by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College women's and men's swimming & diving teams swam some of the fastest times at the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Relays on Friday. They showed a little endurance, too.
Two Flying Dutch won three-race knockout rounds - all swam in succession - during the season-opening event at Holland Community Aquatic Center.
One Flying Dutchmen finished runner-up in another knockround during the non-scoring meet featuring Hope College, Albion College, Alma College, Calvin College, Kalamazoo College and Olivet College.
Sophomore Meg Peel of Spring Lake, Michigan (Spring Lake HS) won the women's 50-yard backstroke with a championship-round time of 28.66 seconds. She also recorded the best efforts in the semifinals and quarterfinals.
In a new format, knockout rounds started with eight swimmers after qualifying. The fastest four swimmers got out of the pool and immediately swim again in the semifinals. The top two semifinalists got out of the poll and immediately swam for the championship.
Freshman Allie Eppinga of Saline, Michigan (Saline) was runner-up to Peel with a time of 30.32 in the last race.
In the women's 50 breaststroke, sophomore Emma Schaefer of DeWitt, Michigan (St. Johns) topped Albion's Kaitlind Hooper in the finals by recording a swim of 32.32.
In the men's 50 freestyle, sophomore Daniel Keith of Saline, Michigan (Saline) came in second with a championship-round time of 23.70.
The Flying Dutch also were runner-up in the 1,500 freestyle relay and the 400 individual medley relay.
The 1,500 freestyle relay of Peel, freshman Abigail LaDuke of Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa), and senior Abigail Brinks of Commerce Township, Michigan (Walled Lake Northern) posted a second-place time of 16:56.52.
The 400 IM relay of Schaefer, sophomore Hope Reynolds of Exon, Pennsylvania (Villa Maria Academy), freshman Alyssa Potyraj of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville), and senior Erin Emmert of Grand Blanc, Michigan (Flint Powers Catholic), clocked a second-time swim of 4:19.91.
Hope's mixed-gendered 200 medley relay came in third. Peel and Schaefer teamed with Keith and freshman Nick Weigle of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville) recorded a time of 1:45.30.
The mixed 200 freestyle relay of Keith, Peel, Weigle and Eppinga took third in 1:35.44.
The men's 400 IM relay of junior Daniel Clyde of Ann Arbor, Michigan (Huron), Keith, freshman Liam Faber of Grand Rapids, Michigan (East Kentwood), and sophomore Will Benner of State College, Pennsylvania (State College Area) placed third in 3:26.25.