by Alan Babbitt
Together, they won the 800-yard freestyle relay with a swim of 6 minutes, 42.17 seconds at Calvin University that broke a 27-year-old school record and set an MIAA record. It also was a NCAA Division III 'B' cut time.
Hope grabbed the Day 1 lead with 52 points. The Flying Dutchmen are two points ahead of second-place Albion College and fourth ahead of third-place Calvin. This year's championship format includes scoring 'B' relays, which adds to the overall point total.
Head coach Jake Taber was thrilled with the performance.
"We thought it could be a special relay. In December, we had a couple of swimmers that went under their lifetime bests in the 200," Taber said. "I couldn't be happier for them."
The 800 freestyle relay passed the previous Hope record of 6:47.73 held since 1993 by Jeff Bannink, Kirk Assink, Steve Hope and Jon Hescott.
The Flying Dutchmen also eclipsed Calvin's 2019 MIAA record of 6:42.94.
"With any relay, it's about getting everyone to do great swims at the same time. We focused on being able to do that," Taber siad. "Looking across the board, that's essentially what we did. A lifetime best for Bailey. Dan had a very similar split to last year. Gabe was a lifetime best by two seconds. Then we had a school record holder in the 200, Daniel, sitting at the end of the relay.
"It was important for them to swim their relay, even if they fell behind early. They did a very nice job of that, each and every one of them."
The MIAA Championships resume on Thursday, February 20 at Calvin. Preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. Finals start at 5:30 p.m.