Women's Swim/Dive Wins 800 Freestyle Relay to Open MIAA Championships

Emma Schaefer, Sydney Randall, Emily Kurt and Tarah Lang pose for portraits by Alan Babbitt

Emma Schaefer dove off the starting block first. Sydney Randall and Emily Kurt followed. Tarah Lang then finished.

It was a dynamic start to the MIAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships for Hope College.

The Flying Dutch won the 800-yard freestyle relay on Wednesday night at Calvin University. It was the only scoring event of the day.

Schaefer, Randall, Kurt and Lang clocked a first-place time of 7 minutes, 41.25 seconds and finished 1.6 seconds ahead of runner-up Calvin.

With 52 points, Hope holds a six-point lead over second-place Calvin and Albion College after the first session. 

Both Calvin and Albion have 46 points. This year's championship format includes scoring 'B' relays, which adds to the overall point total.

Head coach Jake Taber said his top relay earned its spot as Hope's 25th MIAA champion 800 freestyle relay and first since 2012.

It was the first MIAA championship race for three members of the 800 freestyle relay: Randall, Kurt and Lang.

"You look at times, but you never know anyone is going to throw out there. I figured we would be around the 7:40s and were there. Tonight, that was enough to win," Taber said. "We were excited about this relay as one that could come together and maybe be pretty good. Emma had a lifetime best by 4 ½ seconds. Sydney had a lifetime best by a second. Emily dropped more than two seconds off her best. Tarah had a lifetime best at the end. They came together. It was pretty exciting."

The MIAA Championships resume on Thursday, February 20 at Calvin. Preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. Finals start at 5:30 p.m.