Special Olympians helped get the 2019 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Swimming & Diving Championships hosted by Hope College off to an exciting start on Wednesday.
The MIAA teamed with Special Olympics Michigan to provide a Unified Sport Event to the meet for the second consecutive season.
A total of 21 Special Olympians and 21 MIAA student-athletes swam a 150-yard relay over seven lanes at Holland Community Aquatic Center.
Bright smiles beamed as swimmers exchanged high-fives and hugs afterward.
On Day 1 of the four-day MIAA Championships, there was only one scoring event: the 800-yard freestyle relay.
The Hope men's 800 freestyle relay of sophomore Daniel Keith of Saline, Michigan (Saline HS), junior Daniel Clyde of Ann Arbor, Michigan (Huron), freshman Nick Weigle of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville) and freshman Andrew Dwan of Bay City, Michigan (John Glenn) clocked a third-place swim of 6:59.73. They finished behind Calvin's MIAA record time of 6:42.94 and Albion's runner-up effort of 6:46.94.
The Flying Dutch's women's 800 freestyle relay of junior Erin Emmert of Grand Blanc, MIchigan (Flint Powers Catholic), senior Abigail Brinks of Commerce Township, Michigan (Walled Lake Northern), sophomore Hope Reynolds of Exon, Pennsylvania (Villa Maria Academy) and senior Sydney Asselin of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian) recorded a third-places swim of 7:48.11. Calvin (7:35.26) won, while Albion (7:38.99) was second.
The four-day event continues on Thursday, February 21 with 10 a.m. preliminaries and 5:30 p.m. final.