by Eva Dean Folkert
A close rivalry dual meet between Hope College and Calvin University in women 's swimming and diving could have gone either way going into the last event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, on Saturday in Grand Rapids. Down by just six points, 144-138, before the event, the Flying Dutch needed a big move. They had already made a few of them.
Unfortunately, Hope lost the event and the meet, 159-140, to the Knights. Yet, there were plenty of results to be celebrated.
Starting with the first individual event of the day, the 100-yard freestyle, won by sophomore Emma Engle of Kalamazoo (Home School), pcitured right, by more than 10 seconds in 11:01.32. A transfer student-athlete from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Engle started out of the blocks just a tad slower than her competitors but was well on her way to victory halfway through the race.
"Consistency has been the key here for (Emma)," head coach Jake Taber said. So we've done some really intentional things outside of the water to address some fitness. We played with her stroke a little bit, but she's a competitor and she feels the water really well. I really feel like she's going to be a difference maker for us. And we saw that this afternoon."
Other swimmers also making a difference on Saturday were junior Emma Schaefer of DeWitt (Saint Johns HS), pictured center, and freshman Tarah Lang of Marshall (Marshall HS), pictured left, each winners of three events.
Lang won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:58.10, the 100-yard freestyle in 54.26, and the 500-yard freestyle in 5:21.53.
Schaefer was a winner in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:08.00, in the 200-yard breaststroke clocking a 2:29.98, and in the 200-yard individual medley going 2:14.37.
"Neither of those two women are going to get out work. That's for sure," said Taber of the three-time winners.
Hope went 1-2-3 in 100-yard breaststroke as Schaefer was joined by runner-up freshman Avery Covert of South Lyon (South Lyon HS) in 1:09.76 and third-place winner sophomore Aubrey East of Farmington (North Farmington HS) in 1:10.75 in the top-three sweep. In the 200-yard breaststroke, East and Covert were third (2:33.93) and fourth (2:36.38), respectively, after Schaefer led the way.
"That 1-2-3 finish in the 100 breaststroke on the front end of the meet was really important," Taber reflected. "The 200 breaststroke a little bit later, going 1-3-4, we needed that in order for us to be in the meet later. Those events were huge for us."
Other runner-up finishes came from senior Erin Emmert of in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:13.76 and from freshman Olivia Robertson of Sturgis (Sturgis HS) in 1- and 3-meter diving with scores of 197.83 and 176.85, respectively.
Hope now has a couple weeks off before travelling to Wheaton College (Illinois) on Friday and Saturday, December 6 and 7 for its perennial participation in the Wheaton Invitational.