Women's Swim/Dive Quartet Good for Individual Gold at MIAA Championships

A quartet of gold-medal winners spotlighted the awards stand for the Hope women's team at the 2018 MIAA Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday. Paula NolteChloe PalajacEmma Schaefer, and Meg Peel (pictured left to right) each claimed MIAA championships, giving the Flying Dutch four of six individual titles available on the night.

The third day of MIAA competition also saw the Flying Dutch achieve two national B-cuts, two school records and a MIAA record.

Hope retained its second-place position with 509 points. Host Calvin College is in first place with 681 points while Albion College has 465, Alma College 169, and Olivet College 152.

Freshman Schaefer of Dewitt, Michigan (Saint Johns HS) started off the Hope victory string with a win in the 400-yard individual medley, clocking in at 4:37.52. It was Schaefer's first career MIAA title. Sophomore Erin Emmert of Grand Blanc, Michigan (Powers Catholic) was runner-up to Schaefer with a time of 4:39.72.

Next on top of the awards podium was senior Palajac from Dearborn, Michigan (Dearborn HS) who successfully defended her 100-yard butterfly title with a time of 57.17.  The 100 fly win was also Palajac's second title win of the this year's championships as she took the 200-yard individual medley race on Thursday.

In the 100-yard breaststroke final, sophomore Nolte of Elmhurst, Illinois (York Community HS) earned her first MIAA title in the event with a time of 1:07.01. Nolte is the defending champion of the 200-yard breaststroke which will be raced on Saturday night.

Also, in the 100 breaststroke, sophomore Erica Slenk of Zeeland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS) swam to a second-place finish behind Nolte, touching the wall in 1:07.66.

Finally, Peel claimed her first career MIAA championship in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 56.54. In the morning prelims of the 100 back, the freshman from Spring Lake, Michigan (Spring Lake HS) set a new MIAA, as well as a new Hope record, and recorded a national B-cut qualifying time by clocking in at  56.01.

Peel broke Hope's Molly Meyer's MIAA record in the 100 back set in 2015 with a 56.50 time. She also reset her own school record, which she had established back in December, 2017, at the Wheaton Invitational, clocking in then with 56.38.

In the night's first event, Hope claimed second place in the 200-yard medley relay swam by Palajac, Nolte, Peel, and junior Sydney Asselin of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS) in a time of 1:45.35, earning the relay team a new school records and a national B-cut consideration. Friday's 200 medley effort set a new school mark too, cutting a second off the old mark (1:46.36) set by Klare Northuis, Jorgie Watson, Elisabeth Craig, Abigail Brinks in February, 2016.

To conclude the evening, junior Sara Plohetski of South Lyon, Michigan (South Lyon HS) earned a NCAA regional cut in one-meter diving with 396.65 points, good for sixth place.

Other finals heat finishers on Thursday were as follows:

  • Junior Sydney Asselin of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS) and junior Abigail Brinks of Commerce Township, Michigan (Walled Lake Northern HS) took sixth (1:56.53) and eighth (1:57.97), respectively, in the 200-yard freestyle.
  • Freshman Hope Reynolds of Exon, Pennsylvania (Vila Maria Academy) claimed fifth place in the 100-yard backstroke; and,
  • Freshman Natalie Crandell of Okemos, Michigan (Lansing Christian) earned 355.80 points took eighth place in one-meter diving.

Friday consolation heat finishers were:

  • Freshman Mackenzie Ralston of Norton Shores, Michigan (Mona Shores HS) and senior Sarah Zieschang of Austin, Texas (Veritas Academy) who finished ninth (4:57.53) and 12th (5:15.38), respectively, in the 200-yard individual medley;
  • Junior Elisabeth Craig of Grand Rapids, Michigan (East Grand Rapids HS) and senior Adrienne Smith of Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven HS) who claimed 13th (1:02.43) and 15th (1:04.06) places, respectively, in the 100-yard butterfly;
  • Sophomore Alison Sobkowski of Portage, Indiana (Portage HS) who clocked in with 2:03.37 to take 16th place in the 200-yard freestyle;
  • Sophomore Nicki Watson of Grand Rapids, Michigan (Catholic Central) and Zieschang who finished 12th (1:11.85) and 16th (1:15.05), respectively, in the 100-yard breaststroke;
  • Senior Julia Hines of Vienna, Virginia (James Madison HS) who took 14th place in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:03.31; and,
  • Senior Kristin Janssen of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville HS) who was 11th on the one-meter board with 280.10 points.

The 2018 MIAA Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships conclude at Calvin's Venema Aquatic Center Saturday with prelims at 10:00 a.m. and finals at 5:30 p.m.

--The initial recap did not include the 200-yard medley relay school record, which is now listed.

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