The first eight swimming events will be qualifiers for the 50-yard butterfly, 50-yard backstroke, 50-yard breaststroke, and 50-yard freestyle. Teams can enter as many swimmers in an event as they want, but swimmers cannot race in more than event featuring the knockout round.
The top eight qualifiers in each event will advance to the knockout rounds. From there, three races will be held in succession until a knockout champion is crowned.
"If you advance, you get up and swim again," Patnott said. "You're only doing one event because you'll be spent if you make it to the championship."